As families continue to recover from the recession, they're relying less on their own income and savings and more on grants and scholarships to finance a college education than in previous years, according to Sallie Mae's How America Pays for College study.
The study, which surveyed a group of 1,602 undergraduates and parents of undergraduates earlier this year, shows that grants and scholarships are used more than any other type of funding, covering 30 percent of total college costs for a typical family. Five years ago, only half of families reported using grants and scholarships to pay for college. This year, two-thirds of families did, the study shows.
Meanwhile, parents are contributing less of their income and savings toward college costs, covering 27 percent of college costs compared with 37 percent in 2010, the study shows.
"The post-recession reality is [parents] don't have the income and savings," says Sarah Ducich, senior vice president of public policy at Sallie Mae. "It's not that they're not willing to stretch. It's that they don't think they have the money to do that."