Attending college comes with many financial responsibilities, not only the tuition costs but also textbooks, meal plans, and even accommodation costs. Accommodation is a costly educational expense, but thankfully there are methods to apply in order to be able to afford an apartment while in college.
In the guide below, you will learn steps on how to afford an apartment while in college, how much you will need to pay for rent, how much you should pay for rent, and the programs available to help you pay for rent while in college.
Steps on How To Afford An Apartment While In College
There are numerous steps you can take to afford an apartment while in college. And some of these steps include:
- Research To Find A Suitable Apartment.
- Estimate Your Expenses.
- Look For Campus Owned Apartments or Private Rentals.
- Look For Prospective Roommates.
- Save At Every Chance You Get.
- Use A 529 Plan To Pay.
- Make Use Of Your student Loan Funds.
- Get A Side Gig.
- Research To Find A Suitable Apartment
This is an essential step to take if you want to afford your apartment rent in college. Find out the average cost of the apartment around the locality of your college, check through the sites that provide affordable apartments listings, and ask for recommendations from your friends who have their apartments; you can even go around the neighborhood yourself to check for the ones that have “For Rent” signs and speak to the owners.
Furthermore, during this process of researching, ensure that you minimize costs if you aren’t going to be staying in the apartment during the holidays. Ensure to go for the apartments that allow for short-term leases, especially monthly leases.
With a short-term lease, you can easily give your potential landlord short notice within a short period if you’re moving or going on holiday, and you can also easily extend it to a long-term lease whenever you desire.
- Estimate Your Expenses
After picking the perfectly suitable apartment for your needs, you must write out and calculate all your expenses. Moving into an apartment means paying a security deposit, utilities, groceries, household items, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Estimate your budget for all these expenses and add it to the rent of your choice apartment. If the value you’re getting is what you can afford without breaking a sweat, then go for it, but if you can’t, then you need to consider certain options that you will find out as you read on.
- Look For Campus-Owned Apartments or Private Rentals
Company-based apartment complexes are expensive and have strict requirements, so it’s usually better to opt for a private rental or campus-owned off-campus apartments. With company-based apartment complexes, you will need proof of income which you might not have as a student as they are very strict on income requirements, which makes it more difficult to get an apartment.
However, with private rentals, you get much more flexibility with income requirements and rent negotiation. Most can even consider your financial condition as a student and determine how you can pay rent to favor both sides. Additionally, with a private apartment, you get a lot more space and enjoy private amenities.
Another option you can go for is the campus-owned apartment which allows you to make payments monthly with no strict requirements, but depending on your school, this might not be available to everyone.
- Look For Prospective Roommates
Having roommates means splitting costs and lessening your financial burden. You can have one or two roommates depending on the size of the apartments. Having roommates means you can even go to bigger and more comfortable places and you will still be able to afford it conveniently. After all, living in a studio apartment can be as good as living in a house or apartment with multiple bedrooms.
While looking for potential roommates, ensure that you look out for a reliable person to keep up with the financial responsibilities and contract terms of the lease and a person whose lifestyle is compatible with yours to avoid disagreement every time.
Better still, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of looking for the right person, find someone who already has an apartment and move in with them. This is even cost-saving as you don’t have to deal with a security deposit and finish the apartment.
- Save At Every Chance You Get
You’re a college student with no substantial income and a lot of expenses; the luxury life you want can wait till you become rich. Cut down from buying unnecessarily expensive gadgets, eat homemade meals it’s cheaper than going out every time to eat, get your clothes from stores that offer discounts instead of luxury brands, and purchase used textbooks instead of brand new.
And you can also sell your used textbooks at the end of the semester. Ensure you follow all these money-saving tips; you will see that at the end of the day, you won’t need to worry about money for your rent and utilities.
- Use A 529 Plan To Pay
A 529 plan is a specialized tax-advantaged savings plan that helps pay for education. You can use a 529 plan to pay for your apartment while in college; accommodations are a qualified educational expense.
The condition for your apartment expense to be considered eligible for this plan is that the cost for the apartment must be equal to or below your college’s room and board allowance for that academic year, and you should be enrolled in an eligible college program on at least a half-time basis.
- Make Use Of Students Loan Fund
To afford an apartment at a college, you can use your student loans. Use some portion of the student loan disbursed into your account to pay for your rent, but the problem with this is it’s the schedule, so you might have to find another means to pay for the security deposit and the first month’s rent, and you can pay back when the funds enter your account.
Try to make use of this fund efficiently as you know that it’s a loan that you eventually have to pay back. Avoid unnecessary spending when you get your student loan funds.
- Get A Side Gig
This is yet another step you can take to afford an apartment while in college. The best side gig to get is the ones that aren’t time-consuming so as not to affect your primary objective, which is education in college.
You can apply for part-time jobs on campus, which are better because they understand your schedule as a student. You can also apply for part-time jobs in coffee shops and restaurants close to your college and online side gigs like freelance writing, online tutoring, and many other side gigs that won’t take much of your time and make you money.
How Much Do I Need To Rent My Place In College?
The average price for a bedroom apartment is about $900 to $1000. Then there’s a security deposit which usually doesn’t exceed three and half months’ rent, and other expenses like application fees, renter’s insurance, and many others.
Ultimately, the total amount of money you need to rent a place in college varies as it will be determined by the location of your college and the type of accommodation you want. If your campus is located in an expensive rental market like New York, you should know you will pay way more than those whose college is located in more affordable areas like Mississippi state.
How Much Should a College Student Pay For An Apartment?
Generally, ensure your rent is not more than 30% of your income. So if your monthly income is $2,500 as a college student, ensure you’re not paying more than $750. As you also have other expenses, you need to pay.
Although being a college student is more or less like a full-time job before you get approved to rent a place, most landlords and property companies will want you to prove your income so they can be sure you will be able to pay your monthly rent. So how much you should pay for an apartment as a college student should be determined by your income.
List of Programs That Help Pay Rent For College Students
Various programs can help you pay your apartment rent as a college student. Some of these programs include:
- Pell Grants.
- Housing and Urban Development Aid(HUD).
- State Issued Financial Aids.
- Pell Grants
These are the largest federal grants available for students; you can use them for on, accommodation, and other education-related expenses. To apply for a Pell grant, you should start by submitting the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
You will have to fill out the FAFSA form every academic year and demonstrate the financial need to stay available for this federal student grant. The amount of aid you receive depends on your cost of attendance at your school, your financial need, and many others.
- Housing and Urban Development(HUD) Aid
HUD has set up programs for students in college struggling to pay for rent. One is the “Choice Neighborhoods,” which provides more good places for students to live by transforming low-income neighborhoods.
- State Issued Financial Aids
Almost every state’s education agency has one or more grants or scholarships available for residents. Eligibility is mostly restricted to state residents attending an in-state college, but sometimes it’s not always so.
You can use these funds to pay your rent also. An example of this state financial aid is the Cal Grant Program which is a California-specific financial aid allocation for students attending colleges in California.
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Accommodation is one of the most expensive expenses a college student has to face. Still, with the previously mentioned steps, you can afford an apartment without breaking the bank.
And there are also financial aids available for you as a college student based on your financial need; apply for these. Unlike loans, you don’t need to pay back and can use them to pay rent.