Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College 2013 came out recently. Like previous years (the report has been published annually since 2008), it shows interesting trends on both the cost of college and how families are responding to dealing with costs.


Below, we’ve compliled a few highlights.


Sallie Mae Graphic on Sources of College Payment for 2012-2013 Academic Year



  • Like in 2012, the percentage that parents are contributing is diminishing. It now stands at only 27% ($5,727), which is down from 37% ($8,752) in 2010. That’s a 35% decrease in just three years.
  • A combination of scholarships and grants is now the primary source of student funding. It is up from 23% in 2010 to a new-record 30%.
  • The percentage of college paid for by student borrowing (18%) and parent borrowing (9%) has remained steady. However, the amount borrowed on student federal loans continues to rise.
  • This year, 69 percent of families paid for college without a student loan—federal or private. 
  • Three in 10 students borrowed student loans in 2012-13. Twenty-two percent of undergraduates borrowed only federal loans, 7 percent used both federal and private education loans, and only 2 percent borrowed a private education loan with no federal loan. 
  • 13% of respondents in the report indicate that their student transfered to a less-expensive school in the past year to help deal with costs.
  • The vast majority of parents continue to believe that a college education is “a smart investment in their child’s future.”


There’s much more to see in the infographic. If you prefer to dig deep, you can read the full report here.