There are obvious perks to both on-campus vs off-campus housing at college, but the most important one to consider is cost. The cost of housing is more than just a comparison of rental rates—it includes many hidden costs that you might not consider, which can prevent you from going to that super fun club because your bank account is too low.
By accurately estimating these costs, you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your budget and lifestyle. This comparison will not only guide your housing choice but also influence your overall college experience.
Adding Up the Costs: What Do You Include?
So, what are all of these “hidden costs”? Here’s what you should consider while comparing on-campus vs off-campus housing.
On-campus housing means you’re close to campus, which can remove transportation from your budget, but it usually means buying some sort of meal plan. On-campus housing expenses can include:
- Room and board
- Meal plans
- Campus fees and taxes
- A router for the internet
- Decorations for your dorm
- Parking or other transportation expenses if you choose to have a car
You might have some more freedom in off-campus Athens, Ohio rentals, but you also have more responsibilities. These include:
- Utilities (gas, water, internet)
- Grocery and food costs
- Laundry—this can include buying a washer or dryer, or paying for laundromat services
- Transportation costs
- Furniture and décor for your place, if needed
- Additional amenities like a gym or club membership
How to Determine the Real Costs
As you can probably tell, there’s a lot to consider when making your decision. It might seem like too much to think about, but try our foolhardy plan before giving up completely.
1. Create a Budget
Consider what your income will be or how much you have in savings to determine what you can spend each month.
2. Research All Costs
Use our lists above for the essential costs, then add in whatever fun activities you want to budget for.
3. Allocate Funds Into Each Category
Here comes the tricky part—make sure to get all the essentials first before divvying up some “fun money”.
Bonus Tip: Emergency Fund
Here’s our bonus tip: try to leave a little wiggle room in your budget for unexpected costs—car troubles, doctor visits, or something you want to buy on a whim. This will save you from going over budget.
It might be tricky to plan out the best budget before you move into your Athens, Ohio rental, so after the first couple of months, sit down and adjust how you’re divvying up your funds. Then you’ll have some practical experience to evaluate your actual spending.
Making the Decision
You have a budget and you know about all of the hidden fees. Now what? Deciding between on-campus vs. off-campus housing will come to the last deciding factors: lifestyle and location. If you like to stay up late, will living in a dorm be too loud? Are off-campus rentals far away from campus?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself before signing a lease or filling out housing applications. Remember, it’s important to think about more than just cost—your college experience will depend on where you live!
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from your friends and family. You might have someone close to you who’s made this tough choice before (they might even have some fun stories to tell).
Once you’ve considered all the factors, you can finalize your choice by choosing between the many Athens, Ohio rentals. A lot of work goes into making this choice, but all that effort will pay off with a college experience that’s tailored for you!
Find Your Dream Off-Campus Housing with Wharton Rentals
Wharton Rentals has some exciting off-campus housing for students in Athens, Ohio. Our goal is to make your college experience a positive one without going over budget. Many of our homes are super close to the Ohio University campus—plus, places like Court Street are only walking distance away! Contact one of our team members today for more information.