Living On Campus vs. Living Off - For Families

Some benefits of living on campus

  • Students who live on campus are more likely to graduate than non-residential students.
  • One payment covers rent, utilities (heat, water, electrical, refuse), laundry and wireless internet.
  • “Rent” is paid to PLU through Student Accounts, and Financial Aid is factored in.
  • Residence halls are secured buildings that Campus Safety and Hall staff help keep safe.
  • Upper Division students (junior and above) receive a reduced rate for a single room.

Did you know?

  • 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.)
  • 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…).
  • 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 Your (Parent)

This is often appears to be the least expensive living option for a student, and today more than ever, this may be an important factor in the decision-making process. Sometimes there are savings to be found by living at home, and sometimes not. Be sure to run the numbers and make sure that your choice makes sense 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.

Things to consider:

  • What will the real savings be? Living at home does not save the actual “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 live at 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, electricity/TV).
  • 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 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?

What about 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. The Residential Life team has put together a helpful worksheet designed to help you compare the cost of living on vs. off campus.  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 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–What does 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?

And finally...

We understand that 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.

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. Questions? We are here to help.
Office of Residential Life