American families borrowed less to pay for sending their children to college in 2013 than in the previous two years, according to a report from student lender Sallie Mae. Families borrowed only 22 percent of the cost of college, down from 27 percent in the prior two years, according to Sallie Mae's 2013 How America Pays for College report, released Thursday. The average amount U.S. families spent for college was stable for the third year at $20,882, after reaching a peak of $24,097 in 2010. That number was still up significantly from 2007, when college spending hit $17,200. Also, one-fifth of families paid for college costs out of their own pockets in 2013, using savings or income, while 66 percent tapped scholarships or grants. Families are making smarter choices about where their children go to school and are taking other fiscal measures such as maximizing tax credits or accelerating studies to cut costs, said Sarah Ducich, Sallie Mae's senior vice president for public policy. And more students are living at home. Sallie Mae surveyed 800 parents and 800 undergraduate students aged 18 to 24 in April and May.
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First published July 31 2014, 12:02 PM