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On vs. Off Campus – How do I decide?

Living on Campus vs Off

Living at home with a parent often appears to be your least expensive option and today more than ever, this may be an important factor in the decision-making process. However, before you decide, take the time to run the numbers to make sure this is true for you. Keep in mind that only students with a permanent home address within a distance of 25 driving miles are eligible to  live at home with parent(s).

Why live on campus?

  • Students who live on campus are more likely to graduate than non-residential students. (This is a big one!)
  • Residential students traditionally show a stronger connection to, and greater involvement in, their college or university.
  • Residential students are taught the life skills necessary for living with one another and in a community (compromise, communication, civility, responsibility, accountability…)
  • One payment covers rent, utilities (heat, water, electrical, refuse), wireless internet, and cable TV. “Rent” is paid to PLU through Student Accounts, and Financial Aid is factored in.
  • For upper-division students, PLU also offers single and apartment-style living options that incorporate the best of both worlds.

Things to consider - living at home

  • Check with Student Financial Services to determine the amount of gift aid that will be lost if costs are reduced by living at home.
  • Be sure to factor in the real cost incurred when living at home. Consider the financial costs of commuting (gas, maintenance, insurance, parking), food (groceries for meals eaten at home and “on the road” meals) and utilities (hot water, heat, electricity).
  • How much time will be spent commuting to/from campus? How will this impact study time, use of resources, involvement with friends, activities on campus, etc?
  • How will living at home affect your ability to work on establishing an independent self?

Things to consider - living off campus

  • What amenities are included in an on versus off campus address (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–How does on campus safety 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?

Take a look at our resources, have some open conversations, and find what is right for you!