TYLER, TX (KLTV) - High schools across the country are reporting that more and more of their graduating seniors are choosing the cheaper option when deciding on which college to attend. That's according to a recent study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
But, staying closer to home for college might be the best option.
John Tyler High School's Stefania Aldana graduated salutatorian, Hien Nguyen valedictorian. Nguyen will attend U.T. Tyler in the fall, saying she never even considered applying for out-of-state schools.
"We don't have that kind of money and since I have a college here in town like five minutes down from my house with my major," said Hien. "Why not go there and save money?"
Hien's mother said paying out-of-state tuition would have put the family in a financial bind.
"We have one income," said Hoa Nguyen. "And, with five kids and one income you have to do a lot of budgeting and that's the first thing."
Stefania says she considered U.T. Tyler, but, her father is a brick layer and she says these days it's been tough for him to find work.
"They've always supported me," said Stefania. "They said if you want to go out of state or out of city that its fine. But, I do feel like I want to stay and help them, so I decided to on TJC."
The NACAC also said the bleak economy is the main reason student's are opting for public colleges rather than private.
"When they saw their own revenue - their own savings drop 30 - 40 percent in the last couple of years - they started transmitting to junior that it's going to be really hard," explained John Boshoven.
Full-time out-of-state undergrads at Oklahoma University pay more than $17,000 in tuition. By comparison, a year at U.T. Tyler costs less than $6,000, and you can live at home. Director of admissions, Sarah Bowdin says U.T. Tyler has seen a 5-percent increase in applicants.
"80 percent of students attend colleges within a 200 miles radius of their homes," said Bowdin.
And, in the case of Hien and Stefania, closer to home works.
U.T. Tyler says they are still accepting applications for the fall semester. They have also extended their scholarship deadline to June 15th.