Did you know room, board and personal expenses make up about half of all college costs in the U.S.? The good news is budget-savvy students can save big on student housing with just a little extra research and the decision to live off-campus. Consider this: Simply doing these five things can earn you a combined savings of $27,962 (or more!) per school year:
- Living off-campus: You can save $444-$6,132 per school year by living off campus, depending on where you’ll be living (and who you’ll be living with). According to MyCollegeGuide, students can expect to pay an average of $8,887 to live on campus at a public school, while students who share a two-bedroom apartment off campus save 5-69%. Off-campus living is often much more affordable than dorms and offers amenities not found on campus.
- Getting a roommate: Splitting food and rental costs with a roommate—or, better yet, several roommates—can significantly lower your student housing costs. Considering the median rental price for a two-bedroom apartment in New York City is $2,480 per month, you can save up to $11,160 per school year on rent by having even one roommate. If you don’t already have a roommate in mind, rooms for rent in homes are often cheaper than other rentals (and include furnishings).
- Applying for a financial grant: Many financial grants and scholarships cover off-campus housing. According to the most recent National Center for Education Statistics figures, students receive an average yearly grant of $9,670. This would cover some (if not all) of your out-of-pocket student housing costs, so its definitely worth looking into.
- Hunting for a home early: International and long-distance students who wait to search for an apartment or home rental risk limited options and hundreds of dollars in short-term housing costs (such as renting a hotel or AirBnb). With average hotel prices in the U.S. hovering around $137/night, you can save almost $1,000 for every week you don’t have to house hunt. Trusted websites geared toward international students, like com, can make searching overseas a lot easier!
- Price-comparing online: Websites like com and real estate apps like Trulia and Zillow share information about available rentals in your desired location. The advantage of this is you can easily search properties based on rental type, price, location and amenities. Using these tools, you can narrow your focus to the most affordable student housing in your area.
The thousands of dollars you save can be used for traveling, applied toward tuition or tucked away for a rainy day. Instead of wasting money unnecessarily on your living space, spend it on what really matters: Your college experience!