recently wrote an article on How to pay for college. According to the Student Loan Marketing Association, the average tuition, room and board at a private college is $43,921. Public tuition for in-state students at state colleges amounted to $19,548, with out-of-state students paying an average of $34,031.

  • 34% of tuition bills are paid from scholarships and grants that don’t have to be paid back. That is they come from the college itself or the state or federal government, often based on need and academic performance.
  • 29% of the total bill (an average of $7,000) out of parent’s savings or income.
  • Grandparent, aunts and uncles paying another 5%.
  • Students pay, on average, 12%.
  • 20% of the total is made up of loans.

Here’s the breakdown of how loans are funded:

Low-interest loan program offered by the federal government

  • Up to $5,500 a year for freshmen
  • $6.500 during the sophomore year
  • $7,500 for the junior and senior years.

Private lenders fund the rest of loans.

Students borrow 13% of their total tuition costs. Parents borrow the other 7%.

The big question is whether it’s all worth it. Check out my next article on College Grads and Unemployment.


Rich Feight, CFP
Rich Feight, CFP

Hi, I'm Rich Feight I'm a fee-only Certified Financial Planner, successful business owner, and self-made millionaire that knows how to beat the system and become wealthy. I have a lot of clients that have done it too. I'm also pretty good at finding that ever-elusive work/life balance so many of us strive for. Lucky for you I have an abundant mindset and give all my knowledge away on my blog. So if you want to know what it takes to become a millionaire, follow me.

    2 replies to "College Tuition and Student Loans"

    • Thanks for starting this important conversation, Rich. I think the whole college tuition & loan program is completely unsustainable and other options will be required for everybody in the future. It’ll be interesting to see what they look like!

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