Jul 2019

How families pay for college

By Jessica Dickler

Few purchases deliver a dose of sticker shock like the cost of college. Yet many families rarely pay the full amount.

Tuition and fees for a four-year private college averaged $35,830 in 2018-19; at four-year, in-state public colleges, it was $10,230, according to the College Board. And that’s not even adding in room and board or other expenses.

As of last year, the amount families actually paid was $26,226, on average, according to Sallie Mae’s 12th annual “How America Pays for College” report. That figure is relatively unchanged from a year earlier.

“The net tuition, what you are actually going to pay, is lower than the sticker price but it’s still awfully high,” said Michael Horn, co-author of the upcoming book, “Choosing College.” “From all angles it’s hammering people.”


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