We get a lot of questions in our forums from people wondering how to pay for off-campus housing. More specifically, can the federal student loans you are currently using for a dorm or other on-campus apartment be used for a home not run by the university?
Fortunately, the answer is yes.
Your school’s cost of attendance typically factors in a certain cost of room and board. When your financial aid office receives your federal aid check, they will deduct the necessary amount for tuition and fees and provide you the difference.
So if you’ve been using federal aid for your dorm or on-campus home, you will most likely get the same money for an off-campus pad. One thing to remember is that your federal aid arrives once per semester and virtually every landlord will require a monthly rent, paid on time. So make sure to consider that when budgeting.
One of the smartest decisions I made in college was moving off campus after my sophomore year. Moving off-campus is not only liberating, but it can be pretty good for the wallet, as well. (In my case, my monthly rent dropped nearly $300 per month, and I was able to have my own bedroom.)
But there are some things to consider. Moving off-campus typically means you’re losing your meal plan. If your university provides cable and internet, you won’t have access to that in an off-campus apartment. Most on-campus apartments and dorms provide you with furniture, but you will almost certainly have to furnish any place you move in to.
Image credit to dynamicsonline on Flickr.