College is a great time – you get to
pursue a program of study that interests you taught by experts, join clubs and organizations to find like-minded people, go to concerts, sports games, and cultural festivals, live independently, and explore new ideas and perspectives through interactions with people from different backgrounds. Unfortunately, college is also an expensive time because of things like tuition fees, textbooks, general living expenses, and of course accommodation. Luckily, there are ways to navigate all these costs.
Particularly, here are some tips for paying for student accommodation.
Consider Off-Campus Housing
While on-campus accommodation is convenient in many ways – you’re closer to classes, it’s easier to make friends, on-campus security – off-campus student housing is typically the better option for students on a budget.
Primarily, off-campus housing is often in a competitive rental market, which means landlords are likely to keep prices competitive to attract tenants especially when
not located in prime locations. This is unlike on-campus accommodations that are always in high demand, especially at larger universities, that drive up the price.
There is also a wider range of housing options available off-campus, which means you have a better chance of finding a more affordable option.
Get a Job
Ideally, you should be devoting your time to your studies but the reality is that most college students have jobs to pay for things like housing.
Start by looking for on-campus jobs as they are more flexible with your class schedule. If that doesn’t work out part-time or freelance work are great options as they also often allow for more flexibility with scheduling especially if you work remotely.
You want to be proactive when looking for a job. Check job boards, network with mates who already have jobs you want, and attend career fairs to find potential job opportunities.
Research Financial Aid
Most schools, the government, and many charitable organizations try to help out students, so housing subsidies are an option.
However, these are limited, with availability and amount varying based on location, income, and other factors. You want to research available options well in advance.
- Start with your school’s financial aid office. They can give you information on not just programs the school may offer but also federal and state programs
- Contact local housing authorities for information on housing assistance programs that may be available in your area. They can even provide guidance on how to apply for these programs
- Check your eligibility with nonprofit organizations that offer housing assistance programs for students in need
- Research federal programs such as the Federal Pell Grant, and housing vouchers to see if you’re eligible and how to apply
- Look for state programs as well as many states offer housing assistance programs for low-income families and individuals
- Check with your landlord if you already have one as some landlords are willing to work with you to reduce your rent or offer other forms of assistance. It’s worth asking if they offer any housing subsidies
Paying for accommodation in college can be daunting but there are some things you can do. Consider off-campus housing, try to find a job, and research financial aid options to help you pay for your stay as you pursue an education.