Apartments or the Dorms: Where Will Home Be?


As the end of the school year rolls around, many students have to make the decision on where they will be living for the following year. While some opt for the dorms again, others search for other options.

In total, students have roughly three options: live in the dorms, live at home or live off campus. The most cost-effective option is to live at home, but some students do not have that luxury. 

According to the University of Northern Colorado’s fall census report, there were 591 out-of-state students who attended the university. They, along with the resident students who live too far away to commute now, are left with only two options.

Some students look into off-campus housing as a cheaper option for living. One student who did this was Stephanie Vargas, a second-year audiology major who lives in an apartment with three roommates.

“Living on campus is ten times more expensive,” Vargas said. “I mean, not literally, but basically.”


While this may seem true to students, the prices are not too far off from each other.

According to UNC, their cheapest cost of living, which includes the tier one option for living and the five meals a week plan, costs $4,281 a semester. On the other hand, their most expensive option, which includes tier four housing and the any meal, any time plan, costs $6,583 a semester. This means living on campus costs around $856.20 to $1,316.60 a month for five months.

Also according to UNC, based on rates from 2016, the average cost for students living off campus would be $600 to $1,800 a month. While prices fluctuate depending on utilities, this means that off campus housing could be roughly $200 cheaper or $500 more expensive than on campus housing.

While the cost is a high priority for students, there are other things that people look for when choosing where to live. There are certain amenities that are provided in dorms that are not provided at apartments and vice versa.

“You are closer to everything on campus, such as classes, the dining hall and the gym,” Alyssa Glassey said.

Glassey is a second year ASL interpretation major, and she has been living in UNC dorms for two years.

Those who live on campus are able to get to class quicker, which lets them wake up later, and it also lets them hear about events happening around campus more easily.

While there are benefits to living on campus, there are equally as many to living off campus. With every benefit comes a drawback, however. Glassey mentioned the lack of a private kitchen as an issue. 

Only having a community kitchen can lead to problems around the floor. For example, in 2019, a resident in North Hall left a $50 steak in the fridge to cook a few days later, but when she came back, the steak was gone. Community kitchens are run on integrity, so no one knew who took the steak.

Another issue with on campus housing is the feeling of being restricted.

“On campus, it’s like living at home, and you have to abide by so many rules, be cautious of your surroundings and eat and keep things cleaned as scheduled by the school,” Vargas said. “Off campus, I feel like I am more in control of my education and self, while on campus, I am more focused on studying than my own well-being.” 


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