All CU students face an important decision after spending their first year in the residence halls: to live on-campus or not to live on-campus?
It is that time of year again, when college students are already beginning to search out potential housing options for next year.
The choice whether to live on-campus or off-campus is an important one, influenced by many factors. Either way, the students may need to hire local moving companies to help transport their belongings. Those who need to bring large paper documents may consider packing them inside heavy duty mailing tubes to protect them during the move.
“It is an issue of quality of life,” said Tom Orlando, the director of relocation for housing helpers. “Students choose to live off-campus because there is a higher quality of living that is due to a number of factors.”
Students looking to move to off-campus apartments are often seeking more privacy than they had while living in a dorm.
“One of the factors that drives students to move off-campus is the fact that they want their own bedroom,” said Susan Stafford, the director of Off-Campus Student Services. “Sharing was an experience, but now they are looking for privacy.”
Some older students choose to live on-campus in spite of their off-campus living options. Ashley Bamber is a 21-year-old history major, who said she opted to live in the dorms.
“Living in the dorms was more convenient, and it is less money than most off-campus housing,” Bamber said. “I like getting the whole college experience by living in the dorms.”
The current cost of room and board for an undergraduate living on-campus is $10,792. This number is the cost of a double room and 19 meals per week, according to the Office of Budget.
Included in that cost is Internet access, cable connection and utilities such as heat, electricity and running water.
Orlando said the estimated cost of living off-campus per person could range from $850 to $1400 per month. The price of off-campus housing will vary with the location, number of roommates, utilities included and other factors.
According to CU’s website, the estimated cost of room and board of off-campus housing is $8,478 per year, though the site does not specify if this number includes the cost of utilities.
Stafford said that it is difficult to estimate the cost of living off-campus because utility costs vary from month to month, so it is hard to give a definite number.
Alison Vaccaro, an 18-year-old freshman psychology major, said she plans to live off-campus next year.
“I want to move off-campus next year so that I can cook my own meals and live with all my friends,” Vaccaro said. “I think it would be more fun.”
There are many options available for students who are looking for off-campus housing. CU provides an online rental database called “Ralphie’s List” that allows students the opportunity to search through available apartments, townhomes and houses in Boulder.
The search options allow the ability to search by neighborhood, price, number of rooms, etc.
CU will also be holding two off-campus housing fairs in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom on Feb. 2 and Mar. 9, for more information visit the Off Campus Student Services website.
These fairs will allow students to meet with over 60 landlords and gain information about available properties, according to the OCSS website.
The closer it is to the beginning of fall semester, the better the deals are on rental properties, Orlando said.
“Right before school starts is when you get better prices,” he said. “We never run out of properties for people, so there will still be rentals available right at the beginning of the school year.”
There are many ways in which students can make their renting experience the best possible, and when renting properties for the first time, there are certain suggestions that should be followed, Orlando said.
“Know who you are living with because your best friend is typically not your best roommate,” he said. “Also, try to avoid getting a pet when you are renting”.
Students should also be aware of the city ordinance that restricts the number of unrelated people living in a house together to three.
“In the past, the city has worked with students so that they can get into compliance with this ordinance,” Stafford said. “The cost if you are found violating this ordinance can be up to $2,000 per day.”
Moving off-campus can be a big step for any college student. It brings students a step closer to understanding what life will be like after college, Stafford said.
“Students living off-campus should understand that they are a member of the community now,” Stafford said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Chelsea Barrett at Chelsea.firstname.lastname@example.org.