NPR has a report up about a new study that takes a look at the cost of college: “Fewer Students Borrow For College. Those Who Do Spend More.” The study was conducted by Gallup and sponsored by student-loan provider Sallie Mae. That study, titled “How America Pays for College” [pdf], is a rich source of data providing numerous statistics, tables, and graphs. It includes, for example, an overall break down the sources of money students use to pay for college:

Fig._1_How_the_Average_Family_Pays_for_CollegeThe report then goes on to analyze each of these pieces of the pie to provide additional information about where each comes from. For example, when looking at student borrowing, 7% of  the overall total comes from federal loans while 5% of the overall total comes from private education loans.

The report also looks at how paying for college varies by income level. They break income into three categories and report the following:

Fig._6_How_the_Average_Family_Pays_for_College,_by_Income_Level

They then breakdown each of these categories as well. For example, they report that students in the lowest income category receive more money in the form of grants compared to the top category (Low: $4338; High: $516), this is reversed when it comes to scholarships (Low: $2812; High: $4126).

There are many other pieces of information in the study that make it well worth a look (for example, it includes some data on race/ethnicity, it breaks down numbers based on type of school, etc.), and it could provide for some interesting discussion.

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