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Report on How Families Pay for College

October 22, 2018

Families spent an average of $26,458 on an undergraduate education during the most recently completed academic year, according the latest results of a survey Sallie Mae, the large student lender, has conducted since 2008.

Parents and students covered nearly half of that amount (47 percent), the survey found, with parents chipping in almost three times more than students. Scholarships and grants paid for 28 percent of the total. Most of the rest of the price of going to college was paid for through loans, with parents borrowing to pay for 10 percent of the price and student loans covering 10 percent. Overall, 53 percent of families borrowed to help pay for an undergraduate college education.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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