Study finds parents are no longer the primary source of college financing

By WEEK Producer

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 4:49 PM CDT

WASHINGTON D.C. -- On Capitol Hill tonight, there may be a deal to bring student loan rates back down. It comes on the same day as a new study of college finances finds big changes in how families pick and pay for college, and what kids study when they go.

At Howard University, in Washington, students say many are shying away from majors like African American Studies, in favor of fields that lead to careers after college.

"I picked sports medicine so I could go into physical therapy because I know that it is a growing field and I can get a job after I get through grad school,” said Howard University Senior Rodney Hill.

More graduates will go to work with less debt because there is less reliance on college loans.

Meanwhile in the U.S. Senate, where federal student loan rates were allowed to double, there is a possible deal to drop rates, but still let them rise if market rates go up.

"It's a good step forward in the direction of accomplishing things on a bi-partisan basis,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

However, instead of loans at schools like George Washington University in D.C., more kids are turning to scholarships and grants.

"I looked into the school basically that could supply me with the most money, because I live with my mother.
She's single and raising three kids,” said student Blake McNulty.

More families are picking colleges based on cost, as noted in Tuesday’s report by Sallie Mae that studied college families.

"They are approaching the expense, ah the investment, with cost consciousness we just didn't see before the recession,” said Sallie Mae Senior VP Sarah Ducic.

Taylor Davis and her mom had that mindset when they picked Taylor's major.

"Nursing most definitely is a field that's in demand, so I will leave college with a job,” said Davis.

One big thing has not changed, 85 percent of parents in the study see college costs as an investment in their children's future.

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