Societal Problem

By: Matthew Balsinger

One thing students may not consider doing before they begin college is looking into the prices of off-campus housing. Often times upstart freshmen are so eager to begin their college experience that they are easily attracted to the allure of dorm life, without bothering to do a simple price comparison. In tough economic times, it is important to think with your wallet instead of your lofty dreams.

On-campus housing prices can vary depending upon the type of dorm and meal plan you pick. A common theme with all of them is that you pay by the semester and are required to have a meal plan.

The cheapest dorm rate at the University for a full academic year is $6,122. The cheapest meal plan offered runs $2,972. That makes the cost of living on campus for a full academic year $9,094.

For those of you that are doing the math, that’s $9,094 for roughly eight months of on-campus living. That comes out to be about $1,136 in a month, and you don’t even get the option of living there over the summer or the option of going grocery shopping instead of purchasing a meal plan.

Living in the area is unavoidable for many students because commuting from our homes is simply too far. However, it is important to consider all options before taking on such a financial burden. If you got an apartment for $500 a month, you would be paying a total of $6,000 over the span of a 12-month lease. The benefit of doing this is that it is considerably cheaper than the on-campus alternative, giving you more freedom and the opportunity to work a job in the area over the summer.

Akron is one of the universities left who does not require their freshmen to live on campus. With this liberty, students should be encouraged to think for themselves and to think with their wallet. Is the allure of the college experience really worth what it costs?

You must always remember that universities run and operate like a business. The product they market to you is a degree and an experience. You must continually weigh the costs and benefits of the experiences that you pay for. A degree is worth it, there can be no doubt. On-campus housing, however, is another — equally expensive — story.