On top of pricy college tuition and necessary incidentals like textbooks, students—and parents—are forking out a pretty penny for room and board. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that over 50 colleges in the U.S. are now charging over $50,000 per year, and room and board plays a significant role in those charges.
College dorm rooms used to be considered a basic place to sleep and throw parties on the weekends, but some dorms now have their own pools, hot tubs and cafes—among other things. The Huffington Post reported that public school students pay an average of $8,535 a year for college housing while private school students spend around $9,700.
Daniel de Vise of the Washington Post included a list of the 20 most expensive college dorms for the 2010-11 school year in his College Inc. column on November 2, 2010 and some of the prices (which assume a standard double room) are enough to make parents’ skin crawl and their hair stand up on end.
The majority of these pricey pads are located in New York and California and it’s easy to see how the cost of campus living can drastically increase the price to attend a college.
1. Eugene Lang College, New York, NY $17,110
2. University of California- Berkeley, Berkeley, CA $15,308
3. Suffolk University, Boston, MA $14,624
4. Fordham University – Lincoln Center, New York, NY $14,614
5. Fordham University – Rose Hill, New York, NY $14,491
6. University of California- Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA $14,172
7. St. John’s University – Queens, New York, NY $14,000
8. Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY $13,920
9. Sarah Lawrence College, Yonkers, NY $13,820
10. Pace University, $13,800, New York, NY
11. UCLA, Los Angeles, CA $13,734
12. Cooper Union, New York, NY $13,700
13. Chapman University, Orange, CA $13,510
14. New York University, New York, NY $13,507
15. Olin College, Needham, MA $13,500
16. American University, Washington, DC $13,430
17. Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY $13,416
18. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA $13,198
19. Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA $13,125
20. University of California – Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA $13,109
Most colleges prefer that out-of-town students live on campus, but some students opt for off-campus living in apartments and rental homes. Keep in mind that this option most likely doesn’t include utilities such as electric, gas, water and sewer or garbage pickup, which are factored into the price of living in a dorm. Apartment living usually means spending more on groceries, too, as meal plans might not be appropriate if you’re not living near campus cafeterias.
The real estate market in college towns stays fairly busy because a lot of students do choose to rent off campus, but a November 11, 2010 Reuters article mentions an alternative: the idea of purchasing a home near your college. Some parents find it easier to buy a house where their child can live with roommates—who can help make the monthly mortgage payment each month by paying rent—than worrying about pricey dorm life.
It’s not for everyone, but a friend of mine did just that. Her parents bought a house in the town where she lived during college and graduate school. A few of her friends moved in and paid rent each month, which covered the mortgage and the house was sold when she earned her final degree.
“Interest in college towns is always going to be high, especially for people who once went to school there — and people are seeing value in this investment,” says Jim Gillespie, CEO of Coldwell Banker.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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