9 Affordable Housing Options for Students


9 Affordable Housing Options for Students

The outcomes of a student's life, including academic success, are closely related to their housing and neighborhood situations. Housing conditions not only affect young children as it can extend all the way into their college life. Although college life can be exciting and a chance for students to become independent, finding an affordable housing option can be a challenge.

Living on your own gives you an opportunity to learn many important life skills. It's also the best time to learn about financial budgeting and establishing good credit to prepare yourself for your next phase of life.

Here's how you can find affordable housing options whether you choose to stay on or off-campus:

bunk beds


Off Campus Living

Off-campus housing refers to student housing that's situated outside the campus. These can be apartments or boarding houses, which can vary in size and the amenities offered.


  • Lots of Choices: There are many off-campus housing options available to choose from. Many students and parents choose off-campus housing options for several reasons, including a wider variety of layout options. In the Rexburg area, for example, students can choose from several affordable BYUI housing or Brigham Young University–Idaho housing options. With options like a classic or modern type of apartment, they can find the one that suits their taste and personality.

  • Privacy and Independence: Most college students would agree that they have much more freedom in their choice of activities, as compared to those attending traditional campuses. If you live off-campus, you have a great deal of independence, as opposed to living on-campus.


  • Homesickness:

    One major disadvantage is the difficulty for some students to make friends on their own. This is especially true if the student is new to college. Thus, at first, they are much more susceptible to feeling homesick. They will also be unable to interact with other people outside of the student body.

  • Travelling:

    Another major disadvantage of living off-campus is the inconvenience of traveling to and from school. This can be especially problematic for the students who live alone. It's difficult enough for one person to commute to school, let alone a whole community of people. Living off campus also makes it harder for college students to have social interaction with other students.

On-Campus Living

As the cost of tuition rises, the amount of money that is required to fund colleges also increases, coupled with the number of people applying for financial aid, many schools are turning to on-campus living as an alternative. Many schools are also making it easier for prospective students to live in a dorm or live on campus.


  • Lower Cost of Living: The first advantage of living on campus is the financial aspect of it all. The cost of living is much lower on campus because the student uses the amenities and facilities of the dorm, which is usually cheaper than off-campus. There are many ways to pay for the housing expenses when you live on-campus.

  • No Need to Travel: If you're young and just starting college, then living on-campus may be the best option for you. Most students can walk to class without having to drive too far or take the public transport to get to their classes. You don't have to worry about finding your own way around the school, and your fellow college students will be eager to help you with anything you need.

  • Roommates: The added convenience of living with a group of fellow college students can help many students that feel lonely or homesick. You will find that there are many activities on campus that are geared towards the educational community. You will have the chance to meet other students who share similar goals, and most times you won't even need to leave campus to get things done.


  • Lack of Privacy:

    A major drawback of living on-campus is the lack of privacy. If you live in a dorm or on-campus housing, it's very likely that you'll have to share a room or apartment with other students.

  • Fewer Facilities and Options:

    Another disadvantage is the fact that there will be fewer amenities to enjoy. While you will likely get the essentials, you may not have access to gyms and fitness centers.

Housing Options

There are many off- and on-campus housing options for students. Depending on their needs and location, there could be one or two that can be used to meet the students' needs. The following is a list of housing options you can choose from—the first five are off-campus housing options followed by four on-campus options.

  1. Apartments and Rental Houses

    Off-campus apartment complexes are usually owned by private companies, which means they are managed by a housing authority. These housing authorities usually set their own rules and regulations, as well as amenities and pricing, to maintain good relations with their tenants. In some cases, students will be responsible for all utilities, although there are exceptions where a landlord will allow for a certain percentage of the cost.

    Living in an apartment allows a student to have their own personal space, while also sharing the apartment with other students. There are a variety of apartments to choose from, depending on the size of the property and the type of tenants that live there. Some apartments provide laundry facilities and security services as well.

  2. Studio Rentals

    If you're concerned about keeping your privacy, you may opt to rent a studio apartment. Unlike one-bedroom apartments, a studio should come with a single room, which already has a living, kitchen, and sleeping area with a private bathroom. Note that renting a space alone can be quite expensive since the rent and utility bills will solely be your responsibility. However, if privacy is a concern, then the price could still be worth it.

  3. Rooms for Rent

    It should be easy to find a rental room within houses near schools. Some homeowners open up a room or two for rent for college students. Although you may need to share common areas with the owners of the house, this could still be a good option that provides better privacy than a dorm.

  4. Home Rentals with Roommates

    A common way to minimize living costs is to share a house or apartment with other people. Many rental apartments have several bedrooms, which can make rent significantly more affordable. An off-campus rental may be a good housing option for students who are looking for freedom, but it certainly comes with a higher responsibility.

  5. Living with Parents or Relatives

    If you're fortunate enough to attend college close to your home, you may just consider living at home with your parents to save money. You could also ask to stay with relatives or family friends while you're studying in college.

  6. Dorms and Residence Halls

    Dorms have become an integral part of many students' college lives. First year students usually choose to stay in dorms because they can mingle with other freshmen and supportive staff to make their shift to college life a lot smoother. However, you need to remember that dorms can vary in terms of facilities and amenities depending on the location, the year they were established, and whether they have a dining hall or not. Before deciding on a particular dorm, ensure that you know what you're getting for the price you'll be paying.

  7. If you'll be living in a dorm, here are the general things you can expect from dorm life:

    • Shared Living Space: Many dormitories are designed to have a shared living space with roommates and either a common bath or a suite bath. Residence halls and dorms usually have a bed, dresser, and desk. However, you can't expect to have a kitchen, although some dorms may have a personal refrigerator and microwave with a shared kitchen facility.

    • Roommates: You can expect to share the room with at least one roommate unless you have a bigger budget. To choose a roommate, you can either select randomly or select a specific person beforehand. Regardless of your choice, sharing your space with someone will teach you important lessons about cleanliness, respect, and courtesy.

    • Amenities: It's important to check the amenities available in your chosen dorm. Many dorms are equipped with shared media rooms, study rooms, or computers for students' use. Living in a dorm may also come with the advantage of having a campus meal plan. Also, depending on your school size, they can provide various dining options all around the campus. You may also want to check the security of the dorm you're staying in. Some may have on-duty campus police and most of them have secure entrances and exits.

    4 persons in a kitchen
  8. Greek Housing

    Students who are interested in joining a sorority or fraternity may want to consider staying in Greek housing. This on-campus housing option offers the chance to stay near or within the campus and be close to friends. Fees and dues every semester may vary greatly but most members will have security, a meal plan, and access to several amenities.

    However, it's worth noting that many Greek societies will charge other fees to maintain your membership. So, it's best to consider this additional expense before deciding on this housing option.

    Although Greek housing are usually offered to sophomores and upperclassmen, you'd want to ask your organization for availability. The available room styles may vary, and you can find both private and shared rooms. Because events and meetings are usually done in the house, this option can be an excellent way to hang out with friends every day.

  9. Housing Cooperatives

    Some colleges also have housing cooperatives that are composed of student members. Co-ops are a common affordable housing option for students since they contribute to running the building and sharing the costs involved.

    Just like dorms, co-ops come with shared common areas that encourage helping each other and providing a sense of community. There is a social aspect to co-op living since you'd have to expect member meetings, group tasks, and social events. If you're willing to help out and play your part in the community, then residing in a cooperative housing could be a great option for you.

  10. Student Family Housing

    There are many schools that offer accommodation for families and couples. You may be eligible for one, depending on your qualifications. Some of these units are apartment-style with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens, so that the families can stay comfortably. Some of these housing units are built in neighborhood-type complexes with various amenities and buildings such as playgrounds for kids.

Other Tips

College life may sound intimidating, but with relevant information, making an informed decision should be manageable.

Here are some useful tips to make finding your college accommodation easier:

  • Get Financial Aid: Your college or university should be able to provide you with housing resources, housing boards, or a housing search feature on their own website. They may also provide you with referrals or help in finding other students searching for roommates.

  • Search the Town in Advance: Don't be content with reading the description of the campus and its neighborhood because it's still best to explore it yourself. Check out the neighborhood during the day so that you can make a good decision. You don't want to discover unpleasant surprises after you move in and find out that the place you're going to be staying at is noisy. Choose a nice neighborhood and prepare for your first move.

  • Search Early: In some cases, rentals near some colleges and universities get booked a year before the move-in date. Some even have wait-lists. It's best to research housing options you're looking into and consult current students about the best time to look for accommodation.

  • Set Roommate Choices: Select a few friends who are committed to finding accommodation with requirements similar to yours. Some rentals will require all the roommates to sign a lease at the same time and will not hold the units while you're making decisions.

Final Thoughts

College life can be both fun and challenging at the same time. If you're looking for an accommodation that's going to meet your budget, it's best to know about the different housing options near your chosen college or university. Whether you'd like to stay on-campus or off-campus, you'll want to research and explore your options early to avoid making hasty decisions.