Mythbusters: Is it cheaper to live off campus
The short answer is “NO”, but we want to break down in detail why living on campus is a good economic decision. For all of these comparisons, we will be comparing living on campus in a traditional residence hall with a meal plan to living off campus in a two bedroom apartment with a roommate.
The first thing that needs to be kept in mind is that when you chose to live on campus is that your contract is for the academic year. When you live off campus you are locked into a 12 month, full year lease, so if you are a student who likes to go home for the summer, you could end up paying for a space you do not use. Also, when looking at payments it is important to keep in mind that when you live on campus you pay a set, fixed rate and payment is not dependent on a roommate coming up with their half.
There are a lot of things that we offer on campus that are not included off campus. When you contract for a traditional residence hall with a meal plan, you will have your meal plan, your bedroom and private bathroom; all utility costs are figured in and will not rise mid-year, plus HD cable and wireless internet and trash pick-up. While living on campus you can enjoy having a Resident Assistant, whose job is to be a resource to you, safety and security in the form of great Public Safety officers, and no wasted time on commuting to and from class.
All of those awesome things are usually not included in your rent for an apartment complex, creating a whole list of monthly bills that will burden a student. Also, if one of the roommates has something happen and they cannot pay their half of the rent or other bills, then that puts an extra burden on the other roommate to pay it all so things don’t get shut off and credit scores are not wrecked.
So how do all those bills add up? Well, it first depends on what is included in the rent payment? Is water included? Or Electric? How is the complex heated and cooled? All of these things factor into how much your rent is and how many other outside bills you will have. Secondly, you will have to get internet and if you want cable that will have to be brought in too. And on top of that you will have to factor in grocery costs and gas for traveling to and from campus and everywhere else you need to go.
Basically, if you add up all the bills you would be paying monthly for the 12 months that you would be locked into your lease for an off campus apartment, you could be paying anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 more than a student that lives on campus. Plus living on campus has so many more opportunities and conveniences that are incredible beneficial to a university student.