Is your first-year student considering living off campus next year? Winter Break is a great time to talk about the possibilities.
At most schools, deadlines for on-campus housing applications fall in February and March (with Room Draw in March or April). This is prime time for apartment-hunting as well. Here’s the information you need to advise and guide your student!
Moving off campus can be a good option for students seeking more independence, privacy, space, or a new environment. Students living off campus are responsible for their own cooking and cleaning, and must learn to budget and pay bills (“important pieces of the independence puzzle,” as one parent observes). If your student isn’t sure she’ll have the time and interest to grocery shop and cook, she can look into keeping a limited meal plan on campus.
Depending on the local housing market and university housing costs, living off campus may save money. Make sure to factor in utilities, transportation to campus, food, and furnishings or appliances that aren’t included when you make your calculations. Students can economize by “inheriting” furniture from graduating friends or grabbing items off the curb during move-out season.
Do you want to be a landlord? Parents looking for an investment opportunity often consider buying an apartment or townhome near campus.
Students living off campus will have a longer commute to class, in good weather or bad, and it can be less convenient to participate in campus activities. Without the dining hall to fall back on, students may not eat as well, and “If there’s trouble with a housemate, there’s no RA to help.”
Living off campus means that students are no longer under the watchful eye of campus safety departments and measures, and maintenance problems can be more serious and take longer to resolve than in dorms. It may be difficult to find housing that offers leases shorter than 12 months. While your student may be able to find a sub-lessor if she expects to vacate the unit for the summer or a semester, it’s important to check that the landlord allows subleasing before counting on the money.
Lastly, if the parent owns the unit, the burden is on the student every year to find responsible roommates, collect rent, etc.
One option in many areas is to rent part or all of a house with a larger group of students. This comes with more space, but also more responsibilities. Landlords in this situation can be hit or miss, so be sure to check out the Safe Housing Search Tips below if your student is considering this option.
Apartment buildings often abound around campuses. This is a better option if your student has a smaller group of roommates or would like her own room. Be sure to check out the neighborhood and ask about security measures and the parking situation.
A third option available at some universities is “professionally managed student housing communities.” These apartment buildings lease exclusively to students, and often boast academically-focused housing that offers educational, recreational, and social events along with amenities such as attached recreation centers. They also tend to offer shorter leases catering to the academic calendar. This can be a good compromise for students who want to live off campus but still want some of the services on-campus living provides.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.
306 S. Washington Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!
Flatscreen Rentals for Students. Roomate Packages Under $89. CampusTVs rents high-definition televisions to college students at a fraction of what it would cost to purchase from the local department store.
Display your business name, description, address, phone number, and a clickable link in a category that fits you best.
Parents choose our website first because we rank higher and solve more of their problems in comparison to the university pages.
Our Online Guide Listings get 5 times more click throughs than Google & Facebook Ads (average 10% vs. 1.5-2%).
“UniversityParent was one of the best resources when my son went to college. They have everything!”
“With my daughter going off to college, UniversityParent quickly became my #1 essential resource”