Paying for college

“For more than two decades,” says Money’s Penelope Wang in, colleges and universities “have been jacking up tuition at a faster rate than costs have risen on any other major product or service.” And normal supply and demand “can’t begin to explain” the 439 percent jump in total college costs since 1982. If parents are willing to pay exorbitant costs for top schools, the thinking goes, it must be worth it. But the benefits of a college education, notably earning potential, are “not infinite,” and they aren’t quantitatively better at a more expensive school. And given that post-undergraduate salaries are dropping, while Ph.D.s and master’s graduates are earning more, it might be best to save your money for grad school.

So how are families paying for college? says Andrea Coombes in MarketWatch. According to a new survey, most “cobble money together from a variety of sources,” and an overwhelming number are willing to stretch themselves financially to pay for the best educational opportunity. But only 14 percent said they rely solely on loans to pay for college, compared with 34 percent who use both loans and savings. Even more, 39 percent, say they pay for college without borrowing any money, using savings, work income, scholarships, and other sources. On average, families said they pay $14,628 a year for a student to go to college—but when examined closer, it looks like they were underestimating.