Paying for College

Cheaper Spring Breaks

I started a thread on the Parents board of the College Confidential discussion forum entitled Spring Break Destinations? that generated a lot of response. My purpose was to get parents' reports about where their college students were (or were not) going on spring break. There were some interesting responses, such as, " 'Re: How about home? I don't get this whole Spring Break craze. If my kids have extra money that they could spend on Spring break then they could help to pay off some of their college expenses now...' Agree 100%. I wonder how many of these kids taking spring break vacations are the same ones receiving need-based aid? Just of hands, please."

The issue here is the economic hardships being faced by American families who have kids in college. One of the more passionate forum responses that speaks to these stresses states, "I'm with the folks who don't get the Spring Break thing. We parents can't afford to take off work to go on a spring break, but our kids do, with "their" money, ie, the money they have because we don't charge them for their phones/tuition/whatever? My kids wouldn't even ask. They know better. And when I was a college student, my folks would have told me that I had some nerve thinking I'd go off to some beach rather than come home and spend time with the family who has sacrificed their whole lives so that I could go to college. With some exceptions of course, this whole spring break party scene smacks of over-indulged, entitled children."

I received a press release this past week that cites a survey, which reports a surprisingly low number of college students flying to distant spring break locations. Take a look. You may be surprised.

“Spring Broke":

Campus Dibs Research Reveals Only Six Percent of College

Students Plan to Fly to a Destination Location for Spring Break

In stark contrast to the traditional spring break spent partying on a faraway beach, data shows 94% of college students are opting for inexpensive alternatives

Contrary to the traditional spring break where tens of thousands of college students convene to party on sandy beaches or snowy mountains, research conducted by Campus Dibs (, a leading social commerce website connecting the campus community with deep discounts, indicates the college demographic is opting for cheaper alternatives. Among college students recently polled about their spring break plans, only six percent indicated that they are flying to a destination location to party, while 94 percent of students plan to spend their week off from school in other ways.

“Despite the iconic vision of MTV Spring Break, these findings show that the majority of college students are opting for cost-effective alternatives," explains Garren Givens, co-founder and CEO of Campus Dibs. “While the underlying reasons for this behavioral shift are unknown, this cost-conscious outlook for vacation planning aligns with a larger cultural tendency toward frugality."

Among the cheaper alternatives reported, hanging out around campus (42%), visiting parents (23%) and taking a road trip (22%) are found to be the most popular plans for fun on a budget.

* Hanging out around campus. Often referred to as a “staycation," many frugal college students are opting to spend their vacation on campus and hang out with friends locally. This also included those who were planning to work, stick around for athletic obligations, study and other homebound activities.

* Going home to visit parents. “Well…if they'll foot the food bill!" Visiting parents is often the most cost-effective way to travel, as there are generally no costs associated with room and board or meals.

* Taking a road trip. Even with gas prices on the rise, road trips often represent a more cost-effective means for getting away from campus. More than one in five students is ready to stock up on junk food, load up their iPod and hit the open road.

“Whether its due to the rising cost of tuition and textbooks or a general inclination towards financial responsibility, today's students are in tune with how to save money and putting that knowledge to use," adds Givens. “Bottom line: you can have a good time without spending too much money….our nation's college students are telling us so."


Is your college student spring broke? Let us know what your family plans include for spring break. Anyone heading to Mexico?


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.