I’m a huge advocate for commuting to college over living on campus and here’s why:
The average cost of room and board (housing and meals) on campus ranges from $8k – $13k per year! Of course, this depends on the type of college you decide to attend. When considering the spectrum of these numbers, you can expect to pay $32k – $52k after fours years. But today, students can take on average six years to obtain a bachelor’s degree, myself included!! Things get in the way, life happens, our passions and majors change. My fiancé is a casualty of living on campus and more fatally, living off of student loans. $140k later and we have many life lessons and a piece of paper (that I don’t have a current location of…).
Unfortunately for Craig, he grew up in an area where he had to live on campus or he’d be commuting two hours a day (heck no)! So, in order for him to go to college and stay in-state, he needed to live on campus. Luckily for me, I had many options in my area for the opportunity to commute. And better yet, my parents wanted me to live at home while doing it so I could save the money. My advice? If you have parents who are willing to help you during this process, let them!
If you live near multiple college campuses that offer a great education, I suggest living at home and commuting. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes. In Maryland, you’re looking at 30.7 minutes! Unless you end up living right down the street from your dream job in the future, expect to commute. Commuting wasn’t my favorite thing in the world when I first started, but I knew the amount of money I was saving was so worth it.
If you’re on the fence about living on campus and commuting, answer these questions:
- Is your family willing to let you live at home and do you have a good relationship with them?
- Do the college in your area provide the education you’re seeking?
- Do you want to have financial freedom after you graduate?
If you answered yes to these questions, commute!! You’re not only saving thousands, but you’ll have the peace of mind that you made the best sound financial decision of your life!