Do you want to live on campus or off campus? Picking the right living situation can help you relax, have fun and make the most of your time at university.

How much does it cost to live on campus?

How much you pay depends on the school you choose, because each one will have a different fee structure. If the school requires you to pay for a meal plan in order to live on campus, there’s a good chance you could pay $8,000 or more per year on top of your class tuition fees.

Should I live on or off campus?

On campus

No matter where you go to school, living in residence is a unique experience that a lot of students want to try for at least their first year. You’ll get to meet new people, you’ll have more independence and you’ll stay fully involved with everything that’s happening on campus.

You’ll also be physically closer to school — you’re right on campus! — and some universities even have tunnels that connect the buildings so you don’t have to go outside to get food or go to class.

More info: Check out the various types of campuses

Off campus

You might choose instead to live off campus, such as in nearby apartments with friends or in a room you rent. You’ll miss out on some campus fun if you’re not around school all the time, but you might feel like it’s important to get away from school when you’re done classes for the day.

Splitting living costs with others can help you save money and being away from the campus can give you more opportunity to explore the surrounding town or city. If you don’t live within walking distance of your school, however, you’ll have to make sure you have a way to get there, whether it’s a car, a bike or public transit.

At home

If you’re going to a school in your hometown, living at home is another option. It’s a great way to save some extra money and put it toward your tuition or other expenses, but you will probably feel less connected with what’s happening on campus.

Some schools have a large number of students who don’t live in residence but come every day for classes. They’re usually called day students or commuter students, and sometimes there are groups set up for them so they can be more involved in campus life.