Did you know that the average cost of room and board for colleges in the United States is over $11,000 a year? That is just for public colleges too, as that average increases by $1,500 a year for private universities.
If you are paying for your own tuition, you may have realized just how expensive living on campus was for you as a freshman. Now, to prepare for college as a sophomore, you may be taking a closer look at this expense.
Should you live on or off campus for college? Let’s take a look.
Living at Home
If you live within driving distance from your university, you may consider commuting and living at home. This is an option but the downside is that you are giving up the social benefits of college in all likelihood by not living closer to campus.
However, this is not necessarily a free option. You have to consider the possible gas and tolls costs of commuting to your school multiple times a week.
In Maryland for example, the average gas price at the time of writing is $3.37 per gallon. So, it could cost you $50 to fill up your car and it might be something that you have to do every two weeks, so that is $100 per month.
That most likely makes it $800 for the year, plus a parking pass which can cost a few hundred dollars per year.
So, let’s say this is over $1,000. Yes, it is the cheapest option on the board in all likelihood, but what if you wanted the benefits of college independence without being subjected to the college’s on-campus living expenses?
Living Near Campus
A lot of universities are near residential neighborhoods that have apartments or houses available for rent. So, you can live near campus and potentially receive benefits from doing so.
The above university requires you to live on campus for the first two years, so once you survive your sophomore year of college, you can explore options that are near campus.
Then, you can find options in the area for as low as $350 per month rent. Plus, you might be able to make your schedule more friendly for your parking pass, as an evening one on that campus costs just $35 rather than $110 for the main permit.
So, let’s say you have to rent for a year and you get a price as low as $350. Assuming you get your deposit back, that is $4,200 for the year. Even if you double that and rent a place for $700 a month, that is still cheaper than the average cost of room and board by $3,000-4,000.
Plus, those options are within a mile or two of the campus, so it usually takes no time at all to get there. With that in mind, you may not end up needing a parking permit at all if you get a place close enough.
Save on College Tuition
It is no secret that college costs a lot of money, so you want to find opportunities to save, especially with student loans. Living near campus rather than on campus can potentially save you a few thousand dollars per year, and even for just 2-3 years, that is still five figures in your pocket.
For more related articles, see our Education section.