Families Save Money On Higher Education –

The majority of students and parents believe higher education is a priority and are exercising different measures to cut college expenses, according to a survey released Monday by Sallie Mae. The national survey, conducted by Ipsos, revealed that 83% of students and parents strongly agreed that higher education is an investment in the future. Sixty-nine percent eliminated college choices based on their costs, the highest percentage since the survey began five years ago.

Seventy percent of survey respondents believe college is needed now more than ever and 69% believed it is the pathway to earning more money. In addition, students are willing to stretch themselves further financially at 61%, an increase from previous years, to pay for college.

The survey also revealed that students are footing more of the academic bill than in previous years. Last year students paid 30%, while parents paid 37%. Four years prior, students paid 24% and parents 45%. Cost-saving strategies included living at home (51%), addition of a roommate (55%), reduction in student spending (66%), reduction in parent spending (50%), increased student work hours (50%), and taking income tax credit or reduction (45%).

At 29%, money from scholarships and grants financed the largest portion of college bills. Students also utilized federal and private student loans to pay for expenses. In previous years, there has been a shift toward families using lower-cost community colleges. This trend continued in 2012 and families paid 5% less for college than they did one year ago.

The full study“How America Pays for College 2012” is the fifth in the series. Interviews with 801 undergraduate college students and 800 parents were conducted by telephone this spring. The margin of error on percentages is +/-2.5.

Follow Valerie Jones on Twitter @ValerieJonesCMN