Covering the cost of college

College can be expensive, but few end up paying the full price out of pocket. On average, parents in the U.S. pay about 29 percent of college expenses from their income and savings, according to Sallie Mae. The rest comes from a variety of other sources. Here’s a snapshot of what college could cost you, and how you might pay for it. (All data is from 2016 unless otherwise noted.) 

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The average price of one year of college when accounting for tuition, fees, and room and board:

$20,090
public, 4-year, in-state

$35,370
public, 4-year, out-of-state

$45,370
private, 4-year, nonprofit

Source: College Board

34%
FINANCIAL AID
$184 billion in student aid available in 2015, primarily from grants and scholarships.
Sources: College Board, Sallie Mae

29%
PARENT INCOME AND SAVINGS
FINANCIAL AID
Payments from 529 plans topped $16 billion in 2014.
Sources: Federal Reserve, Sallie Mae

13%
STUDENT BORROWING
There are a number of federal student loan options, as well as private loans for students.
Source: Sallie Mae

5%
EXTENDED FAMILY AND FRIENDS
51% of parents would ask family or friends to make college savings gifts instead of material presents.
Sources: College Savings Foundation, Sallie Mae

12%
STUDENT INCOME AND SAVINGS
Nearly 4 out of 5 (77%) college students work to help fund tuition and other expenses.
Source: Sallie Mae

7%
PARENT BORROWING
Federal loans are also available to parents.
Source: Sallie Mae

The cost of a college education is substantial. There are many resources to help you plan for and cover the expenses, however. Merrill Edge® 529 College Savings Plans (Link: https://www.merrilledge.com/college-savings/529?src_cd=bac_fined) can be a helpful part of your strategy to tackle the cost of higher education. 

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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