Young female student using a laptop while studying in her dorm roomNow that your FAFSA is complete, you’ve accepted the aid on your award letter, and made your final college decision, it is time to talk about college housing! For many students there is no decision and they are required to live on campus, for others it is something that causes a lot of stress. Let’s clear up the waters with these five things you might not know about college housing.

On-Campus = Graduation

Living on campus can give you the best chance at continuing your pursuit of a degree. Depending on what data source you trust, as many as 90% of students who live on campus return the next year for classes. I’ve seen schools report that only half of students who never live on campus get a degree. There is just something about living on campus that helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s 💵 💵 💵 but Not That Expensive

The cost of housing is always a sticking point and likely one of the largest costs you’ll see on your award letter. Want to know how expensive? We put housing costs in our College Profiles tool. It’s all relative though and when you look at living off campus it’s not that much different. For example, housing cost at the University of Lincoln right now is $11,830. Zillow.com has rental costs and the average around campus is $693 per month. To that you have to add in food and utilities. It still can be cheaper to live off campus, but the point is that it’s not as large of a difference as many think.

Missing Scholarships

Did you know that some scholarships can’t be used to fund off-campus housing? Even though the school will give you an estimated cost for living off-campus some scholarships are only for what the school charges you directly. I hear it every year from someone that they lost a scholarship or grant by making a last-minute decision to live at home or get an apartment. It’s a small percentage though, so just ask the financial aid office so you don’t have to stress.

The Landlord

Maybe your mom and dad were a pain to live with, and sharing a room sounds terrible, but if you have never had a landlord, you are in for a surprise. The rules are different and mistakes cost you money in a lost deposit. Some will rent a house instead of an apartment and some landlords will require that you maintain the lard. So much for not having to mow the yard. Consider who you are renting from when you make the decision. To that, also think about how many units are available. Some areas have seen dramatic reductions in available places to rent.

It’s All on You

There are many advantages to living on campus. One is that you don’t need to fix every little thing. Lightbulb out, call the front desk. Door off the hinges, call the front desk. On top of that, the routine maintenance is usually done on time or the school is at risk of issues more than you complaining about the heat being out. Especially if you are not a “handy” person think about how much maintenance you are willing to take on.

Hopefully, I provided some new information or gave you more to think about as you decide on housing for this fall. One bonus item before I go, consider security and adjustment. I had a friend go to school in New York and he said he would never live off campus because of the area the school is located. Consider how comfortable you are with the surrounding area and how much of an adjustment it will be. If you have never lived in a city, you might find it less stressful to live in the “small town” that is your campus.