If you’re still looking for ways to save money on college bills in the days leading up to class, here’s an option that might not be as a Hail Mary as you might think. . Dormitory fees.
Most new freshmen and other students required to live on campus have already received their fall dorm homework, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of luck when it comes to to choose potentially cheaper options.
Some schools allow dorm reassignments throughout the semester or allow students to swap rooms and dorms if they are able to find another student interested in business, said Elizabeth Renter, data analyst at NerdWallet, who published a recent report on the rising costs of campus living. (For the full report: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/data-dorm-costs)
We all know how much tuition fees have skyrocketed in recent years. The same happened with the dorm fees. According to NerdWallet, the average room rate at public universities has climbed 111% to $ 6,665 over the past 30 years. While not exactly a apple-to-apple comparison, it far exceeds the median gross rental rate for off-campus apartments, which rose 24% over the same period, reported NerdWallet.
What is behind the increase? Many dormitories built in recent years look a lot like posh apartment complexes, with outdoor pools, cafes, and nutrition centers. Some schools offer rooms with private toilets and showers.
And to recruit and retain students, technology upgrades with high-speed internet and Wi-Fi are a must, especially in older dorms where wiring is expensive.
If you’re a freshman and need to live on campus, it’s never too late to ask the campus housing office which dorms are the cheapest and if it’s possible to change. Schools usually offer accommodation at different prices.
“You might have tradeoffs to save money, like no air conditioning or cinder block walls,” said the tenant, “but if cost is the main concern, it can be a sacrifice well worth it. “
In addition to dorms with different prices, some room arrangements may be cheaper, the tenant said. Traditional dorms – think small rooms with two beds – are generally the cheapest, while apartment-style suites and dorms are the most expensive.
Also remember that the more roommates you have, the less you’ll likely pay, Renter said. “Single rooms are definitely off limits to budget conscious people,” she said.
Costs and room policies for students considering fraternities and sororities also vary widely. Many Greek houses only allow the upper classes to live in the house. And while these homes may be comparable or even cheaper than dorms, the additional expense can easily outweigh the cost benefits, Renter said.
With the ongoing pandemic raging, schools are most likely anticipating student absences and canceled housing contracts. That means additional rooms could open during the fall semester, Renter said.
If there are no cheaper options when it comes time to move in, don’t give up hope. You may be able to take a step at the start of the next semester.