Families in the Northeast spend 70% more on college (one theory: they want the right bumper sticker)

The Northeast has a certain reputation for elitism and whether you think it’s well-deserved likely depends on your birthplace and political preference. But a new survey suggests there might be some truth to that stereotype — students and parents from the region are willing to pay up for what they perceive to be the top schools.

Families from the Northeast spend on average 70% more on college than their counterparts in other regions, according to the 2017 “How America Pays for College” survey published Monday by student loan lender Sallie Mae. They’re also much more likely to borrow; students from the region take on nearly twice as much debt as those from the next highest region, the Midwest, and parents in the Northeast borrow nearly three times as much as those in the next highest region, the West.

Terrence Horan


There are a variety of factors that explain the regional differences in college spending habits. For one, students in the Northeast are more likely to attend school full-time than their counterparts in other places. In addition, these students tend to come from wealthier families, the survey found, perhaps giving them a bit more room to spend on college.

But a major factor influencing the difference appears…

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