Paying for College Housing and How Grants Can Help

August 29, 2012

It's actually really hard to find a grant that pays for tuition, fees, and living costs, specifically housing. Next to tuition, housing costs are one of the most expensive parts of a student's budget. However, there are some ways to cut the costs of your college housing and also use financial aid to help with your expenses. Grants that are specific to college housing are actually low in number, as general grants make allowances for housing already. Still, like other grant programs, college housing grants don't have to be repaid, which makes them one of the best funding choices if you need help paying your housing bills. Most of these grants are provided by your specific college or state.

Living On Campus

If you choose to live on campus, you can include your housing costs and even get a scholarship to pay for your room and board through your school. You have to notify your school of your intent to stay on campus and apply for housing on campus. When you fill out a FAFSA, you also have to check that you want to live on campus. These costs will be included in your total college cost for your financial aid package. If you're not sure about living in a dorm, you may want to visit the campus first and talk to other students and your advisor. It's also best if you apply early to get into a good dorm. Freshmen usually don't have the pick of the litter, unless you're in a merit program or on the honor roll.

Living Off Campus

It's imperative if you are living off campus that you pick a low monthly rent housing option. There are actually apartments in college towns that create dorm and suite style apartments for college students. These are smaller apartments, usually studios, that supply an area to sleep and have a desk, but you may have to share a bathroom or kitchen area with other suite mates. If you want to have more space and your own private bathroom, you'll have bigger rent and utility costs. However, this could mean a bigger financial aid package to help with your living expenses.

Getting a Roommate

One of the ways that you can bypass high rent and utility costs while still getting your own private or semi-private bathroom is by moving in with someone else. There are plenty of sites dedicated to helping students find roommates. You can also talk to friends about rooming with you. If you don't want to live with strangers, it's probably best that you reach out to friends on MySpace or Twitter to find someone to room with. If you've never lived with a roommate before, besides your parents, you should also make sure that you would enjoy a living situation with someone else.

Housing Grants

Low-income students and academic scholars can find grant through state programs. For example, students in Massachusetts may get the MSCBA housing grant, awarded by the Massachusetts State Colleges Building Authority, and is given to a select number of students who demonstrate financial need. Some programs are also available to those who are members of specific organizations, such as the ROTC Room and Board Scholarship, which is another housing grant, but is also specific to Texas A&M University. It's best to find grants and scholarship programs through your university that handle housing. Many students who qualify for Pell Grants may instantly qualify for housing grants when they submitted a FAFSA. If so, these programs should be automatically added to your financial aid package. These are limited awards, so it's also a good idea to apply early for FAFSA if you are expecting a housing grant.

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