In some cases, living off campus can be cheaper than living on, but not very often, says Kay Reuter-Krohn, associate director of housing for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
While students frequently find cheaper rental options off campus, they forget to factor in extra costs that can drive up the price of an off-campus apartment.
"The advantage of living on campus is that when you sign your housing contract, you know how much you're going to spend," says Reuter-Krohn. "When you move off campus, you have to pay rent plus utility costs, security deposits, Internet fees, the cost of furniture you'll need and transportation from your apartment to campus."
DeSantis adds that students receiving financial aid who opt for off-campus housing should first make sure that their aid packages aren't affected. Because aid packages that cover college housing costs are typically designed with the cost of on-campus room and board in mind, extra expenses incurred in off-campus housing, such as the cost of utilities or cable, may not be covered.
"Students with financial aid awards really need to look at whether their awards are enough to cover off-campus housing," DeSantis says.