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Personal Finance

What is the Average Dorm Cost?

The data in the graphs below are several years old. The current average dorm cost may be different today.

One of the biggest decisions you will need to make before you head off to college is whether or not you want to live in a dorm on campus or stay living at home.

For some students, the thought of living at home drives them insane and they can’t wait to head out on their own, but that may not be a wise financial decision. In fact, the cost of a dorm room may be out of the equation when you find out how much it truly costs.

Below, we will evaluate the cost of a dorm and then weigh the pros and cons of living in one.

Overall Cost of College

As many know today, the cost of college has been rising since the stat of the millennium. Some unlucky college students can expect to shell out over $50,000 for a four-year education at a private institution, and public universities are starting to catch up. Here’s a breakdown of the overall cost of attendance; make note of the green section which is the cost of room & board.

Cost of a Dorm and What’s Included

The cost of your dorm will be covered under the term room and board. Fortunately, this does include your meals. You will be able to choose the meal plan that works best for you. The average cost of a dorm at a college falls somewhere between $8,000 and $13,000 per year, but of course, the exact cost of your room and board will depend on the school you choose. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to the cost of your dorm is that your personal supplies such as towels, hygienic products, and grooming items are NOT included.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Dorm

Living in a college dorm is always exciting and you will experience things that you will not get to experience anywhere else. In addition, you will have a lot of freedom to do what you want, when you want. Of course, there are rules that have to be followed, but you will not feel like your parents are breathing down your neck every day.

One of the biggest setbacks of living in a college dorm is the price of the dorm itself. You are basically a renter and will own nothing after you fork over $10,000 or more per year for the room. In addition, you have to decorate your dorm and provide all of your own necessities, which can also set you back quite a bit financially. Another con of living in a dorm is that you will share your space with other students, so you can forget about complete privacy.

Pros and Cons of Living at Home

Living at home is not always a student’s first choice, but it will allow you to save a ton of money. You will not have to take out as many student loans and you can save all of your additional money, especially if you don’t have any bills to pay. You will also find it easier to focus on your studies because parties and get togethers will not be knocking on your door.

The biggest con to remaining at home is that you are still under the control of your parents and have to live by their rules. You may find yourself limited in what you can and cannot do. On top of this, you’re not entirely out of costs. Maybe your parents will charge you rent? Maybe you need to buy your own food? No household is the same. On top of this, living at home means you’ll be commuting, so you’ll have to pay for things like gas and maybe even auto repairs.

Final Thoughts on a College Dorm vs. Living at Home

Living at home can save you a bunch of money, as college dorms are expensive. While you may yearn for the experience of a college dorm, it is not necessarily worth the cost and amount of debt you might incur.