College room and board can range from $10,440 (public university) to $11,890 (private university). That figure accounts for roughly 24-42% of average estimated yearly budgets for college undergraduates. Universities know they can charge a hefty premium for students looking for on-campus living in dorms.
What are your options when it comes to avoiding costly on-campus room and board fees? How can you avoid paying almost half your total college costs in dorm fees? Fortunately, many students have options for dorm alternatives. Here are a few:
- Become a Resident Assistant (RA): Colleges employ students (usually in the sophomore class or upperclassmen) as “resident assistants” in charge of specific dorm floors. These students usually enjoy free room and board in exchange for “policing” students and arranging educational programs for residents.
- Find a Room-share Off Campus: A low-cost alternative to living in dorms is renting a room from someone who already lives off-campus. Often the house and/or room already comes furnished, which saves on furniture and decorating costs. These homes are also often in desirable locations close to campus.
- Look for a Low-Budget Rental: If your college allows, you can cut costs by looking for a cheap apartment or rental off-campus. You can live in it alone, or save even more money by splitting your monthly costs with roommates.
- Consider Purchasing a Home: If the budget allows, you can invest in a property close to campus. You can supplement a mortgage by renting your place out during your college stay. After graduation, you can either sell the house or continue renting. Meanwhile, you’ll be building credit you can use once you’re officially off on your own.
On-campus dorms are costly and a financial burden students may have to carry years after graduation. Use these alternative options to save money for other expenses and avoid having to pay for college living expenses for years to come. Your student housing provider is here to help you find a great place to apply your savings!