There is no denying that college tuition fees in America are high. There is a reason Americans have $1.7 trillion in student loans.
That is unlikely to change any time soon and if you want to go to college, you have to get a loan or find another way to pay, unless you get a scholarship.
But tuition fees are not all you will be paying. You will have to buy textbooks, at the very least. If you are attending a college in a different state from your family, you will need to find somewhere to stay.
College accommodation is expensive. At Ohio State University, accommodation and dining together come to over $13,000 a year. At the University of Cincinnati, you will be paying only slightly less.
Are these numbers as exorbitant as they sound? Is it worth paying for college accommodation rather than finding somewhere else to stay?
The Perks of College Accommodation in Ohio
There are obvious perks to staying in college accommodation. You won’t have to find transport to get to campus. You have the full college experience, meeting new and exciting people. Responsibilities like utilities and cleaning are taken care of for you.
You will also benefit from campus security, and some studies indicate that staying on campus might help you get better grades.
Furthermore, if you break down the numbers, college accommodation is not that expensive. At the University of Cincinnati, for example, $7,000 of the $12,000 you pay is for room and board. That comes to around $770 a month over 9 months.
A one-bedroom apartment in Ohio goes for an average of $633 a month, and that does not include utilities and other bills.
The approximately $4,500 a month that goes towards meals comes to $500 a month over 9 months. Those are meals that are prepared for you so that you don’t have to shop for groceries or spend time learning to cook.
But does it really compare to renting your own place? Let’s look at why renting your own place may be cheaper.
Cost of Rent in Ohio
As we mentioned, a one-bedroom in Ohio goes for an average of $633 a month. Compared to the $770 you would pay for campus accommodation, that doesn’t sound so cheap.
However, in college, you are paying for a dorm room you likely share with at least one other person. If you were to share your one-bedroom apartment, you would only pay $316.50 a month.
If that sounds too cramped, a two-bedroom in Ohio goes for an average of $797 a month. Share it, and you will pay just $398.50 a month.
Admittedly, you will still be paying for utilities. But those bills will bring you nowhere close to $770, even in the months when you use the most electricity.
You do also have to consider the cost of Ohio renters insurance. When you stay on campus, you may be covered by the college’s insurance. But when you rent a place, you need to insure your own possessions.
Without renters insurance, theft or damages can leave you with nothing. Renters insurance can also cover personal liability, which is extremely helpful if you accidentally cause harm to someone else.
That said, renters insurance in Ohio will cost you, at most, $15 a month. It will not break the bank and you will still be paying far less than you would for campus accommodation.
Cost of Living in Ohio
The average single adult in Ohio pays around $3,000 for food every year. That amounts to $250 per month. That is half the $500 per month you would be paying on campus! You would have to make your own meals, of course.
Even so, you can spend a fair amount on takeout when you don’t feel like cooking and still spend less than $500 a month.
That said, your meals are unlikely to be as balanced and nutritional as the meals in a college dining plan.
Staying on campus is indeed expensive. You can save a lot if you rent your own accommodation, especially if you find roommates to rent with.
However, you may miss out on some of the quintessential college experiences, and you will have some extra responsibilities on your hands.