Fewer American parents are willing to go into debt to finance their children’s education. According to a report prepared by Sallie Mae, 51% of parents “strongly agreed that they would stretch financially to send their children to college.” This represents a 13% decrease from the 64% of parents who felt the same last year. Approximately 51% of parents also said they would go into debt to pay for their children’s tuition, down from 59% last year. Since Sallie Mae began the survey in 2007, this is the first time those figures have fallen.
The survey could indicate that parents are beginning to change how they feel about sending their children to college. For many years American parents have had the ambition to send their children to college, not matter the cost. One reason for the change could be that the cost of college has greatly increased. The average cost for attending a private university has increased 70% in the last ten years, and the average cost for attending a public university has increased fourfold since 1991.
The change in attitudes can also be attributed to the poor economy and the impact the downturn has had on families. Many parents have lost jobs, housing prices have fallen, and investments have suffered losses. There has also been an increase in students who graduate in fewer semesters and students who live at home while attending college.
Annamaria Andriotis, Sorry, Junior: Parents Pull Back on College Spending, https://www.smartmoney.com/spend/family-money/sorry-junior-parents-pull-back-on-college-spending-1314559509454/?link=SM_hp_borrow (accessed September 6, 2011).