"Those same savings accounts are not covering the full cost of college for most students and their families," said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's editor-in-chief.
Families with students in four-year private colleges spent almost $47,000 in 2017-18, up 3.5 percent from the year earlier. At in-state, four-year public colleges, it was more than $20,000, according to the College Board.
A college degree is now the second-largest expense an individual is likely to make in a lifetime — right after purchasing a home.
Tuition has historically risen about 3 to 5 percent a year, according to the College Board. During the recession, declining public funds caused tuition to spike. At private four-year schools, average tuition and fees rose 54 percent in the last decade. Tuition plus fees at four-year public schools, which were harder hit, jumped 71 percent over the same time period.
As a result, families are relying on loans and aid more than ever before to make a degree more affordable. Currently, about two-thirds of all full-time students receive some kind of support.
Aid such as the income-based federal Pell grants covered 35 percent of college costs in 2016-17, up from the previous school year, according to a recent report by education lender Sallie Mae. Borrowing covered 27 percent of college costs, also higher than the year before.