Sell the house? Rent out a room? These are some of the ways Americans pay for college


  • The average cost of an undergraduate degree in the U.S., including room and board and fees rose 169% between 1980 and 2019.
  • Families are taking a range of steps, from selling their home to renting out a spare bedroom to help cover soaring college costs
  • Free community college and more initiatives that substitute scholarships and other aid for loans could help reduce student loan debt

Joyelle Tilton’s youngest son, Dylan, wanted to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst or Boston. 

But as an out-of-state student, tuition would cost roughly $36,000, more than twice the tab they’d pay if they lived in Massachusetts. 

So last August, the family made a decision. Just before Dylan started his junior year in high school, they packed their bags, said goodbye to relatives in Nevada, and moved to Massachusetts.


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