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Students Making Sacrifices To Meet College Costs

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Students are bearing more of the financial burden of student loan debt than in years past.
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Students are bearing more of the financial burden of student loan debt than in years past.

Despite the rising costs of higher education, and less financial assistance from home, more students are finding ways to pay for college on their own.

Raphael Jaimes, a Ph.D student at George Washington University in the District, calls Arlington home. Jaimes says it's cheaper to live in Arlington, and to help pay for school, he's cutting back in other areas.

"Unfortunately, I feel like I have to cut costs when it comes to food as well," says Jaimes.

He's not alone. The nation's biggest student loan provider, Sallie Mae, says the burden has shifted to students to pay for higher ed. A study conducted by Sallie Mae (pdf) shows that parents are scaling back when it comes to helping their kids pay for college. Parents spent an average of $5,955 on tuition in 2012, down from the high of $8,752 in 2010.

Adding to the burden, figures show 10 percent fewer scholarships are being handed out as compared to 10 years ago.

Instead, students are increasingly turning to federal student loans to make up the difference. Both percentage of students using federal loans and the amount borrowed reached five-year highs in 2012, at 34 percent and $7,874, respectively. As a consequence, student loan debt topped $1 trillion earlier this year, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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