— With college costs shooting through the roof and
many parents unprepared for the burden of paying for it,
high school students across the country are being forced
to make choices about where they will attend college and
how to cut costs once they get there.
of the most significant findings in a new report by the
Washington, D.C.-based College Savings Foundation is
that for the first time this year a majority of high
school students — 53 percent — plan to eliminate the
dormitory expense altogether and live at home.
are encouraged that high school students are planning
ahead and thinking deliberately about their futures.
They may be living at home during college, but that may
help them achieve more financial independence
later," said Mary Morris, chairman of the College
Savings Foundation and CEO of Virginia 529 in Richmond,
2016 survey of high school sophomores, juniors and
seniors found that college costs are looming large in
their minds, which has prompted many of them to seek
more affordable educational choices.
than half (54 percent) are choosing public college, up
from 50 percent last year; and 20 percent are opting for
community college. Nearly half (49 percent) now think of
vocational and career schools in the same way that they
think about public or private college, up from 42
percent last year and 21 percent in 2014.
to the College Board, a New York-based nonprofit that
develops and administers standardized tests, the average
cost of room and board at a four-year public college for
in-state students for the 2015-16 school year was
$10,138, while tuition and fees costs are slightly lower
at $9,410. Room and board costs for out-of-state
students at four-year public colleges also cost an
average $10,138; however, tuition and fees costs are
more than double — $23,893.
and parents, in general, are becoming more price
sensitive and also more concerned about the return on
their college investment," said Mark Kantrowitz,
publisher of Cappex.com, a Chicago-based website that
connects students with colleges and financial aid.
"In a way, it’s better for the child to live at
home while going to school than be forced to live at
home after they graduate.
benefit of living in a dorm is you learn as much from
your peers as you do sitting in classrooms listening to
lectures," he said.
concern is that students who don’t live on campus may
be missing out on part of the educational
experience," Kantrowitz said. "There’s also
the social aspect. But it’s much easier to justify the
dorm expense when there’s educational value and not
just social and entertainment value."
adviser Adam Yofan, president of Alpern Wealth
Management in Pittsburgh, said he understands why
students want to cut costs any way they can. Yet there
is a trade-off when it comes to eliminating the
sacrifice the social aspect of the college experience,
which may actually include networking opportunities that
could help you secure a job in the future," Yofan
said. "One of my longest tenured clients is someone
I met my first week of college in the dormitory at Miami
University in Ohio.
can’t just try to save costs," he said.
"There might be long-term benefits — social and
professional — by living in the dorm."