Rising Student Housing Costs: What are the Options?
In addition to the rising cost of tuition and college fees, student housing costs are also rising. This makes it even harder for students to make their way through four or five years of an undergraduate degree. Although some students will be able to pay part or all of their tuition through scholarships or student loans, they will still have to face rising costs of living. Additionally, students who don’t qualify for financial aid or scholarships will be faced with these housing costs on top of their already expensive tuition. Students need to save every dollar possible so they can spend more time focusing on academics and less time on a part-time job – for more college tips, contact one of our Orange County college consultants.
1. Off-campus housing
Based on price per square foot, on-campus housing is some of the most expensive real estate in the country. That’s why more and more college students are turning to off-campus housing throughout their college career. Although students may have to share a two bedroom/one bath apartment with three other students, this will still be less crowded and offer more privacy than living in a dorm. Off-campus apartments can provide a dining and living area that will allow students to save money by making inexpensive meals at home and provide them with a quiet study area so they can complete important assignments. There are several private rental agencies, unaffiliated with universities, which provide low-cost living arrangements for full-time students. Although students will not receive amenities that non-student living would have (think gym and pool) they will have affordable living at the very least (READ: “8 Reasons Applicants Fail to Get Into the College of their Choice”).
Students who only worked during the summer in past years are now starting work-study programs on campus to afford living expenses. Students who attend college in an expensive area may be forced to add 10 to 20 hours of work into their already full study schedule. This becomes a problem for students when their work commitments affect their ability to study. However, work-study programs on campus are often more flexible than off-campus employment opportunities and can provide students with time off during finals and other exams.
3. Cost of living in general
Students who are still in high school are advised to think about the cost of living in the towns and cities surrounding the college campuses to which they are applying. For example, some universities will be located in areas where a student could have their own bedroom and bathroom for $350 a month base rent, plus their total cost of living fees (including food) to total around $600 a month. On the other hand, some areas of the country will offer off-campus student housing at a minimum of $1000 a month (before food and bills). Expenses in each region and state can vary greatly, but this is something that most 18-year-olds are not aware of. If housing costs will be an issue for a student (as it will be for most students) they should consider cost of living as a factor when it comes down to choosing which university they want to attend (READ: “College Scholarships 101: Burgers and Donuts”).
Although some students will be able to pay for part of their tuition through scholarships or financial aid, the reality is the majority of students will be paying for tuition on their own. Either way, it doesn’t help to add high student housing costs on top of already expensive tuition. Students who are looking at colleges should consider the cost of living, while students who are already attending college are encouraged to look for off-campus alternatives that may be less expensive in the long run. Students should be able to focus on their education and not have to worry too much about how they’re going to put a roof over their head.
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