If investors tracked the sales indexes for George Foreman mini grills and quick heat hot pots - staples of dorm room living - their numbers might soon show a precipitous decline. The electrical cooking tools, once vital for the sustenance of every college student, are no longer a necessity, as the rise in college tuition pushes more undergraduates to live at home.
Tori Marshall, of Asheville, NC, graduated from high school in May. Rather than go away to school, Marshall decided to live at home and commute to class at Asheville Buncombe County Technical College.
"Going to school closer to home will allow me to save money by not paying dorm fees and allow me to keep my job, which is a big incentive," Marshall said.
And she isn't alone. Families all over the country have implemented more cost-saving strategies to cut college spending in the past academic year, choosing less expensive schools and finding more economical ways for students to attend.
More students are living at home in order to help afford college, according to new survey results released Monday by Sallie Mae, the country's largest student lender.
The results show the average amount families responding to the survey spent on college declined by 5 percent in the 2011-12 school year. Parents and students alike said they made decisions about college based on the cost they can afford to pay.
"This really reflects the economic conditions that we see today," said Sarah Ducich, senior vice president at Sallie Mae. "We are seeing families make adjustments, saving more money and being more cost-conscious."
The survey, conducted for Sallie Mae by the Ipsos polling firm, was based on telephone interviews in April and May with 1,601 parents and their undergraduate students.
On average, parents spent $5,955 from their income and savings on college, results showed. That was down from $6,664 a year earlier and $8,752 two years before. They also borrowed slightly more - $1,832 compared with $1,573 in the 2010-11 survey - although that was still less than borrowing rates from two years ago.
Students took on more of the burden by digging deeper into their own funds. They spent an average of $2,555 on college from their savings and income for the 2011-12 year, up from $1,944 the previous year. But their spending wasn't enough to make up for cutbacks by their parents.
All told, parents funded 37 percent of college costs through spending or borrowing, down from 47 percent two years ago. Students accounted for 30 percent. Grants and scholarships covered 29 percent and relatives and friends paid for 4 percent, according to the survey.
Slightly more than half of the students in the survey lived at home while they attended college during the 2012-13 year, up almost 9 percent from a year ago. Families who earned more than $100,000 accounted for most of that increase.
The report also revealed a shift toward two-year colleges for a second straight year. Respondents included 29 percent who attended two-year public schools, up from 21 percent the previous year.
Ipsos pollster and managing director Clifford Young, believes families understand the value of higher education but are trying to balance the tension between schooling and their financial situations.
"American families are frustrated by the cost, but they're being creative and employing different solutions to make sure their children can get a college degree," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.