Top 15 Colleges with the Most Expensive Off-Campus Room & Board

The cost of going to college is continuing to rise. A recent report from College Board showed that there has been a 3% increase in tuition over the past three years. On average, students are paying $14,210 in tuition and fees at public, 4-year universities. The amount is often higher for out-of-state students who don’t meet state residency requirements.

This rise in tuition and fees can result in students needing to seek out financial assistance or even work multiple jobs, especially when scholarships and grants are not enough.To save on costs, many students try living in off-campus housing to avoid extra room and board fees. Unfortunately though, the cost of living in some areas can be just as expensive, if not more so, than living on-campus.

We’ve put together a list of the top 15 colleges with the most expensive off-campus room and board using data collected by StartClass. We started by looking at public, 4-year universities with the highest tuition amounts. From there, we took a look at which of those schools had the highest off-campus room and board costs. According to StartClass, their room and board data includes the cost of rent and food.

most expensive off-campus living

Unsurprisingly, several of the colleges on this list are in states that are notorious for high-cost living, including New York and California.

Interestingly enough, however, several of the universities are in states that generally have a lower cost of living. For instance, in 2016 the average rent price for a one bedroom apartment in Georgia was $796 per month and $635 per month in Ohio. Both of these fell below the nationwide average for a one bedroom apartment at $1,001 per month.

School Name State In-State Cost of Attendance Cost of Room & Board Percentage Cost Room & Board of Total Cost
Rutgers University New Jersey $29,923 $18,090 60%
University of Washington Washington $27,034 $14,625 54%
Armstrong State University Georgia $26,757 $14,076 53%
San Jose State University California $26,227 $13,434 51%
University of Maryland- Baltimore County Maryland $26,506 $13,310 50%
California State Polytechnic University- Pomona California $26,196 $12,792 49%
University of Hawaii at Manoa Hawaii $28,724 $13,898 48%
Georgia College and State University Georgia $26,900 $12,766 47%
Cleveland State University Ohio $26,436 $12,500 47%
Massachusetts College of Art and Design Massachusetts $28,400 $13,175 46%
The City University of New York New York $30,131 $13,669 45%
The University of Alabama Alabama $28,422 $12,880 45%
University of Connecticut Connecticut $29,302 $12,436 42%
Auburn University Georgia $29,794 $12,584 42%
The College of New Jersey New Jersey $32,820 $12,498 38%

How to Get Financial Assistance for Off-Campus Housing

Though living off-campus may decrease your tuition, it may not necessarily offset your overall cost of attending college. Luckily, there are several tools students can use to help cover the expenses associated with off-campus living. For instance, most states offer a 529 plan. These are “qualified tuition plans” not subject to federal tax that can be used for college expenses, including room and board.

Additionally, funds received through student loans can be used to cover these costs. This is true for both federal and most private loans. That being said, be sure to stop by your financial aid office to see if your student loans will need to be adjusted to offset the costs of off-campus living. Most loan applications, including the FAFSA, specifically ask if you plan to live off-campus. It’s important to complete this section, as many loans give extra funds to cover the costs of living away from campus.

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