Students relax on the lawns of a university campus. (credit: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The responsibility of paying for college is shifting; it’s falling more now on students and their families, as state funding declines.

Students unable to pick up the bigger burden are making life-changing decisions.

“Particularly in terms of the family’s contribution… it’s discouraging large numbers of young people from even applying to college,” Southern Methodist University (SMU) Economist Bernard Weinstein explained.

The survey conducted by Sallie Mae shows higher borrowing and out-of-pocket expenses for students.

“This is particularly true at public universities where the state contribution to the cost of education has fallen dramatically and that’s certainly true in the state of Texas,” Weinstein said.

There are a number of college savings programs available but Weinstein says there aren’t a lot of people taking advantage of them and the result is clear.

“We’re seeing a significant burden on both the students and their family. What’s more students have been taking out loans at a record clip.”

Currently two thirds of the students attending the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) rely heavily on earning their own money.

“They work. They may have one, two, or three different jobs,” UT Arlington spokesperson Kristin Sullivan said of the students. “Often they have a campus job and they may supplement with outside income. They have scholarships. They have grants.”

Weinstein views the higher education financial aid crisis as something that is affecting more than individual families.

“With most states putting less into higher Ed that means the student, or the student’s parents have to put in more. That certainly isn’t good for the long-term. I think it’s a serious public policy issue that needs to be addressed.”

Weinstein went on to point out that the amount of outstanding student loans are higher than all consumer credit debt.