2 years ago
Paying for College

Housing Expenses and Jobs

Hello! I'm currently a 17-year-old high-school senior in high school. I will be going to college next year, and one of my biggest worries is that I won't be able to pay for on-campus housing. I've heard that it's the largest bulk of the tuition and I'm not sure I'll have enough to cover it. I'll be turning 18 next week, is there anything I can do to maximize my finances, specifically as an 18-year old? For example, are there any jobs I can do, or accounts I can open up to help save money? Finally, is out-of-campus housing a better idea, or will it depend on location?

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago

I know that the costs of college seem large now, but have no fear! Let's walk through the expenses and how you can cover them.

The cost of quality on-campus or off-campus housing will generally be between $800-1,600 per month, plus $100-150 for utilities. This figure may seem daunting now, but that is only because you are spending the majority of your day studying.

Income from work can stack up quickly - for example, if you spent 25 hours per week working at $12/hr, you would earn $1,200 per month, enough to pay for your rent and other necessary expenses. Increase the hourly rate, and that same 25 hours per week could generate much more income and potentially create savings. Working 25 hours per week would still leave you with enough time for studying and socializing, albeit you would be quite busy.

As you can see, paying for housing is completely feasible even with jobs that do not pay top hourly rates. Campus jobs, such as working at the front desk of the library, security, etc., are your best option because they do not require a commute.

A strategy that would put less pressure on you would be to pay for your housing expenses as well as tuition with financial aid or student loans. Make sure that you have applied to financial aid - there is still time! If that is not an option for you, then you will be able to take out a private loan to pay for your expenses for all four years of college. The loan would allow you to pay off the costs in small increments over a long period of time - typically, payments are $400/month payments spread over 20 years.

As for housing location, both options are about equal in terms of pros and cons. On-campus housing will be closer to your classes and is guaranteed to be managed professionally, but it will also offer less privacy and may feel a bit old and austere. In my opinion, choosing off-campus housing is worth it if you strongly prefer to live in a single, want to be more independent, and plan on eating outside of the dining hall. Hope this helps!

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