The Cost of Living Off-Campus

As the semester kicked off, commuter students received an email from Dean Rebecca Johnson, and chief of police, Tracey Mooney. The email, which contains an Off Campus Living Guide, reminds commuter students, “how to be a good neighbor,” according to the email.

The guide is 8 pages long and contains information on topics like finding a roommate, where to park, and what to do in the event of a fire. It offers solutions to problems and tips on how to prepare and handle the move. It also breaks down the cost of rent in areas around campus, but it only considers the total cost, rather than cost per student.

Out of 46 University of New Haven commuter students, 72 percent of them pay under $650 for rent, according to an unofficial online survey conducted by The Charger Bulletin. This percentage reflects the per-student cost rather than the total cost for the location. Additionally, 48 percent of students surveyed reported that utilities were included in their cost of rent.

Most students say the high cost of living on campus is their primary reason for moving off-campus.

“Overall, it was cheaper,” said senior forensic science major Rachael Buck. “I’m saving almost $10,000 renting as opposed to living on campus.”

The cost of room and board on campus, per year, is $16,320, which when split into a 10-month lease time frame is $1,632 per month, double the typical cost of living off-campus, according to the survey.  

This is not to say the cost is one-size-fits-all. The move off campus can also hurt students’ pockets depending on additional expenses that come along with a move. Scholarships can cover the cost of room and board on campus, but not other independent expenses.

“I received money from UNH to live on campus. Choosing to live off campus means I have to pay for tuition on top of rent and food,” said senior communications major April Anderson.

Only 43 percent of students from the survey reported spending between $100 and $150 on food per month. The cheapest resident meal plan available costs $4,520, which, divided into 10 months, is $452 per month. But if that is already covered through scholarships awarded by the school or outside providers, these number don’t mean much.

Students are beginning to move off campus and rent apartments with more bedrooms and housemates. Sixty-one percent of students rent a house rather than an apartment, 53 percent have three or more  bedrooms, and 45 percent live with three or more other students.

The university’s guide also highlights the importance of picking the right roommate, and deciding ahead of time your living arrangements.

The majority of students surveyed rent in West Haven, with New Haven a close second. While expense is a major factor for moving off campus, so is a sense of freedom and flexibility.

I can have my own room, I have more freedom to have a cat, and it is generally quieter since the people that live around  me are working professionals and understand the need for regular sleep,” said senior nutrition and dietetics major Mia Flanagan.