College Is Affordable
Paying for college expenses is a shared responsibility. No one pays the full cost of higher education in America, since state resources and colleges' own investment resources greatly reduce the price that colleges actually charge their students. And financial aid is available to those who cannot afford to pay the prices colleges do charge.
The family is responsible for the portion of college costs that it can reasonably afford, which is determined by using standard financial aid formulas. Families have choices about how to pay their share - and most families meet college expenses by saving and borrowing and drawing on current earnings.
To finance major purchases such as a house, a car, or a college education, most people spread the costs out over time. Families may not be able to determine whether something is "affordable" until they see how it breaks down in terms of monthly payments. Most families will look at their expected share of college costs and decide that the best way - and quite possibly the only way - to manage the expense is by spreading it out over time.
If a family has already saved the entire amount of its share of college costs, it may not have to use current earnings or borrow at all. Or it might choose not to withdraw all of its savings but instead leverage them through borrowing, or use a combination of savings and current earnings.
Families who have done little or no saving for college have fewer choices and will have to rely on some mix of current earnings and student and/or parent loans.
North Carolina's National College Savings Program helps families who want to save in advance. Student and parent loans from College Foundation of North Carolina offer affordable options to those families who need to borrow.