Student Voice


August 14, 2022



On-campus amenities vs. off-campus money saving

October 3, 2014

Some students at UW-River Falls find it less expensive to live off-campus, while others see the benefits and cost-effectiveness of living on-campus.

On average, it costs $3,995 for a Wisconsin resident to live in a double dorm room, or $1,997.50 per person each semester, according to the UWRF website. This means that the student pays $500 per month to live in the dorms each semester.

If a student wants a single room in the dorms or room in South Fork Suites, the cost is $2,530.50 each semester, or $5,061 per academic school year, according to the UWRF website. That averages out to be about $632 per month for a single room.

Students living on campus also pay for meals at the University Center. A plan for 14 meals a week (or two meals a day for seven days) costs $1,995 per semester or $2,390 a year, which ends up being about $498 a month, plus additional costs for snacks and meals the plan doesn’t cover. Other meal plans are optional and can be found on the UWRF website.

Between renting a double dorm room and eating 14 meals a week on campus, each student pays about $998 per month.

However, Crystal Bauer, a student at UWRF and a Resident Assistant in Parker Hall, doesn’t pay for her housing on campus because the cost is covered by UWRF while she holds the position. Bauer said that even if she did have to pay for living in the dorms she would still choose to live on campus because of the community and what is built into the price.

“For the price you pay for room and board you get, not only a room to live in, but you get all the utilities an amenities that go with it, like the electricity, the cable, internet; all those little things that you don’t normally think of when you’re living off campus,” Bauer said.

Bauer also pointed out that the dorms are furnished when residents move in, which is another cost eliminated by living on-campus.

However, Courtney Wilson, a fourth-year student at UWRF, finds that living offcampus can be less expensive than living on-campus.

Wilson said she lives in a duplex apartment with three roommates off-campus. She said that she and her roommates pay $230 each month for rent, $13 a month for internet access, $30 a month for utilities, and less than $100 each grocery trip, which can last her a few weeks.

In total, Wilson pays about $475 a month to live offcampus, which is less than half of what it costs to live in the dorms for a semester.

Wilson said she pays for things by working part-time as a nanny and she uses leftover financial aid money that would normally go toward living on-campus to help her pay for off-campus living.

“It’s cheaper to live off-campus, for the most part, if you do it right,” Wilson said. Kasey Hedrington, a student at UWRF, also said she finds living off-campus to be less expensive than living on campus.

Hedrington recently moved into her first apartment with one other friend. She and her roommate pay about $800 a month between the two of them, or $400 a person, and they do not have to pay for utilities. She said she pays for living off-campus by working and using leftover financial aid money.

“Living off campus is actually quite a bit cheaper for me, personally, because I end up paying probably $100 less per month than I would if I was on campus,” Hedrington said.

Overall, the cost of living on-campus has a higher price tag than living off-campus, but Wilson emphasized that it really depends on individual situations.