College students who stay at home receive the benefits

Anthony Nathan

The difference between high school and college is the magnitude of choices.

In high school, classes, for the most part, are assigned with limited options for students. Attendance is mandatory by law and living arrangements are reduced to mostly bunking up with family members.

In college, students are granted the freedom to do away with the old constraints of grade school, but for half of college students one variable stays the same, living with family.

According to a 2012 study by the student loan corporation Sallie Mae, 51 percent of college students still live at home. There are clear benefits for students who choose to stay at home during their formative years of higher education.

A common reason for staying at home and not fleeing the nest too early is saving money. College is an expense that many students cannot handle on their own. According to CNN Money, last year’s academic net cost averaged $15,000 per student.

Eliminating the cost of food, utilities and room and board, all paid for by mom and pops, can make the burden of paying for school much more manageable. Worrying about working enough hours to pay for rent can distract even the sturdiest of students.

“My parents do help a lot,” said civil engineering sophomore Jose Gutierrez. “I feel comfortable there (at home) and there are not as many distractions.”

According to the New York Times, even students who come from affluent families that earn $100,000 a year or more annually often choose to live with their parents.

An intangible factor is the in-home support system that only family can provide.

College is a place for learning and personal growth, but it also has its share of poor influences outside of academia.

According to an alcohol and drug survey administered by the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University, 52.4 percent of students said they believe the social atmosphere on campus promotes alcohol use. A supportive family can combat this poor influence and can keep a young student on track with his or her studies.

“I just spend more time with  family and I avoid partying with friends,” said mechanical engineering sophomore Gabriel Ortiz.  “If I hang out with friends, they might be a bad influence.”

Another thing to be considered when living at home is it requires a lot less responsibility. MSN Real Estate argues that first-time renters often underestimate the cost living on their own as well as forgetting to pay for utilities and basic household items. Living independently is an undertaking meant for the most responsible of us and frankly, many college students are not ready for that.  

“It’s a whole different experience living on your own,” said geology senior Seth Tyler. “There’s a lot more responsibility. You notice all the bills you have to keep track of.”

Living with family and also going through the emotions of personal growth at times might be seen as a nuisance, but in most occasions, it is a gift.

Relative to a person’s life as a whole, the time spent living with parents really only takes up a small portion of your life. Use the time with family wisely. When you do decide to leave you will not have to boomerang back home and risk the feeling of failure.