Upon reaching the age of majority, many individuals are looking forward to college life. Being the first step towards independence, students want to experience living away from home and a kind of lifestyle away from their parents. Not to mention they will be meeting a lot of new people. Speaking of living away from home, dealing with this matter entails a lot of decision making – and money.

So which is better: living on campus or off campus?

First things first: the money. Before anything else, take into account funding scholarships and student loans that can be applied to on-campus housing since the money goes directly to the college. In many cases, money from these may not be used to pay off-campus rent. Also, if a student has 529 plans or other college savings plans, it may limit them from getting a college dormitory. In general, it limits the amount of money an individual can deploy from the 529 plans for paying housing outside the campus before it becomes subject to taxes. Yes, a student may have sufficient money living outside the school comfortably, but may not be able to use the money for that without incurring significant penalties.

Advantages of Living on Campus

  • Distance. Living in a college dormitory gives the student easy access to the campus and its facilities. Many dormitories are near to the campus, recreation centers, and campus bus stops. Going to and from classes is a breeze, hence no need to pay campus parking permits and/or bus fares.
  • Safety. For these colleges and universities, safety of their staff and students is their main concern. Schools will do everything in their power to protect them 24 hours a day and seven times a week. Safety measures are placed such as campus security, key card access to the dorm buildings, and assistants, among others.
  • Cost-effective. Since you are living within the campus confides, you are spared from paying electricity, gas, and water bills, as well as cable and internet bills. Such costs are incorporated in the rent fee. Potential cost declines since he has a roommate to share full cost of rent and/or utilities.
  • Furnitures. Every dorm has at least a bed and a desk. Most residence halls have couches, televisions, internet connection, and other basic comforts normally found at home.

Disadvantages of Living on Campus

  • Lack of amenities. Not every dorm offers a complete list of amenities. Not every dorm provides air conditioning and heat central. This is big deal for schools that are extremely hot or cold.
  • Privacy. Since some colleges match you with a random roommate, you have less control on who will be residing with you. Having a roommate is not always a good thing. Some dorms have communal bathrooms. Even if you are used to sharing bathrooms with your siblings, doing it with a complete stranger is a bit unnerving.
  • Food. Yes, many campuses cover food, which is three meals a day. But their menu is limited especially to those looking for healthy eating and special-needs diets. Therefore, students have to go to the grocery store regularly.
  • Lifestyle. College dorms impose several rules a student must follow such as curfew, visitor restrictions, and room inspections. So it is a challenge to maximize your dorm life and have fun without violating their rules and regulations.
  • Penalties. Talking about penalties, violating these rules will make you pay larger penalties than renting outside the campus. Dormitories have fees for infractions such as noise complaints. Also, if the student has to withdraw from school mid-semester, he needs to pay substantial penalties for breaching the house contract and move out immediately even if he plans to return the following semester.