Brought to You by our Partners at College Ave Student Loans
You’re getting ready to embark on an exciting new journey: moving away for college. This often comes with a big decision, and you should keep the financial pieces in mind – how do the expenses of living on campus compare to off-campus living? There’s no easy, straightforward answer to this until you explore and compare all of the available options in the town you’re moving to.
Our partners at College Ave Student Loans pulled together a list of things to keep in mind as you make your decision:
1. Renting an apartment vs. staying in a dorm.
It can be difficult to determine immediately whether dorm room costs or apartment rent would be higher because this really varies from one city to the next. In some cases, it can be difficult to find a nearby apartment that comes close to the prices that are offered at on-campus dorm rooms. On the other hand, many college students find that dorm rooms cost about the same as, or even more than, nearby private apartments. You’ll need to compare these costs in the town you’ll be moving to but also take other things in consideration, too. For example, if a dorm room costs the same or more, but saves you a long daily commute to class, the convenience could be worth it. A potential compromise: some schools offer off-campus housing in traditional apartment buildings that are just minutes away and with special student pricing.
A dorm room might be a lot smaller than a traditional apartment, but that also comes with some advantages. For instance, furnishing a dorm room is usually pretty simple (and the basics are supplied for you), but furnishing an entire apartment can take a lot more work and money.
Those who live on campus often take advantage of meal plans, which can provide set daily meals for a flat fee. This not only helps you to budget better because of the fixed price but also saves a lot of money as well. However, the value of a meal plan often depends on your eating habits. You’ll want to explore the meal plans that your school offers to see if they make sense for you and if they would help you to save money. For instance, if you planned on cooking all or most of your meals in your own apartment, opting for a meal plan and living on campus might cost you a lot more money rather than help you save.