DENVER (CBS4) – College costs are going up and parents are contributing less, according to a new study by Sallie Mae, the country’s largest student lender.

Parents are contributing 32 percent less for tuition over the past two years. That means students have to be creative with saving money and earning scholarships and financial aid.

More students are looking at two-year community colleges and they are living at home more than ever. Koko Olsen wants to become a high school teacher, and she’s had to teach herself ways to pay for college.

“I’m living with my parents, I do receive a federal Pell Grant; I also receive Federal Stafford Loans,” Olsen said.

Darien Winston is working two jobs and relying on financial aid to pay for his college.

“I’m tutoring some students from Saudi Arabia in their English class; about three of them. And then I work freelance as a personal trainer,” Winston said.

When young students go college shopping online, sites like can help research tuition differences. Also, fill out an application for financial aid on time. Parents’ tax returns are needed for that form.

Some private schools are more generous with money than state schools, so research all the schools of interest. Twenty-nine percent of college students are now starting at a community college to save money.

Always check the student resource center to see what grants and scholarships students are eligible for. The students CBS4 talked to say working part time is the best way to finance their tuition, even if it sometimes leaves them exhausted.

“I’m a little tired, but that comes with the territory,” Olsen said.

One student says plowing through the financial aid is more time consuming than studying for finals, but there is money out there to help, so it’s worth time to look.



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