college off campusCollege is more expensive around the world than ever before. According to the National Center for Education Statistics in the US, the average total cost of college in the United States has doubled since 1982. In the UK, the prices have also risen over the last decade. It’s reached a point that in London the cost for undergraduate students can be as high as £24,000 per year. This cost does not include books, supplies, transportation, food, or housing. The latter item alone costs more than tuition at some schools, so where your student lives is no small decision. Here are some factors to consider. 

The Problems of Living On Campus

It seems natural to expect that a student will live in dorms on campus. That’s what dormitories are for, right? But there are times when dorms might not be the best solution for a student or the parent. The first problem is one of space. Rooms are shared with  The second problem is one of influence. Sure, it’s great for students to live close to classes. But they’re also close to influences that could make it hard for them to function well in their courses. Then there’s the food, which is underwhelming at most campuses for the cost. Finally, there’s the cost. In London, for example, the annual cost of a room is between £5,000 at the low end and £11,200 at the luxury end. Parents who are looking to save costs could find better deals elsewhere. 

The Benefits of Living Off Campus

It’s not just the cost that improves with the move off campus. Safety is a major improvement for students, especially if your student falls outside the Caucasian male demographic. To put things in perspective, the National Union of Students ran a survey on female student safety and found that 1 in 7 women experienced serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student and over 12% experienced stalking. Another benefit? Preparing your student for the real world. When he or she graduates there won’t be cafeterias and laundry services and communal living. Living alone or with just one roommate off campus allows your student to experience independent living. This alone can be life changing for students who crave autonomy in safe doses.

Steps to Take to Move Your Student Off Campus

Off-campus housing is the only alternative to addressing the high cost of living expenses on campus outside of moving your student back home. If your student is willing to commute even a little, then he or she can find affordable housing that might better fit into your budget. Combine that savings with a roommate to boost the financial gain and provide security to students not yet used to living alone. To find a flat, room, or house for rent, start your search by soliciting advice from the school. They may offer information on leasing schemes available for students and can provide you with tips for where to look. The next step should be to consult friends and family. They’ll reveal which areas are good and bad, what the rates and neighbourhoods are like and which areas to avoid. After that, read local classifieds for urgent openings that might come with an associated reduction in rent or deposit fees. Once you’ve found a flat you like, talk to the leasing office and ask for a tour. Fill out a rental application and pay the appropriate application fees. You will need to provide pay stubs, an employment history, and references. If you are going to use a student loan for your expenses, be sure to tell the leasing agent upfront before applying and ensure that the landlord accepts such arrangements. If you don’t, the landlord may deny your application for lack of income. If you’d like professional assistance, talk to a Realtor who knows the areas you’re looking to rent in. Specialist agents like Harvey Donaldson and Gibson can help. Once your student is approved, the only step remaining is to set up bills and move in!

No matter where your student lives, keep in mind that his or her years in the university are an experience that only occurs once in a lifetime. Comfort alone is not a reason to move. Nor is your concern as a parent over your student’s ability to cope; you’d be surprised at what students can do. But if the constraints are a limited budget or real fears of physical danger, then uprooting your student to an off-campus abode might be the best option for success.

Leah Miles works in property rentals and understands the dilemma facing students and parents when it comes to accommodation. She likes to share her tips and ideas with an online audience and is frequent contributor for a variety of websites.

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