Families Are Doing College on the Cheap

A big new annual survey on how Americans pay for college is out today, and the trend lines are clear: families are finding ways to kick in less for school, and nobody's bearing the brunt of the trend more than black students.

The survey, from Sallie Mae, shows that Americans are still quite enthusiastic about going to college— they just can't pay as much for it. The total average college spending per student was just over $21,000 last year, down from $24,000 in 2010. And a larger proportion of that money is coming from grants and scholarships, rather than from out-of-pocket spending by families. Interesting data points:

- "Parents’ average out-of-pocket spending has decreased by 35 percent since 2011, from $8,752 to $5,727."

- "In 2013, 57% of families reported a student living at home or with a relative, up from 43% three years ago." The number of wealthy students living at home has doubled.

- Perhaps the most jarring number of all is the precipitous decline in black students in private colleges in a single year: "This year 14 percent of students in African-American families were enrolled in a four-year private school, compared to 30 percent last year."

Scrimping, saving, trying to climb that economic ladder any way possible, and black people getting the short end of the stick. Typical American story.

[The full survey. Image via]