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Los Costos Aumentan pero las Familias Pagan Menos por la Educación Universitaria

Amid Rising Costs, Families Pay Less for College

The cost of college is up, but the average American family is spending less on higher education, according to a report by Sallie Mae (ABC News).

The reason? Families are making smarter financial decisions.

According to the annual survey released by the student-loan company, since the recession more American families are making decisions about their children's education based on its price tag-most likely out of necessity. 

Tuition continues to rise. Over the past five years the cost of tuition at public four-year colleges is up 27% above overall inflation with the average sticker price at public universities now $17,860 (Associated Press).

Student loan debt is also climbing. Members of the national college class of 2011 had 5% more debt at graduation than the class before them with an average debt load of $26,600, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, Oakland, Calif.

Despite-or because of-these trends, Sallie Mae found college spending per student dropped to $21,000 during 2012 from its 2010 peak, when families were paying $24,097.

Here are some strategies families are using to cut the cost of college:

Live at home. The report found 57% of students live with their parents or relatives, up from 41% last year.

Cut the pricey top picks. Nearly 70% of families eliminated colleges during the application process due to their high price tags, up from 58% in 2008. About one-fifth of low-income students chose to transfer to less-expensive schools.

Take a student job. Nearly half the students surveyed reported increasing their work hours in 2013.

Finish quicker. Nearly 30% of students accelerated their course work to pay for fewer semesters.

Use grants and scholarships. Families reported covering about 30% of their school bills with grants and scholarships-the biggest portion of their payment sources.

Start a college-savings plan. Low-income, middle-income, and high-income families all increased their use of 529 plans, with 17% of families overall using the tax-advantaged college-savings plan-up from 12% the previous year.

Begin paying back your loans immediately. Twenty-two percent of students reported they were paying back their loans while still enrolled in school to reduce the overall cost.

Choose a more lucrative major. About 20% of student reported changing their majors to more marketable fields.

Visit your credit union to learn more about how they can help.

Published 9-9-2013



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