Trying to decide whether to live on or off-campus next year?

Choices for off-campus living are varied and can be intoxicating.

Keep the following in mind as you weigh the pros and cons for living on and off campus.
We invite and hope that you choose to STAY on campus, but – whatever you decide – do your research!

DEPOSITS:   MAY OR MAY NOT BE REFUNDABLE. Students will pay more if one roommate chooses to have a pet. Ultimate cost will depend upon the condition that the apartment is left in. N/A FOR ON-CAMPUS. THERE ARE NO DEPOSITS REQUIRED FOR RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS. 

FIRST AND LAST MONTH’S RENT:   GENERALLY AN UP-FRONT, LUMP-SUM EXPENSE. Can run anywhere from $1200 to $2400 – a hefty chunk of change to come up with at once. CAN YOU AFFORD IT? N/A FOR ON-CAMPUS. RESIDENTS ARE CHARGED ONLY FOR THE TERM THAT THEY ARE CURRENTLY LIVING ON CAMPUS – Which works out well for quarterly financial aid disbursements!

BTW:  The academic year is only 9 months – and that is how much “rent” you will be paying if you live ON campus. For many  off campus residents a YEARLY LEASE IS REQUIRED – which means that you WILL be paying rent for a full 12 months even if you will ONLY be living there for the 9 months of the academic school year – NOT a great value.

MONTHLY UTILITIES:   $120 or less per month. Will vary seasonally, and will depend upon not only YOUR usage and habits but your ROOMMATE’S USAGE AND HABITS AS WELL. Keep in mind, poorly insulated and/or older apartments will not be as energy efficient and possibly more expensive to heat/cool. N/A FOR ON-CAMPUS. COLD? TURN UP THE HEAT – WITH NO EXTRA LARGE UTILITY BILL WHEN YOU LIVE ON CAMPUS!

HIGH SPEED INTERNET:   You can find this included in rent sometimes – speed and reliability may not match the wireless system available and included for on-campus residents. If not included with your rent, add a minimum of $41 per month – more depending upon your personal needs/desires.  Campus residents pay no additional charge for wireless high-speed service and BENEFIT FROM IN-HOUSE TECH SUPPORT AS WELL.

GOT A VIRUS ON YOUR COMPUTER? PRINTER WON’T PRINT? NO PROBLEM FOR RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS – HELP – with both hard and software is ALWAYS available from Residential Computing – but ONLY when you live on campus.

FOOD COSTS:   This will vary widely depending upon your eating habits, shopping preferences and nutritional requirements. FACTOR IN: COST of food, TIME required for purchase and preparation of food, and the QUALITY of the food you will be eating. (Think Top Ramen vs. the balanced and varied meal options as well as nutritional guidance available to on-campus residents).

Finally DISHES. They need to be washed, dried and put away – every day. It all takes TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY  – and the ability to work with roommates. Ask yourself this:  Are you willing to be THE ONE who does the dishes all the time because your roommate could care less if the dishes are done or not.  CAN YOU HANDLE THAT? 

Campus residents with meal plans pay no additional charge for their meals and have virtually NO DISHES TO DO. Students opting to live in the Arbor Park complex have the added benefit of having a full-sized kitchen in each unit so they have the OPTION of preparing their own meals. They can carry a meal plan if they wish as a “back-up” plan. It serves as a great learning experience and a transition between living in first-year halls and living off-campus. 

CLEANING:   MOST off-campus students will NOT be hiring maid service and will have to SPEND TIME and MONEY to clean their bathrooms, kitchens, apartments/homes. They will also need to work out schedules and be accepting of the cleaning habits (or lack thereof) of their roommates. IT CAN GET OLD.

Is your personality one that will allow you to be comfortable with constantly confronting your roommate about the dirty dishes in the sink – or their clothes and shoes scattered throughout the apartment? Are you willing to – CAN YOU AFFORD TO – lose that cleaning deposit as a result of your roommate’s slovenly habits? 

With the exception of damage/cleaning charges placed on student accounts as the result of behavior beyond “normal wear and tear”, students living in Barnum, Landers, Heritage and Ackerman pay no additional charge to have their bathrooms cleaned for them on a regular basis. Arbor Park, again serves as a transition from first-year halls to living off-campus.

WHAT IF?    What if that roommate moves out? Can you cover the full rent? What if you WANT that roommate to move out and they WON’T – WHAT THEN? What if you signed a full-year’s lease and want to relocate before year’s end? Can you afford to do that? (Lose your deposit AND cover RENT in your old place PLUS new deposits AND first/last on a new apartment?)  Campus residents face these situations as well, but by living on-campus, you have:

  1. A contract to protect you.
  2. The ability to request and MAKE a room change.
  3. Staff to help you with roommate conflict resolution and  . . .
  4. A petition process is available to you in the event you are unhappy with any decision regarding your campus living situation. 

LIVING ALONE:   Isolation can take it’s toll. You might be OVER living with a roommate in the residence halls, but often students who move off-campus and live by themselves can find it a pretty isolated existence. Know yourself, and ask these questions:

  • Are you comfortable eating meals by yourself?
  • What about evenings and weekends – do you have a group of supportive friends or relatives that you can rely on as you transition from one living experience to another? 
  • Can you AFFORD it?

Housing Renewal

PLEASE NOTE:  University Housing does not endorse any resources listed, and assumes no responsibility for any incidents that may arise from the use of the information included in, and linked to within this document. 



University Housing

(503) 838-8311 | or e-mail:  | Location: Ground floor of Ackerman Hall

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