In addition to the high cost of education programs and textbooks, a college student’s cost of living is quite pricey. As a result, some students opt to live at home while in school, but this often isn’t ideal. If you find yourself in this situation, it makes sense to know that what financial aid and private student loan options cover housing, both on and off-campus.
When you fill out your FAFSA, indicate whether you will be living on or off-campus. Once you are awarded financial aid, your funds go directly to your school’s financial aid office. Your money is then automatically applied to any outstanding bills you have at your school, starting with tuition and fees. If there are funds leftover, they will then be applied to on-campus housing and dining costs. If you are living off-campus, then you will receive a check for the balance that is left over after tuition and fees are covered.
Federal and private student loans can both be used to help cover housing costs in addition to financial aid. To see how much federal aid you are eligible for, simply fill out the FAFSA. Even if you do not think you qualify for aid, it is still wise to fill out the FAFSA. You might get more aid than you originally thought.
Many universities have Resident Advisor (RA) positions that allow you to live in on-campus housing for free in exchange for working. It is important to note, though, that these positions are usually reserved for junior and/or senior students and can be difficult to get.
Another option for affordable college housing is to live off-campus. You might miss out on some perks of living on campus, but you could also save hundreds of dollars each month. Renting a room or living with roommates off campus is often the most affordable way to go.
If you do not receive enough financial aid to meet your living costs, you may want to look at private student loan options. Many private student loan lenders allow you to finance the entire cost of your education or just take out a smaller loan to supplement your federal loans. Also, if you have a qualified cosigner or are in a strong financial position, private student loan rates can be well lower than federal rates.
If you’re interested in taking out a private student loan, check out Credible to compare rates across multiple lenders by filling out just one simple form.