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COLUMBIA- According to a top student loan provider, college students can save money living at home.  A lot of money.

College students who decide to stay home versus living in a dorm will save a family about $6,000 a year. An in-state Missouri student will save about $10,000 a year by deciding to live at home with their parents while attending MU.

Destiny Albritton has been living in Columbia all her life. She graduated from Hickman High School in 2011. She didn't have aspirations of attending college, partly because tuition was so high.  "I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I wasn't too sure on what my next step was going to be entering my senior year of high school but I knew I wasn't going to be able to afford dorm life, not if I wanted to graduate college without debt up to my eyeballs."  Now the part time JC Penny employee is saving her family $10,000 "not" living in a MU dorm.

"If I want to go to grad school or law school somewhere else, if I need to accumulate a large amount of debt I can do it when it's actually important. When we are in that critical time but not for my undergraduate degree. I rather just live at home and save money for food, rent, and all that great stuff and graduate debt free."

A growing number of students who attend college are deciding to live at home with their parents. "How America Pays for College 2012," the fifth annual report from student loan provider Sallie Mae, found that 51 percent of college students lived with their parents in the 2011-12 school year. That's 43 percent higher than two years ago.

Financial Success Director, Ryan Law, notices this trend to be true. Although there has not been a MU-specific study, he has noticed students are deciding to live at home while attending college versus staying in a dorm.

"Students are deciding to live at home to save money," said Law. "If they can save $10,000 (a year) they are going to be saving a lot while going to school so that's why most students are choosing to live at home."

Albritton says it was mainly her, and not her parents that came up with the idea to live at home while attending college.

"Choice was initially mine to stay home but parental influence always has a lot to do with the decision making."

Albritton is saving a lot of money by staying with her parents. She was awarded two grants, which has cut her tuition cost, by more than half. She says she only owes the university $2,000 this semester.

"I do have student loans available to me that I was awarded through financial aid but if I can just work my part time job at the mall and pay it off and just work toward that there is no reason for me to take out student loans right now."

Some argue that if students live at home, they miss out on opportunities on-campus.  Albritton says when she first set foot on campus she realized a lot of friendships were formed because students had made connections by living in residence halls.  The sophomores started joining on campus organizations and even forming one of her own called "Christians United for Israel."

"Once I started making the campus smaller for myself I didn't feel like I was missing out as much."

Destiny says she would not change her mind about living at home while attending college. Her room is way bigger than a dorm. Only has to share a bathroom with 3 other people. She does not envy the dorm life.

"For right now it doesn't make sense for me to move out on my own." She knows she has to grow up some time. "Right now it makes sense economically."

Tuition for a Missouri resident who attends the University of Missouri will cost an estimated $22,296. For a non- Missouri resident tuition is set at an estimated $35,464.

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