In 2011, scholarships and grants as a proportion of the overall amounts paid towards college costs increased to 33% from 23%? in 2010, according to “How America Pays for College,” national survey released this week, conducted by Ipsos for financial services firm Sallie Mae.
Although parent contributions remain the most heavily relied upon source of funding at 37%? of total college expenses, this is a considerable decrease from the 47% parents reported contributing in 2010.
The survey shows little change in student borrowing and contributions from students’ own income and savings. Students assumed direct responsibility for about one-quarter of the total cost of college, contributing 15 percent through borrowing and 11 percent from income and savings.
The increase in the proportion of college costs met from scholarships and grants is likely a result of three factors: an overall reduction in the amount families paid for college, a reduction in the amount contributed by parents, and an increase in families using grants, thus increasing the number of grants awarded.
Total Amount Paid for College Declines
After substantial increases in the total amount paid to meet college costs in past years, peaking at $24,097 in academic year 2009-2010, the total average amount paid for college dropped 9% to $21,889 in 2010-2011. However, the value may be down from the 2010 peak, but it remains higher than the amounts families reported paying in 2009 and 2008.
The most significant shift in total amount paid came from high-income families. In 2011, this group reported paying $25,760 on average, 18% less than the $31,245 they reported paying in 2010.
Middle-income families’ total amount paid for college dropped slightly from $22,628 in 2010 to $21,347. Low-income families reported increasing the amount paid to meet college costs, from $17,404 in 2010 to $19,888.