How Most Americans Pay for College

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This infographic is entitled paying for college. Many families rely on a combination of financial resources, including out-of-pocket payments and loans, to meet their education expenses. The percentage breakdown is as follows: 44% from parent income and savings. Over $371 billion has been saved in 529 plans. See footnote number two. 25% from scholarships and grants. $242 billion in total aid was available in 2019 and 2020 from all grants, loans, tax credits and work-study. See footnote number one. 13% from student borrowing. There are a number of federal and private student loan options. In families who borrowed, students borrowed $11,836, on average. See footnote number four. 9% from student income and savings. 32% of college students hold an all-year job, while 25% work only on school breaks. See footnote number five. 8% from parent borrowing. Federal loans are also available to parents. In families who borrowed, parents borrowed $12,535, on average. See footnote number six. 1% from gifts from relatives and friends. On average, families used $436 of gifts from others to cover college expenses. See footnote number three. Source: Sallie Mae, How America Pays for College 2020. Logo graphic: Merrill, a Bank of America company.
Footnote 1 College Board, "Trends in Student Aid 2020"

Footnote 2 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2020

Footnote 3,4,5,6 Sallie Mae, "How America Pays for College 2020"
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Merrill Edge® can help you create a game plan for paying for college. Visit Understanding College Costs for educational resources, online tools, savings accounts and more.