Living On-Campus Vs. Living at Home or Off-Campus
Pacific Lutheran University is a wonderful place to call home. Choosing to pursue an education here includes learning in and out of the classroom. A vibrant campus life, with intentional co-curricular programming in the Residence Halls is an integral part of the PLU experience. Pacific Lutheran University has a two year residency requirement, but many students find the on campus experience so satisfying that they make campus their home for the duration of their studies.
Living On Campus
There are many tangible financial benefits to living on campus.
- A college education is an investment. Living on campus is an important way to maximize the return on this investment.
- Students who live on campus generally earn higher grades than non-residential students.
- Students who live on campus are more likely to graduate than non-residential students.
- You already know the landlord – PLU.
- “Rent” is paid to PLU through Student Accounts, and Financial Aid is factored in.
- One payment covers rent, utilities (heat, water, electrical, refuse), wireless internet, and cable TV.
- Residence halls are secured buildings that hall staff and Campus Safety staff help keep safe.
- Upper Division students (junior and above) receive a reduced rate for a single room.
Intangible "value-added" benefits of living on campus include:Residential students traditionally show a stronger connection to, and greater involvement in, their college or university.
- Residential students traditionally show a stronger connection to, and greater involvement in, their college or university.
- Residential students at PLU report higher levels of satisfaction with every aspect of their PLU experience.
- Residential students are taught the life skills necessary for living with one another and in a community (compromise, communication, civility, responsibility, accountability...).
- Live-in professional staff help provide guidance and support as residents move towards independence and adult-hood.
- Residential students are less likely to miss class due to sleeping through the snooze button 11 times. (On a related note, 8:00 am classes are more likely to be filled with residential students who roll in at 7:59 wearing sweats and a baseball cap.)
- Varied living/learning community options include emphases on: social action and leadership; language and culture; arts and creative expression; first year wings with dedicated resources and assistance for the transition to the university experience.
Living At Home With You (Parent)
This is often the least expensive living option for a student, and today more than ever, this may be an important factor in the decision-making process.
Factors to consider include:
- What will the real savings be? Living at home does not save the “sticker price” of room and meals on campus.
- Check with Financial Aid to determine the amount of gift aid that will be lost if costs are reduced by having your student move home.
- Be sure to factor in the real cost incurred when your student lives at home. Consider the financial costs of commuting (gas, maintenance, insurance, parking), food (meals eaten at home and “on the road”) and utilities (hot water, heat, tv/phone/internet).
- How much time will be spent commuting to/from campus and how will this impact study time, use of resources, involvement with friends, activities on campus, etc?
- How will continuing to live in your home affect your student's ability to work on establishing an independent self?
- How will you and your student manage the changing relationship between a college student and parent?
Keep in mind that only students with a permanent home address within a distance of 30 driving miles are eligible to live at home.
Living Off Campus
Living in a house or apartment near campus with a group of friends can be a great, transitional experience. PLU also offers single and apartment-style living options that incorporate the best of both worlds.
On Campus vs. Off Campus
Choosing whether to live on or off campus is a big decision with a lot of options and facts to take into consideration. As parents, you can really help guide your student through the process by helping them think through some bigger questions. Residential Life offers resources to both on and off campus students. The Residential Life team has put together a fun fact sheet comparing life on and off campus and our website has an off campus resource advertising homes and apartments for rent as well as ways for roommates to connect. Take a look at our resources, have some open conversations, and find what is right for your student and family.
Conversation starters include:
- What amenities are included on versus off campus (cable TV, internet, utilities)? What costs will/will not be included?
- Location--Will there be a commute time? What about parking? Who are your landlord and neighbors?
- Safety--What can Campus Safety offer to on campus students? How does it compare with what would be available in an off campus residence?
- Lifestyle--Will you be shopping, cooking, and cleaning for yourself? Social activities--will it be easy to be involved on campus? Who will your roommates be?
PLU is a wonderful place to call home. We in Residential Life hope this information is helpful to you and your student while talking about where to live during his or her time here.