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Insights on education news and trends worldwide

Upasana Gupta -

Parents Pay Less For College Education in 2012

Survey Reveals: Students Shoulder Higher Responsibilities.

A recent national survey reveals that American families are saving and spending less on college education as compared to two years ago.

Sallie Mae’s 2012 study on, 'How America Pays for College,' conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, shows that despite 77 percent parents agreed that higher education is an investment in the future, the average amount families spent on college declined by 5 percent amounting to $20,902 in 2012.

The study of 1,600 dependant undergraduate students and parents within America, shows that adults have significantly cut their college contributions by 32 percent in 2012 as compared to 2010 from their income and savings. The survey sponsored by Sallie Mae, a financial-services company specializing in education, and conducted by Ipsos, an independent market-research company, finds that  parents are in denial about college savings and constantly feel overwhelmed,  frustrated and scared. (Also, read: 2012's Top Ten ROI Colleges)

Only 39 percent  of parents surveyed in 2012 have a plan to  pay for their child's college education. When parents were asked why they were not saving for college the top three answers included: Parents assume that financial aid will cover the cost of college; they think children are too young or too old to be saving; and families are uncertain about which savings option to use.

Researchers in the study note that the decline in college spending is largely attributed to a weak economy resulting in receding scholarship contributions (down to 35 percent in 2012 as compared to 45 percent in 2011) from colleges. As well as, higher number (69 percent) of families eliminating college choices for their children because of rising cost.
Majority of families in 2012 made their college decisions based on the cost they could afford to pay. As a result, a continuing trend seen in 2012 is the movement to lower-cost schools and colleges (up by 6 percent) in two years. (View our listing of community and technical colleges in America.)

But students stepped-up and shouldered additional responsibilities by funding a higher share of college costs (30 percent) in 2012 than in previous years. 62 percent of student respondents strongly agreed to borrow money to attend college than not be able to go at all. Also, the number of students willing to stretch themselves financially to pay for college was at its highest level in five years.

Perhaps, parents backing- off so that the new generation  learns to shoulder responsibility for taking loans, taking risks and decisions early on in their lives is a good thing.  But nevertheless, it is time for the government to step-up it's efforts in motivating people to invest in college savings plan.

For a country seeking to remain the greatest in the world,  the time is now to increase education investments in schools/colleges and lay a new foundation for growth. We cannot afford slipping away of the American education dream-where a good college education is the means for  sound employment opportunities and advanced careers for our next generation. (View our listing of graduate schools in America and internationally.)

It's important for each of us, to plan and provide our children with access to college education, because only higher education will increase our children's chances of employability and prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century.