DataPoints: Paying for college on their own


Sometimes it’s worth emphasizing the obvious: A larger percentage of community college students pay for their own education than students attending four-year colleges.

But results from a new Cengage survey of 1,200 undergraduate students ages 18 to 44 (see graph below) show just how big the gap is between the two groups: 61% of four-year students are solely paying for their education costs, and 29% are splitting costs with parents or family. Meanwhile, 72% of two-year students are paying all costs, while only 19% are splitting costs with parents/family.

Of course, the higher percentage is because community colleges serve a greater number of non-traditional students, including adult learners. More than one-third (36%) of public two-year college students are 22 to 39 years old, with an average age of 27 and a median age of 23, according to Fast Facts from the American Association of Community Colleges. Also, 15% are single parents.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.