Stay-at-home college students save families money

College students can’t get out of the house into their world of independence fast enough. At least that’s what we’ve always thought.

However, in a recent study from Sallie Mae and Gallup, 43 percent of families reported that their student lived at home.

Clearly, it’s a sign of the times. As the cost of college goes up — and economic conditions get even tougher for many, many families — it makes sense that families would opt to have their college students study close to home and keep their bedroom as well.

Other findings from the third annual “How America Pays for College” report, which included more than 1,600 interviews with college students and parents:

* 71 percent strongly agreed that a college degree is more important now than it used to be.

* Both parents and students opened their wallets wider, tapped more scholarships and grants, and borrowed more, to pay for the escalating total cost of college, which survey respondents reported increased by 17 percent from the previous year.

* Parents paid nearly half (47 percent) the share of college costs for the 2009-2010 academic year and students paid roughly one quarter through income, savings, and loans.

* 15 percent of families used money from a college savings plan—up from 11 percent last year and 9 percent two years ago.

* To make college more affordable, most families reduced spending (73 percent) or increased work hours or earnings (48 percent), but a remarkable 43 percent of families report that their student lived at home.

* Most (3 out of 4) students and parents do not have a plan to pay for the full degree when they enroll.

Is your college student staying at home? Do you think it takes the college experience? What else are you doing to pay for or prepare for college? Do you think a pricey education will be rewarded with higher income upon graduation?

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains and on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

4 comments Add your comment


August 11th, 2010
12:23 pm

I’m not surprised at this at all. How many families can afford to send their child off to college and live in a dorm or apartment and pay for food and tuition and books? Not many. We’re supposed to be in a time where people are getting more real about their finances and trying to avoid borrowing money.

My oldest lived at home for about 2 years. She is now living in a small house that we bought at housing collapse prices. Cheaper than paying rent. My son is able to live in a small apartment in someone’s home for $20/ month as part of his part-time ministry work. He goes to school close to there. There is no way we could afford for both of them to be away at school living in dorms or apartments. I just saw yesterday that student loans now are a greater burden to Americans than credit card debt.

It is not necessary to “go away to college” to become educated. That is a total American myth.

We have a 529 for our 3rd child. But I don’t know if it is enough.

No, I do not think that pricey education is rewarded with higher income in the vast majority of cases.


August 11th, 2010
1:36 pm

I’m suprised at the number of parents paying for their kids schools. I have to pay everything myself, except my car insurance. Luckily I have the Hope Scholarship and actually picked a good career, otherwise graduating with 30,000 in debt from UGA and starting at around 32,000 for the average graduate that would take years to repay. Choose your career wisely or just go to the community college.


August 11th, 2010
5:11 pm

I saved a ton of money during college. I got my bachelors degree in Journalism for well under $20k. How? Some FAFSA money, community college, work grants (Starbucks helps their employees!), and a little thing called CLEP tests.

CLEP tests allow you to “test out” of college. For example, the Spanish CLEP can earn you up to 12 college credits in one sitting.

Now I work for a college coaching company that helps students get their degrees. Most of our students get their fully accredited degree in 2 years for under $20k. It’s worth looking into.

[...] now and money’s tighter, so families are doing what they can to cut costs, according to the third annual “How American Pays for College” report. About three-quarters of families reduced spending to make school more affordable and nearly half [...]