5 Hard Truths About Saving for College and the Cost of Education

3. Instead of paying more, families opt to choose different education options

“School choice may be a key driver in containing total average spending,” according to the report. In 2014, families reported the highest numbers of enrollment in two-year public colleges since Sallie Mae began producing the reports in 2008. About 34% reported attending such a school, up 30% from the year before. Concurrently, attendance at four-year public colleges declined from 46% to 41%. And the cost savings are there: the average amount spent in 2014 for two-year public colleges was $11,012, compared to $21,072 at public four-year schools.

Source: Sallie Mae's 2014 How America Pays for College report

Source: Sallie Mae’s 2014 How America Pays for College report