Smart Dollars for College: Facts and Figures

The next time one of your clients is passing out cigars to celebrate the birth of a baby, tell him that if he wants to educate that bouncing bundle of

  1. College students attending schools that charge less than $6,000 per year in tuition: 46 percent
  2. College students attending schools that charge more than $24,000 per year in tuition: 12 percent
  3. Average annual total cost of a four-year public university in 2005-2006: $12,100
  4. Average net price of a year at these schools after grants and tax benefits: $8,800
  5. Total federal, state and institutional financial aid awarded in 2004-2005: $129 billion
  6. Portion of that aid that was loans: 46 percent
  7. Percentage of 2003-2004 degree recipients who graduated with debt (4-year public universities): 62
  8. Average student loan balance held by borrowers upon graduation: $15,500
  9. Portion of students who may be using credit cards to help pay for college: 25 percent
  10. Estimated cost of a four-year education at a public university 18 years from now (2024): $122,000
  11. Daily amount new parents will have to save to pay that cost (8 percent annual return): $8.50
  12. Total assets held in Section 529 College Savings Plans in 2005: $72,300,000,000
  13. Total number of 529 accounts: 7,600,000
  14. Average account balance: $9,481
  15. Portion of students who graduate four years after they enter college: 26 percent
  16. Hours a student had to work at minimum wage to pay for a year of college in 1981: 760
  17. Hours a student had to work at minimum wage to pay for a year of college in 2005: 2,100
  18. Rank of parents as the biggest influence on a student's decision to go to college: No. 1
  19. Rank of “lack of money” as the biggest obstacle to a student attending college: No. 1

Sources: 1-4 Trends in College Pricing 2005; 5-6, 12-14 Trends in Student Aid 2005; 7-8 Center for Economic and Policy Research; 9 National Center for Education Statistics; 15 Income and Financial Aid Effects on Persistence and Degree Attainment in Public Colleges Alicia C. Dowd University of Massachusetts-Boston; 10-11, 16-17 Author's calculations; 18-19 Missing the Boat — Why Some Make it to College and Others Don't (EdFund)

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