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Americans Want a Degree, But Won't Pay as Much to Get One

Families are still optimistic about the value of a college degree, they're just less willing to pay as much to get one, says a new Sallie Mae survey.

The study, "How Americans Pay for College 2013," shows that the average college spending per student topped $21,000 in 2012, a drop from $24,000 in 2010. And more of that cash comes from scholarships and grants as opposed to the student's family.

Some interesting study highlights (to view them in infographic form, click here):

  • "Free money" covers 30 percent of college costs, that's up 25 percent from 2009.
  • Parents pay less for their child's schooling. They now fund about 27 percent of college costs from income and savings, down from 36 percent in 2010.
  • Families still believe in the value of higher education. Some 85 percent of parents surveyed said they agreed that college was a positive investment in their child's future, the highest rate in the past five years.
  • Presumably still shaken by the Great Recession, more families reported factoring college costs into the school choice.

With the national student debt tottering well over the $1 trillion mark, it's understandable the general public isn't willing to earn a degree for the price of outrageous debt. That's why we compile the annual college ROI report, to help consumers make more informed decisions about where to attend school. 

To view our college rankings by ROI, click here.

Tell Us What You Think

How much are you willing to spend on a four-year degree? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

The Top Schools for College Degree ROI by Region

Is College Worth It? Use Schools' ROI to Help You Decide

Should Colleges Charge Different Tuition for Different Majors?

(Image credit: Salli Mae)

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