Cost of Living for Students in Different States
Students from different states struggle with the same problem when trying to find a place to live: the cost of living and finding an affordable space. Three students in different states speak about their experiences with housing and how budgeting is key to college life.
By: Carolina Chaves
The cost of living as a college student varies state-by-state, but it’s an issue every college student faces when selecting which university to attend.
While tuition costs often draw the most attention, college students across the country also keep an eye on the price of rent.
Averey Webster, a Texas native and senior accounting major at Baylor University, said Baylor was always her dream school. Financial considerations had an impact in choosing to stay in the state due to out-of-state tuition, Webster said.
Webster said she lives in an apartment with a rate of $595 per person with a few other girls.
“My apartment complex is one of the cheaper places to live and therefore, it is not as modern or as nice as the ones that surround it,” Webster said. “I would say the quality is pretty fair for what I pay.”
She said she lives the distance of a five-minute drive from campus because walking distance to the school is more expensive.
“I think where I live allows me to save money because utilities are included,” Webster said. “ But it is also helpful because the complex is located on the correct side of the main road that runs to campus.”
As a private institution, Baylor’s costs are the same regardless of the student’s residency status. Baylor charges tuition at a flat rate of $39,610 per academic year (fall and spring) for students taking 12 hours or more per semester.
Webster said that with the academic grants she received, the living expenses were cheaper than any other school in Texas.
“I would have to say that Baylor is the reason I stayed, just because it has been my dream school since childhood,” Webster said. “However, cost did come into play a lot while I was making my decision.”
The cost of food may vary state-to-state as a vital key to choosing the location of where to live.
Kara Chobot, a senior at the University of Mississippi, studies international studies and French.
Chobot said when she moved into Oxford, she was very surprised at the living expenses and how crowded the area is around campus.
“I live in a house, because there are no apartments close to school and apartments are very expensive,” Chobot said. “It’s a 15-minute walk from my house, so it’s not too bad.”
When asked about her quality of life in her location, she said it is complicated because of her location and what she can afford. Chobot said she rents the house for $1,100, in which she splits with her roommates.
“I have two roommates who I split the rent with,” Chobot said. “The quality of living space is subpar for what is paid because there are holes all throughout the house.”
Chobot said she chose this house because it was close enough that she didn’t have to pay for a parking pass and it was pretty inexpensive.
Patrick Browning, a senior at the University of Alabama, studies international relations and Spanish. He chose UA because of the funding that they offered him which includes in-state tuition, Browning said.
He lives about 12 minutes from campus. For most places at the University, rent is higher the closer you live to campus, but the quality decreases, he said.
“I have three roommates and my goal was to find a room in a house to rent,” Browning said. “But the apartment was cheaper and easier to find.”
He lives in a four-bedroom, two-bath apartment and pays $414 per person each month, Browning said.
“The quality of the units is fair for the price I pay,” Browning said. “Some units could use some renovations, but overall the quality is good and there are amenities that benefit the overall experience.”
The location of his apartment in proximity to the university is close and saves him money toward gas expenses, Browning said.
The grants and aid he gets, Browning said, help provide for his food and miscellaneous expenses that come with being a college student.
“Because of my situation, I actually get a substantial refund check of approximately $3,500 per semester,” Browning said. “This allows me to not have to work and live comfortably, but I have to budget carefully because I only receive a check twice a year.”