NEW YORK (Reuters) – For Americans worried about the escalating price of a college education, here’s good news: Tuition for the typical family barely budged in the past year, following years of out-of-control U.S. tuition inflation.
The typical American family with a child in college paid an average of $26,226 for the 2018-19 academic year, nearly the same as the year before, according to the latest “How America Pays for College” survey from lender Sallie Mae.
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However, college affordability is still a challenge as Americans have gaps in their financial literacy.
To apply for any federal student loans, state grants and work-study programs and institutional aid, families are required to fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online. While many do, only 77% of those surveyed click “submit,” Sallie Mae found.
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“It should be 100%,” said Martha Holler, a senior vice president at Sallie Mae.
At private colleges, even high-income families can qualify for tuition breaks, but they would never know unless they fill out the form.
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“Even if you are making a pretty good living, you could qualify,” said Roger Young, a senior financial planner for T. Rowe Price.
Charlie Javice, chief executive of Frank, a platform which helps students finance education, said fewer families are filing the FAFSA, based on her review of government data.
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“That is not a good trend,” said Javice, who blames a lack of resources in high schools and from federal and state agencies to provide better and more timely information.
Sallie Mae’s report highlights how families have to pull from different sources to pay for college. For the last school year, the largest chunk came from scholarships and grants at institutions, followed closely by parent income and savings.
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Students also contribute cash, while both parents and students borrow. A tiny 2% typically comes from relatives and friends.
Colleges present the whole package, including...
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