College Dorm Cost

While most students are excited to experience college to its fullest, the varying finances can be a huge buzz-kill. Amongst other things like tuition, textbooks and school supplies, and transportation, the cost of living and its amenities are something that can’t be overlooked at the last minute. College students would agree that living at the dorms is somewhat a “rite of passage” but the question remains, is it worth the dent in your bank account?. Let us know about ‘College Dorm Cost’.

It is no secret that with rising inflation, the economy is taking a hit as the cost of dorms has been rising in recent years. However, as a student, you should expect yourself to shell out anywhere between $8,500 and $11,000 per academic year for public universities. Whereas in a private institution, it is anywhere upward of $10,000 to $13,000 annually. 

Students residing closer to their chosen universities prefer staying at home. While this is an evident money-effective route, a majority of the student populous is pro-living at the dorms for their respective reasons. Along with other important planning for the next four years, contemplating your living conditions is exhaustive. Below, we explore various reasons to help you at least a little with the decision-making. 

College Dorm Expenses 

The term ‘room and board’ used by colleges simply means the cost of food and accommodation are included in the ranges mentioned above. 

In a basic dorm, you will spot the below: 

– Bed frame along with the mattress

– A study desk with drawers

– Closet space

– Built-in heater

– Storage space with a chest of drawers 

While dormitories grant you and your roommate your personal space, your bathroom needs are going to be a whole other story. Most universities are presented with communal washrooms just down the hall from your room which is inconvenient more times than often.


  • At odd hours there is easy communication and social access to your fellow peers since you are surrounded by them. 
  • Reduces your transportation expense as most universities have in-campus vehicles like bikes or a university bus for the commute 
  • Staying later to read or volunteer for interesting activities isn’t a problem 
  • You do not have to worry about bill deadlines 
  • Fixing the utilities by yourself, the maintenance is responsible for it 
  • As mentioned herein above is all part of the experience, college parties, staying up late with your roommates, weekend movie nights, and harmless pranks on your neighbors all enrich collegiate bonding even further 


  • The demanding price in itself can be a huge demotivator 
  • While decorating your room can be fun, being solely responsible for restocking your necessities can be overwhelming at times 
  • Limited or sometimes negligible personal space 
  • A personal space off campus can grant you a quieter study area
  • While being safe is the primary goal of dorm curfews, certain dorm restrictions (like no pets) can be subject to the annoyance 
  • Being surrounded by uncooperative and obnoxious neighbors is highly unfortunate 

Why should freshmen or sophomores live on campus?

It’s a known fact that universities prefer their newer students to stay on campus sites and rightfully so for the following reasons:

  • Unfamiliar place

Adapting to change is difficult in itself, add consuming academic deadlines and tough screening tests to it, it’s a no-brainer that it is going to leave a student all cranky and burnt out from the stress. Post a hectic day, the last thing you would want to do is get lost in an unknown city when you would much rather prefer the soothing aroma of coffee or even a stroll down the pavement. 

Transitioning from a grounded homely environment is tricky in itself and hence, it is often a suggestion to give yourself time to get familiarized with your current area, know the nearest convenient stores or places of emergency, and your favored residential hotspots. 

  • Access to university resources 

Oftentimes, professors or even particular assignments require research that is more extensive than the information available on the internet, and what better way to ace your papers than to utilize amenities that are so convenient and within reach? These include libraries, study halls, professors’ office hours or even meeting your counselors for some critical academic insights. Most universities are historically so beautiful and enthralling that passing by them is aesthetically pleasing and calming to the soul. 

  • Broader horizons

Choosing a good university isn’t just for academic purposes. College years are also for appropriate character building and finding your niche. The initial years of any university work perfectly for just that since you are surrounded by new faces every day! Interacting with people and exchanging thoughts and ideas inculcates a sense of curiosity and a knack for deeper exploration. This further leads to you immersing yourself in new and various activities and imbibing the qualities you admire. 

  • Time – saving 

With no additional chores like cooking meals, cleaning, or even traveling to campus, you have ample time on your hands to hone your skills, pick up a few new hobbies and maybe master a new language. Join a club, get on that debate team, or put in a few extra hours of studying. Living by yourself comes with as much liberty as comes responsibility and after all, by the end of the day, dorm camping may not be as bad of an idea. 

All of this is a major boost to your social and personal life, and you can find yourself surrounded by your tribe in no time! 

  • Convenience 

University life is undeniably bustling and no joke. As a student, being well-rested and well-slept should be the top priority since your productivity depends on this. Staying on campus enables easy attendance to all your early classes given the obvious proximity to them. You can quickly assemble and plan out your study groups with your peers who live close by as well. Assembling your next meal isn’t even a thought on your mind as it has already been taken care of as one of your many facilities. 

How do other students do it?

An obvious and recurrent question you will be faced with is, ‘how do other students manage?’ Well, we break it down below on exactly how. 

  • Financial Aid 

Every university publishes its own cost of attendance that provides the pupils with the exact breakdown of the funds being demanded. Financial aid is provided to the students based on this cost of attendance and most institutions are willing to help their students find an affordable plan. Also, financial aid for on-campus students is a little more flexible comparatively. 

  • Save up with your roommate 

Being smart with finances is one of the life skills being a collegiate teaches us. If you don’t mind sharing and you already have a good rapport with your roommate, then discuss splitting the expenses for some of the common items you both will be using. 

If possible, converse with your roommate before moving in, make a thorough list of who is to bring certain items and what things to skip to avoid excessive commodities in your already limited space, and keep a track of your personal belongings. 

A few items you can split and share are:

–  Speaker or a good sound system 

–  Any necessary cutlery 

–  Snacks for late-night munching 

–  Spices or seasoning, even sauces 

–  Room décor like LED lights

  • In the dining hall

Don’t be shy to eat to your heart’s content, after all, you are paying for it and it is an all-you-can-eat spread. Spending more energy than the food you have consumed only results in spending even more personal bucks on snacks which isn’t effective nor profitable. Another boon is that in today’s progressive world, most colleges cater to the student’s dietary requirements like vegan, gluten-free and kosher options. Don’t waste or throw away the food that is on your plate, instead preserve it using zip-lock bags, especially snacks like donuts or bread of any kind, this can be used as late-night munchies. 

  • Working part-time

With more hours to spare, earning a few extra dollars for recreational use doesn’t necessarily hurt. Universities themselves have amazing flyers posted to their bulletin always looking for part-timers, find something that interests you and go for it! If not looking online for such opportunities is oftentimes a successful outcome. If you don’t explore, you will never know. If you are a pet lover, you can always apply for pet-sitting or even consider being a regular dog walker.

  • Do well academically 

Scoring good grades and maintaining a respectable GPA isn’t just a matter of pride but also opens doors for multiple prestigious scholarships. A dramatic improvement in your GPA can help you save thousands on your accommodation. Good grades are like a domino effect, they get you noticed by your professors, which leads to admirable recommendations for your desired internships or companies. 


While living in the dorms may be money-consuming, the majority of the students prefer it, as it unites and strengthens the entire student body as one strong community. A personal suggestion would be to give dorm life a try before dipping your toes trying for other prospects. A side note to remember is, depending on the cities you are aiming for the price may vary for off-campus housing because bigger cities always mean expensive rent. If you’re stuck in a dilemma, make a list of your needs and thoroughly read and consider the above-mentioned aspects to settle on a reasoned decision that best suits you.