Sanika Udhoji


25 days ago

Choosing between On-campus and Off-campus accommodation for US

One of the most important things to think about while considering studying abroad is the accommodations. According to the Economic Times, your annual spending in the US is primarily for living expenditures and amounts to roughly INR 9 Lakhs.

- So, what are the Different Options for Accommodation in the USA for Indian Students?
There are two basic types of residences available to an Indian student studying in the USA: On-Campus and Off-Campus.
1) On-Campus Housing - Also known as campus housing, this is when a college provides a dorm or hostel to a student. Some institutions even give married students flats, especially when they are pursuing a Master's or higher degree. The apartment or dorm is situated on the school's grounds or walkable distance from the campus.
2) Off-campus housing - Off-campus student housing is situated outside of the university. You are responsible for finding a PG, a house, or an apartment. The lease typically lasts for 12 months, and you must pay the security deposit and the first months' rent up front.

- What Distinguishes On-Campus from Off-Campus Accommodation?
1. Cost
Living off-campus is typically substantially less expensive. But, according to a Business Insider poll, there is a significant disparity between top US university’s on-campus and off-campus monthly rents. The University of Illinois at Urbana-off-campus Champaign's median rent is $671 per month, while the on-campus median rent is $1218 per month, a difference of $547. Even at the University of South Carolina, the median monthly fee for on-campus accommodation is $975 compared to $551 for off-campus living, a significant difference. However, there are still other considerations you should make when looking for a place to live in the United States outside of a campus. Does the base rent include the cost of utilities like internet and water? Rental properties typically don't have them. It is purchased with your own money. This might bring the total cost you pay for off-campus housing on pace with that for on-campus housing.

2) Availability:
Given that it eases the transition to college life, many US universities require first-year undergraduate students to select on-campus housing. Dorms fill up quickly, so you must apply well in advance. Off-campus housing alternatives are more plentiful than on-campus housing options, and students can apply for off-campus accommodation whenever it's convenient for them.

3) Safety:
Most college campuses have security personnel. Some type of protection is available around-the-clock. Therefore, choosing campus living has the advantage of security and safety. They become even more secure when you take into account that the majority of campuses offer at least the most basic medical care. This is usually not available for off-campus accommodation, either you pay a fortune to rent a place with 24-hour security, or you may find an affordable home without it.

4) Privacy:
On-campus residence means you share a room with a minimum of one person. Two or more are possible. Additionally, it implies that a RA (Resident Assistant) is constantly watching over you. You must abide by the dorm's restrictions (such as the curfew hour) and work around the communal bathroom's timetable. Off-campus housing does not involve these hassles. You have the option of living alone. Even a private bathroom is an option. If you work a part-time job, this is helpful in case you get late. The flats are also much quieter. In a nutshell, living away from campus offers more privacy.

Some things apart from these one should consider before finalizing accommodation are:
i) Proximity from the campus and the facilities like the library.
ii) Travel, in case of off-campus accommodation, you will have to arrange transportation till the university. Being well versed with the bus and train routes help in this case.
iii) Conveniences - these include everything right from cooking, grocery stores to Wi-Fi and washing machines.
iv) Academics - This depends on you and if living on campus or off campus is best for your academic performance.
v) Scholarships / Grants - The scholarship you might have been offered; the chances are it will not cover off-campus housing expenses (check with the entity providing the financial aid)

When choosing between on-campus and off-campus accommodation, the aforementioned characteristics are some important ones you should take into account. Therefore, the suitability of a particular form of lodging will differ between colleges and according to your preferences. Since it might be challenging to identify the ideal style of lodging, we advise choosing a residence that most closely matches your preferences.

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