Leaving the Nest

 Alex is an advocate for home safety training and co-founder of the National Kids Construction Club. A freelance journalist, look for his upcoming book on how to establish a successful fraternity. Alex can be reached on Facebook at Alex J. Boughton.

Alex is an advocate for home safety training and co-founder of the National Kids Construction Club. A freelance journalist, look for his upcoming book on how to establish a successful fraternity. Alex can be reached on Facebook at Alex J. Boughton.

by Alex Boughton

While attending college in Washington D.C., I noticed a large portion of my fellow undergrads were from out-of-state like myself. It wasn’t surprising given D.C.’s transient nature. However, when I dug into recent statistics about out-of-state versus in-state college goers, it’s a trend seen all around the country. Over the last several years, state and publicly-funded schools and colleges have increasingly added more non-resident students to their ranks. There are many reasons for this changing admissions policy, but the overriding decision to shift to non-residents seems clear. It remains a great way for schools to add to their revenue streams as a consequence of less state funding; and as a result, public universities are no longer primarily dominated by in-state residents. Interestingly, private universities do so for roughly the same reasons, but also as an end result of increased demand from out-of-state applicants.

 What do these findings mean for families and especially for parents who have become empty nesters? As a result of this growing movement, these college men and women probably won’t get to see their families as often. What’s also interesting is how this not only affects the number of students not living at home, but also the living conditions of parents whose children may never return home after completing college.

Another trend breaking with family traditions of the past: the push by colleges and universities to have students study or intern in a foreign country. How many students will opt to study abroad and then stay or return abroad permanently for a job? Prior to this expanding student exodus it was commonplace for in-state college students to remain at home and/or to continue to live at home after college. This gave their home-owner parents a reason to stay in a larger abode.

Since this is no longer the case for some, parents are faced with a conflict. Do they downsize their home or stay in their current one while their son or daughter finishes college? This kind of dilemma is one of several affecting the housing market. What size home should the empty nester downsize to? How will the family dynamics of the home change? Having children stay home-based plays an active role in the home’s use and maintenance.

 Have you noticed this kind of change to yourself or neighbors? If so, you are not alone. Many other families around the country face this kind of change. What’s interesting and hard to understand: Are these deviations a direct result of an increase in the annual income of homeowners? Have universities purposely increased their quota and acceptance rates for out-of-state residents?

Out-of-state college students are altering housing trends as they leave their family’s nest. Time will tell if this leaning will continue. The housing market, facing increased demand and a stronger economy, lays the perfect foundation for homeowners looking to sell or downsize. I left my family and friends for D.C. seeking a better educational experience and job in 2011 and I never returned to the nest!