(Source: Brittany Anas Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo. (MCT) — Kaylee Ortega is piecing together ways to pay for college at the University of Colorado this fall: She’s waiting tables and running the cash register at a diner, securing scholarships and taking out student loans.
Ortega, a first-generation college student who plans to major in integrative physiology, is entirely responsible for financing her education, acknowledging that her parents’ modest-paying salaries earned through cleaning buildings and working with the elderly aren’t enough to foot the bill for her tuition and fees.
College students are increasingly paying for their own higher education, according to a new study from college financing company Sallie Mae. The company, which teamed up with Ipsos Public Affairs, released its annual “How America Pays for College” report Monday. Among the key findings are that the current crop of college students are responsible for paying larger shares of their education, while their parents are picking up smaller portions of the tab.
Also, more families are ruling out schools that are out of their price ranges.
By factoring in their savings, income and loans, college students are covering 30 percent of the total cost of attendance, the survey shows. Their peers four years ago carried about 24 percent of the cost. Meanwhile, parents are covering 37 percent of the costs of college, down from 45 percent four years ago.
“For me, there’s no price to put on education,”
said Ortega, who aspires to be a doctor and recognizes she’ll inevitably take on debt to finance her way through medical school.
The survey also shows that 69 percent of families said they had eliminated certain colleges from their search based on cost, which is up from 56 percent in 2009.
At CU’s Boulder campus, the number of students who took out subsidized Stafford loans this past year totaled 9,492, up from 9,106 the prior year, according to Gwen Pomper, director of CU’s Office of Financial Aid. Meanwhile, the number of CU-Boulder parents with federal PLUS loans dropped from 3,461 to 3,374 during the same time period.
“In terms of students taking out loans, we’re seeing that creep up a little bit,” she said.
Pomper said that a financial literacy committee at CU holds events and counseling sessions to help students budget for their college education. Some of the suggestions they make to students looking to trim costs is to consider adding a roommate if they live off campus and using public transportation as much as possible.
Tess Bowling, a CU sophomore majoring in chemical and biological engineering, narrowed her college searches to in-state colleges with strong engineering programs, with tuition being a major consideration in her college search. In-state tuition at CU in the College of Engineering and Applied Science will be $11,048 this upcoming school year.
Bowling said she’s grateful that her parents mostly cover her education costs, and said that she has a research apprenticeship job queued up so that she can help chip in, too.
Common cost-saving strategies include living at home, adding a roommate and beginning at community colleges then transferring to pricier universities, according to the Sallie Mae study. Fifty percent of parents and 66 percent of students said they’ve reduced their spending to have more money to pay for college.
“This is really a tale of the resilient American family, who still see the extreme value of a college education and are finding new and creative ways to pay for it,” said report author Clifford Young in a news release.
Colleen Smith, a recent CU graduate who majored in environmental studies, said she took summer classes so that she could expedite her degree, earning it in three years. Smith, who is from Peoria, Ill., earned the Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship, which amounted to $15,000 over the course of her time at CU. She also applied for other scholarships, earning one from the CU Parent’s Association.
“You can do your research because there’s all types of scholarships out there,” she said.
For the Sallie Mae report, researchers interviewed 801 undergraduate college students and 800 parents of undergraduates nationwide.
For the first time this year, the study broke down student loan borrowing by discipline, concluding that students in the visual and performing arts are highest percentage of borrowers at 52 percent.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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