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How America Pays for College

VU International News and Reviews No. 123 November 03 2018

November 2018

Sallie Mae has published a report and infographic on how American families fund the college education of their children. It shows that across the board, US families spent an average of $ 26 458 on college. Almost half of that came from the families themselves; the rest came from a combination of scholarships & grants and borrowing.

Remarkably, the report does not contain a definition or description of what is meant by ´the college cost´. We may assume that it is a combination of tuition fees and cost of living as a student – but it is not clear. Holding to that assumption, we may note that in the Netherlands a full year of studies – for non-EU students who pay full cost tuition – may easily reach up to € 25 000, or more than $ 28 500. Given the general impression of the cost of higher education in the US, this is counterintuitive. The most probable explanation is that Community College in the US is much less expensive and does cater to a large proportion of the College population.

Sallie Mae is the privatised for-profit bank that initially started as the public SLMA: Student Loan Marketing Association.

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