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Stay home or hit the road: Choosing a college

There are significant financial implications when it comes to choosing a college. One factor with substantial impact on the cost of college is whether to commute from home, attend a local college or go long distance (more than a few hours driving distance).

When parents and their students are choosing a college, the choice between close or far will be quite important, especially with regard to what you can expect to pay in terms of moving costs back and forth each year and travel during school breaks, in addition to tuition, room and board, meal plans and the like. When a student stays home, the family will end up paying less.

Students who stay at home with their parents can save substantially on the cost of college. Students who stay at home with their parents can save substantially on the cost of college.

Savings for students who stay at home for college
In terms of finding ways to save money, many students decide, along with their families, that it is best to stay local for college. One reason is the significant cost of room and board. A dorm room can cost up to $10,000 per year, according to Campus Explorer. A student who stays home for four years could save his or her family $40,000 through four years by living at home while attending college. Families should also factor in the cost of travel. A student who moves far away to attend college will most likely end up paying for trips home and back to school several times a year.

There's also in-state tuition savings. Students who choose to go to public colleges within their home states may receive significant discounts. In terms of public universities alone, the average cost for staying in-state is about $15,000, as opposed to heading out-of-state which carries a price tag closer to $25,000, Campus Explorer noted. Private universities, meanwhile, typically cost north of $30,000 and in many cases in excess of $50,000 or $60,000!

Other ways to save money and reduce the cost of college
Other than deciding between moving far away or staying close to or at home for college, there are plenty of ways for families to maximize your savings and identify funding resources. A Smart TrackTM college funding coach can help parents determine various ways that they can reduce their out-of-pocket college payments. In addition, these college funding experts can help families identify need-based aid, scholarships and borrowing strategies that could help you reduce the cost of college even more. Speak with a Smart TrackTM college funding coach to learn more about how you can put together a crystal clear college funding plan.