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FAFSA and housing plans

aznkidviciousaznkidvicious Posts: 17Registered User New Member
When I select which schools to send my FAFSA to, it asks what my housing plan would be. What if I don't know if I'm going to be living on campus or not. Should I put on campus anyways?
Post edited by aznkidvicious on

Replies to: FAFSA and housing plans

  • cewillmcewillm Posts: 153Registered User Junior Member
    On-campus will account for roughly $5000/year in room and board. Generally, if you select off-campus, you won't get any money. What happens is you bring in your lease, once you're up and settled, then they, at their choice, change your aid accordingly.

    If you're not sure, just check on-campus. At worst, you'll have a small refund you can use for your own housing or just return to the loaner (if its a loan).
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 37,010Registered User Senior Member
    >>On-campus will account for roughly $5000/year in room and board. Generally, if you select off-campus, you won't get any money. What happens is you bring in your lease, once you're up and settled, then they, at their choice, change your aid accordingly. >>

    I'm not sure the above information is uniformly accurate.

    The costs of room and board vary wildly by school and location. Both of my kids go to school where on campus housing is over $10,000 per year.

    Each school computes a cost for on campus, off campus, and commuter (living at home) students. The allotment for the one you choose will be included in your cost of attendance. EVERY SCHOOL computes these numbers themselves...and they are not the same from school to school.

    In our experience, the allotment for off campus and on campus were very similar. The allotment for a commuter living at home was much less (because presumably you are living at home and do not have rent, utilities, etc. that students living off campus in their own apartments would have).

    Last year, my daughter didn't know what she was going to be doing. She put on campus and we later amended it to reflect off campus. I'm sure the school figured it out...as a returning student, she had to make a room choice LONG before she got her financial aid renewal letter.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,999Registered User Senior Member
    Generally, if you select off-campus, you won't get any money. What happens is you bring in your lease, once you're up and settled, then they, at their choice, change your aid accordingly.
    This has not been our experience at all.

    Schools generally base their Cost of Attendance (COA) on an average student cost for tuition and fees/books/room and board/travel/miscellaneous. The room and board portion may or may not change if you are living off campus. For instance, at my daughter's school the COA is exactly the same if you live on campus or off campus so long as it is not with a parent. This means her financial aid is the same either way. But the COA is reduced if a student lives off campus with a parent which would mean less aid. She lived on campus her freshman year and is off campus this year. Her aid did not change and she is able to use it to pay her rent and utilities. She did not have to do anything like bring her lease - she could have rented $100 roach motel or a $2000 palace - her aid would have remained the same.

    At my son's school the travel allowance in the COA actually increased for a student living off campus making him eligible for slightly more aid than if he lived on campus. But if he lived with us the COA would be lower.

    If you are not sure then put on campus. At most schools freshmen have to live on campus unless there is family locally. If you do decide to live off campus check with your school what you need to do, or if it will make any difference in your aid.
  • cewillmcewillm Posts: 153Registered User Junior Member
    Sorry, I was thinking commuter vs on-campus.

    All we have is anecdotal evidence, because there are no hard-and-fast rules. At my school, you get no money initially for selecting off-campus, then an allotment only if you bring in a lease.
  • sblake7sblake7 Posts: 1,691Registered User Senior Member
    Our experience has been the same as Thumper and SCM. Your school probably has a list of estimated housing costs (for current year) including on campus, and off campus, on the website. If unsure, check "on-campus" and you can change it later.
  • sryrstresssryrstress Posts: 1,763Registered User Senior Member
    I've seen two recent threads stating room and board was approximately $5000 per year. Is that anyone else's experience? My kids looked at ~ 15 schools. One S is now a college soph; one a HS senior. Each school's r & b was in the $9000-$11000 range. Some were private schools; some were state. I'd like to switch them to the $5000 plan....
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,999Registered User Senior Member
    My daughter's freshman year was more in the $8-9,000 range at a State U in a not very expensive state housing wise. She saves money living in an apartment off campus, is actually closer to most of her classes, and has much more room. Oh and a kitten, which makes her very happy :D
  • somemomsomemom Posts: 9,276Registered User Senior Member
    At Berkeley, the on campus is $12-15k, the off campus can be done for about $8k including meals & utilities & having roommates (which you would usually have on campus, too)
  • sblake7sblake7 Posts: 1,691Registered User Senior Member
    Pac NW runs about 8K room & board for the privates, with an average meal plan.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,527Super Moderator Senior Member
    Vandy's room & board is really expensive. I would LOVE it if it was just $5k! To add insult to injury, on-campus is required all 4 years & most living arrangements will require the student to get a meal plan (inadequate cooking facilities).
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