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Money Saving Housing Tips For College Students

Money Saving Housing Tips For College Students

The skyrocketing cost of tuition and fees get all the attention, but they are not the only cost associated with higher education. Scholarships, grants and other financial aid can greatly reduce the amount a student actually pays, but what about the cost of housing? Housing is a generally a student’s biggest expense outside of tuition. While many college students drastically reduce discretionary spending, a place to live is a requirement. Here’s how really smart college students (and sometimes their parents) pay for housing.

If parents will pitch in, or if you have friends or siblings attending the same school, buying a house near the campus can be a great investment. You live there for free and rent out extra rooms to cover the mortgage payment. You also get hands-on experience in home ownership, maintenance and repair. After graduation you can sell the house or keep it up as a rental property for other students wishing to live on campus while attending college.

how to save money on housing for college studentsConsider living with relatives or friends in the area, if possible. You’ll have the comforts of home, familiar faces every day and a quieter place to study than the average dorm or apartment. This works best if the house is near campus or if you have your own transportation available on a daily basis.

Even renting an apartment can be much more affordable than you might think. It will be a constant expense for four years, so it pays off to shop around. Doing your research online can help you narrow the search to a few options with the best value, so you don’t waste your time scheduling a walkthrough of every apartment in the area. Subletting an apartment can be a great deal as well. A person who signed a contract to pay rent and then needs to move will often cover part of the rent rather than let their room sit empty and pay the entire rent alone.

Several sites help you search apartments by location, size and price, such as Sublet.com and Apartments.com. Sometimes more personable methods of communication will help you find a place. Try checking bulletin boards around campus, craigslist or social media sites to rent, sublet or find a roommate. A roommate arrangement reduces cost for all parties by splitting rent and sharing the cost of utilities.

If you would rather live in university housing, consider becoming a Residential Advisor (RA). As an RA you are responsible for enforcing dormitory rules, coordinating activities, mediating conflicts and acting as a liaison between students and housing staff. Compensation varies by school, most commonly free or reduced price housing, free or reduced price meals, monthly stipends, tuition remission or some combination of these benefits. The position requires communication skills and a lot of responsibility, but the monetary and intangible benefits really pay off.

Your dorm room or apartment will be your other home for your college years. If you scout out the best prices or consider options outside of the usual, you can be home sweet home at the right price.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Southwest Direct Mortgage August 23, 2012, 8:46 pm

    These are great tips for college students. When I was in college, I lived with two other friends, which brought our payment down to 300 each. It’s really worth living with others, and subletting in the summer, so you don’t have to pay for a rent or mortgage when you aren’t even living there. Thanks for sharing such awesome tips.

  • FirstBaby2011 September 1, 2012, 10:48 pm

    I stayed close to home while I went to college, so this saved me a good amount of money on tuition and housing expenses. I am thankful to have been able to stay with my parents while I earned my degree. I have no student loan debt and it feels great!

  • BloggerMB September 26, 2012, 9:29 pm

    I really hope you make more of these blog posts for students. As a student myself it is always nice to read this little tips, which seem obvious sometimes, but can really make the difference over time.

    Living with friends is something I decided to do this year and it has saved me a huge amount of money. It can be difficult to approach people you know and ask to stay with them, but it’s worth doing if you want some help not being dragged down by your student loans.

    Keep up the good work!

  • GSBryce November 28, 2012, 1:51 pm

    No matter how much of an adjustment it may be, the smart choice is to live with a group of reliable friends. College housing is so expensive and if you don’t have a scholarship or aid to cover the costs, it honestly not worth it. I am an advocate for online classes and community college to atleast get your basics out of the way. Those first couple of years you could be living with a relative and saving money to put towards a place of your own.

  • cefmac July 11, 2013, 5:44 am

    This is some great advice. I’m just finished my first year at university and I’m moving into a new apartment with an old school friend in September. It took us ages to find the ideal place, not out of pickiness, but simply because we wanted the best deal and somewhere convenient to campus. We eventually found a lovely little apartment for as little as £630 a month (so only £315 each per months, excluding bills!) by contacting private landlords who weren’t affiliated with a letting agency. I don’t know about how it works in the US, but here in the UK, I would definitely say that’s something you should look out for – letting agency properties seem to be a bit more expensive and they go very quickly, so if you find an apartment you like, there’s very little chance of snapping it up unless you’re quick!


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