Consumerism and High College Costs

Last week media sources reported on the most recent internal research outcomes from student loan titan Sallie Mae. In this fifth year of findings on the habits of college students and their families, there are continuing signs that exorbitant costs are influencing behavior (finally!).

Among the shifts in response to high college costs:

  • Families are more likely to eliminate high-cost colleges that don’t offer much aid from consideration earlier in the college search process;
  • Half of all students now live at home for part of their college years as a way of cutting costs, including students from affluent families;
  • The average amount spent by families on college costs declined for a second year by five percent, to an average of $20,902;
  • Parent contributions to overall costs are diminishing slightly, with students themselves covering the shortfall

On the downside, it is still that case that fewer than half of families had a plan for paying for college before their student enrolled. Undoubtedly it will take a more pronounced and persistent consumerist trend to effect change on the part of colleges, and continued pressure to encourage the government to do its part. However, things are trending in the right direction on both fronts! 

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