Families Continue to Invest in Higher Education & Majority Eager to Return to Campus, According to “How America Pays for Co...
Families Spent $26,373 on College in
2020-21; Family Income and Savings Cover Majority of the
Families with a Plan to Pay for College at
an All-Time High, Yet FAFSA® Completion Rates Reach the
Lowest Point in the 14-Year History of the Report
While the pandemic created challenges for students and families,
nine in ten families continue to believe college is an important
investment in their future. Eighty nine percent believe a degree
will create new opportunities, and 81% believe it will yield higher
earnings, according to “How America Pays for College 2021,” the
national study from Sallie Mae® and Ipsos. In addition, the
majority of families are eager for students to get back to campus.
In fact, just 17% report they prefer online learning versus on
campus or a hybrid model.
“Despite the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,
Americans still believe in the value of college and say the
investment in higher education is worthwhile,” said Jennifer Berg,
Research Director, Ipsos. “Many believe that a college degree
creates opportunities that the student would not have access to
without it, but 2020 has also highlighted the need for personal
growth, with a growing number of families saying they value the
intellectual and social experience of college regardless of the
potential increase in income.”
Families spent $26,373 on college in AY 2020-21, a 12% decrease
from the year prior. Students and parents continued to use a
combination of resources to cover college costs with strategies
similar to pre-pandemic:
- Family income and savings, used by 91% of families, covered 53%
of college costs.
- Scholarships and grants, used by 72% of families, covered 25%
of college costs.
- Borrowed funds, including student loans, used by 47% of
families, covered 20% of college costs.
This year, more families (58%) had a plan to pay for college
than ever before. That said, the percentage of families who
completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®),
68%, represents the lowest level of completion in the study’s
14-year history. Of those who didn’t file, 44% said they didn’t
think they’d qualify for aid, while 34% said they missed the
deadline, found the application too complicated, or didn't have the
time. In addition, of those who didn’t use scholarships, 74% didn’t
apply. When asked about what stopped them, 44% of students said
they didn’t think they’d win, and 28% didn’t have time to
“College is a great equalizer, but we must ensure more have the
means to access and complete it,” said Nicolas Jafarieh, senior
vice president, Sallie Mae. “More families are planning how to pay
for college, but too often there are missed opportunities to make
college more affordable, including applying for scholarships and
filing the FAFSA®. With more discussion and available resources
around these critical paying-for-college moments, students can
tackle their future with confidence.”
“How America Pays for College 2021” reports the results of
online interviews Ipsos conducted in English, between April 8 - May
4, 2021, with 985 parents of undergraduate students and 1,000
undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24. Data and
years shown reflect academic year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.
The complete report and a related infographic are available at
For more information visit www.SallieMae.com.
Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long
learning, in all forms, help people achieve great things. As the
leader in private student lending, we provide financing and
know-how to support access to college and offer products and
resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond
college, happen. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as
Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored
by or agencies of the United States of America.
version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210720005752/en/
Ashley Boucher 856.430.0755 Ashley.Boucher@salliemae.com
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