Friday, January 21, 2011

More Students Living at Home

Lauren Katalinich saved a lot of money by living at home during her freshman year at the University of Iowa.

So much money, she paid living expenses while she was an exchange student at the University of Lancaster, England, during her junior year.

But while the savings were important, sacrificing a freshman year in the dorms was difficult, said Katalinich, now a senior majoring in international studies and French.

“I pretty much blocked out most of my freshman year,” she said. “It was a little bit shameful to think, ‘Oh, you’re still living with your parents.’ I wasn’t able to make a group of friends like I did in high school.”

Kelsey Carder, a UI sophomore studying health promotions, pays her tuition with loans. So living at home in north Coralville — a 20- to 30-minute commute from campus — reduced her debt. Carder said she likes the savings and talking with her parents about her day, but she admitted getting to know people on campus was sometimes difficult.

At first, telling friends she lived with her parents was embarrassing.

“Then they would say, ‘Good idea, save some money,’ or, ‘Wow, I wish I could have done that,’ ” she said.
Students living at home represent a trend in American college life. In 2008, they made up 31.5 percent of all U.S. undergraduates, according to U.S. Department of Education reports.

A July 2009 survey by the National Retail Foundation found the number of college students planning to or considering living at home increased from slightly fewer than 50 percent in 2007 to 59.3 percent during the 2009-10 school year.

And the reason was simple: the poor economy.