Paying for Off-campus Housing

Paying for housing if you're staying off-campus would another problem that you must think about. In this article, learn about paying easily for your housing if you're staying off-campus.

Updated by Sreelekha R K on 23rd March 2020

If you are deciding to stay off-campus, then you will have to think of different ways to pay for it. And, we are here to provide you with a few suggestions so that you can pay for existence and also essential information you will have to know if you have decided to stay off-campus.


Which is cheaper: Off-Campus or On-Campus Living?

It depends.

If you are planning to live off-campus, it is important to make sure that your college on-campus living expense does not cost less than your off-campus housing or else it would be better to live on the campus itself.

Communicate with the housing office in your college or school to know more about its charges and alternatives. Then make a note of comparison and analyze which is more affordable and further make the right decision based on your economic condition. 

It clearly depends on the place you decide to stay and also your college. For instance, in cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles, the rents will be super high, it may be more affordable to pay for a dorm room or an apartment (which can be shared if you are still facing problem with paying for it), but in cities and towns with cheaper housing, it is considered to be worth staying off-campus housing.


Options you Can Consider to Pay for Off-Campus Housing

Financial Aid

You all may be wondering if the financial aid (if you have received any) can be used for paying for housing and the answer is yes, you can.

Communicate with your institution’s financial aid office to discuss how living off-campus could influence your aid. According to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, abbreviated as FAFSA, you can use the aid you have been provided to pay for the cost of attending a college of higher education, including room and board, and also off-campus housing.

When you fill out your FAFSA, you can inform about your plan of staying off-campus as it will help the college determine the amount of compensation you should receive in total. Your financial aid budget will be calculated to include a standard cost to live off-campus. 

Student Loan

It is good news for all those students who are wondering if paying for housing is a part of student loans as the answer is yes but remember these loans are to be repaid once you start earning, so do not take it for granted. Use it unless it is very much required. You are allowed to make use of it from either a federal student loan or a private loan by considering housing is a part of the cost of attendance, it satisfies as a valid expense. 

When you realize that you will have to take a private student loan to pay for tuition, housing, or any other expenses related to your education, be careful on the interest rates that is inculcated when you have to repay them as when contrasted to federal loans, the interest rates of this very high. So be considerate about the type of house and living you choose.

You do not have to find a great wealthy apartment and end up not being able to pay for it instead, find a small yet comfortable house so that you can live peacefully. Be conscious while choosing a house in the aspects of affordability and according to your planning.  

Student Co-Ops

If your school’s financial aid office can’t give you assistance on how to pay for college housing, it could at least lead you in the path of affordable off-campus options. There will be a notice board to give you a number of pieces of information about anything you are in search of. 

Although, student housing co-ops maybe somewhere nearby your location. These are based on community and are managed by members of the committee properties. The preservations with a student housing co-op can be notable. 

529 Plan

It is a plan that involves tax-advantaged investment vehicles in the U.S. designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary.

Students who have made a decision to live in a house or apartment off-campus can make use of the education funds to pay their rent and living expenses. But to qualify for living expenses while you opt for off-campus, they are not supposed to exceed the amount charged if the student lived on campus. 

For example, a university-owned housing at your school is $900 per month. That means $900 is the amount of 529 money considered a qualified living expense for off-campus housing. It will also be up to the student to keep receipts for food and rent, to prove that 529 withdrawals were used for satisfying living expenses.

College Resources

In the standard college award letter, the school will estimate the cost of living (COL) as part of its overall cost of attendance. You can negotiate with respect to the financial aid that has been awarded to you with the help of your institution’s authority. There are chances of these estimates were too high and you do not require so much for it and you can make use of it for your good purpose.  

Housing grants are specifically designed to help students pay for the cost of room and board. There are different types of grants and scholarships that are more concerned with helping students pay for their living and cost involving meals and boards.

Find a Roommate

Sharing is not only caring, but it also helps you in paying the rent for a house in this case. It is always a good idea to share the apartment with a person so that you can share rent and all the other expenses that are related to the house. 

Once you decide to stay in a room or apartment, make sure the location and other maintenance are according to your requirement. When it comes to a roommate, find the one who is suitable and flexible for you. You can look for one such in person (friends) or there is an option for you to do it online. There are many such portals to help you find a mate suitable for you. 

You can also look out the Student Housing Guide in order to know about the types and other details of both on-campus and off-campus living.