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The cost of going to college can be overwhelming. With tuition fees, textbooks, and other expenses, it’s easy to see why so many students end up in debt. However, there’s one way to save money that often gets overlooked – living on campus.
Living on campus isn’t always cheaper than living off campus, but it may save you money in the long run. Plus, it’s more convenient for getting to class and helps you become a part of the college community.
If you’re wondering how living on campus while earning your degree can help you save money, read on for the top ways.
5 ways living on campus can help you save money
Here are some of the main ways that living on campus can help you save money.
1. You won’t have any commuting costs
Transportation can be a big expense if you live off campus. You’ll have to pay for gas, parking, and other related expenses. By living on campus, you eliminate these costs altogether.
You won’t have to worry about filling up the tank every week or renting a parking spot on campus. This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a school year.
2. Meal plans may be more affordable than buying your own food
While meal plans may seem like an added expense, they could potentially save you money in the long run. Meal plans are often subsidized by the school. This means you’re paying less for them than you would at restaurants or fast food chains.
They also offer a variety of options, including healthy choices, which can save you the time and energy that goes into cooking and meal planning.
Meal plans might not always be the cheaper option compared to groceries, but they can certainly be less expensive than restaurants and take-out and offer a greater variety of healthy options.
3. You can share costs with other students
Living in the dorms generally means you don’t have to pay separately for monthly utilities, like heat or WiFi. If you can find an on-campus apartmen, you can also split these costs with roommates. This can help you save money on monthly bills and free up funds for other expenses.
4. You can easily access an on-campus job
Being on campus gives you better access to on-campus jobs. These jobs are typically close to where you live, so you won’t have to spend money on transportation to get to work.
Plus, on-campus jobs often offer flexible schedules that can work around your class schedule. This can help you earn extra money while still being able to focus on your studies.
It’s especially helpful to be close to campus if you qualify for work-study jobs.
5. You’ll be close to campus resources
Living on campus also means having easy access to resources such as the library, computer labs, and tutoring services. This can help you save money on textbooks and other materials.
Instead of buying expensive textbooks, you can borrow them from the library. Plus, tutoring services can help you avoid the cost of hiring a private tutor.
Living on-campus vs. off-campus: Which costs more in rent?
One of the biggest expenses of college life is housing. Before you sign up for a dorm room, it’s worthwhile to compare the cost with renting an apartment off campus.
How much does it cost to live in the dorms?
Dorm rooms typically charge by semester or academic year, and the price can vary depending on the type of room and the location of the campus. According to the College Board, the average cost of room and board at a four-year public university is $11,510 for the 2021-2022 academic year.
This translates to about $960 per month for housing and food.
How much does it cost to live off campus?
According to RentCafe, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the U.S. is $1,234 per month, while a two-bedroom apartment costs an average of $1,491 per month. If you share an off-campus apartment with roommates, you could potentially pay less than the cost of a dorm room.
It really all depends on where you live, though. An apartment in New York City could be a lot more expensive than living in the dorms, while an off-campus apartment in a rural or suburban area could be cheaper. Living off-campus also means you’re responsible for utilities, like heat and internet.
On the plus side, you’ll have a kitchen, so you can buy your own groceries and cook at home.
Cost of Living on Campus vs. Off Campus FAQ
Is living on campus more expensive than renting an apartment off campus?
Whether living on campus is more or less expensive than renting an off-campus apartment all depends on your location, amenities, and the size of the apartment (and the number of roommates). In some cases, living on campus can be more affordable than renting an apartment off campus and may come with a meal plan.
What are some of the expenses that are included in on-campus housing costs?
On-campus housing costs typically include rent, internet, and other amenities like gym access and laundry facilities. These expenses are usually bundled into one price, making it easier to budget and plan for living expenses.
Can living on campus save me money on transportation costs?
Yes, living on campus can save you money on transportation costs, since you’ll be living closer to your classes and other campus amenities. Not having to commute can save you time and make it easier to focus on your studies or work.
Are there any hidden costs associated with living on campus?
It’s useful to review your housing agreement to make sure you understand all the costs associated with living on campus. Some fees could include late fees, damages to the room, and the cost of replacing lost keys or access cards.
How can living on campus help me save money on food?
Many on-campus housing options offer meal plans or on-site dining options. These options can be more affordable than eating out at restaurants, but they may or may not beat grocery shopping for every meal.
What are some other ways that living on campus can save me money?
Living on campus can provide you with access to resources like tutoring, career services, and campus events. This access can save you money, since you won’t have to pay for private tutors or your own gym membership. Plus, living on campus can provide you with a sense of community and support, which can be invaluable during your college years.
It’s worth comparing both options, living on campus and off campus, to see which best suits your budget and academic and personal goals.