Footing the Bill for College
It’s no secret that the cost of a college education has skyrocketed. Across the country, states are cutting allocations to public universities, which, in turn, are raising tuition costs. In fact, from the 2006 fiscal year to the 2011 fiscal year, just seven states increased constant dollars per student support for public institutions, according to ”State Higher Education Finance FY 2011,“ a recent report by State Higher Education Executive Officers. Twenty of the 43 states that decreased funding did so by more than 20 percent.
The way students and families finance higher education also has changed. Tough economic times have increased the number of families seeking aid. A large proportion of families, 81 percent, continued to seek federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, in 2012, according to Sallie Mae’s national study of college students and parents. That’s up from the 2008 level of 74 percent.
The nationally representative survey of 1,600 dependent undergraduate college students and parents revealed that the average amount families spent on college declined by 5 percent in 2012. American families reported taking more cost-saving measures and more families report making their college decisions based on the cost they can afford to pay.