Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Costs in College Movies: Tuition, Rent, Antics, and Adventures

Whether you’re living in the dorm or you’re renting an off-campus apartment, college life can involve a lot of studying, but if real life is anything like the movies, there’s lots of partying too.

Whether it’s the wild parties of Animal House or the math-nerd lifestyle of Good Will Hunting, we were curious about the cost of college life as portrayed in the movies.

And so we gathered the information about each movie’s tuition and housing costs, and we added in the costs of the character’s partying, pranks and damage (because wild antics can be expensive).

Here are the results of our cost analysis of life in college movies:

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Good Will Hunting

Set in Boston in 1997, Good Will Hunting takes place at MIT, where tuition currently costs $49,892. Will lived in South Boston, and filming took place at 190 W. 6th St., where rent could cost $750 per month.

While they didn’t have wild parties in this movie, they did frequently go out to the local pubs, including the L Street Tavern on East Eighth Street and a Harvard bar. Also, there were several scenes with casual daytime drinking — at Chucky’s house, at the construction site, at the little league game, and at the batting cages.

Even though Will got arrested for assaulting a police officer, the costs were minimal because he represented himself in court — saving lawyer fees — and there was no fine when Professor Lambeau got him out of jail.

The highest cost scam was when Chuckie negotiated a “retainer” during a job interview, and walked away with $200. The total partying cost for Good Will Hunting was $470.

Pitch Perfect

Released in 2012, Pitch Perfect took place at Barden University, a fictional college in Atlanta, but it was filmed at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Tuition for LSU is currently $11,374, and staying in a college dorm like the characters in the movie would cost $533 per month.

When calculating the costs of drinking and destruction, we included the smashed window, Beca getting bailed out of jail, the Aca initiation party, and stealing $20 from Beca’s purse each month. According to our calculations, the total partying cost in Pitch Perfect was $770.

American Pie 2

In American Pie 2, the college scenes were filmed at California State University in Long Beach, where tuition currently costs $17,078. In the script, the group rented a beach house in Grand Harbour, MI, and the monthly rent would have cost about $700 per person. Despite being set in Michigan, these scenes were actually filmed in Paradise Cove, Malibu.

In the 2001 movie, there was a lot of partying. There were 41 instances of on-screen alcohol, which if averaged out across the movie’s length would be a drink every 2.6 minutes. Plus you’ll remember the party that Stifler threw and the party in Grand Harbor. This puts the movie’s partying costs to be $1,697.

Monsters University

This 2013 Pixar movie was set at the fictional Monsters University. However, animators used the college closest to the company’s headquarters as their inspiration — University of California at Berkeley. While we don’t know how much Sully and Mike spent to attend college, we can estimate that it was about the cost of UC Berkeley, $14,068. The cost for in-campus housing in the city of Metropolis would be $1,310 per month.

As to what was destroyed or damaged during the movie, there was stealing the rival school’s pig mascot and breaking the dean’s prized scream canister. These totaled $5,148 in damages when assuming that the scream canister has the equivalent energy as one bolt of lightning. Antics with no associated monetary costs included cheating in the Scare Games and breaking into the human world.


In the movie Superbad, Evan goes to Dartmouth, where tuition costs $51,468, and Seth goes to the local state university. Evan still lives with his parents, so he has free housing! The house’s exterior was filmed at the private residence of 17200 Rayen Street, Northridge, CA.

As to the costs of drinking and destruction, our calculations began with the fake ID from the state of Hawaii that had the name “McLovin.” Then there was Seth’s car accident, the stolen alcohol in detergent bottles, and the fight at the party. The total partying costs for Superbad came out to $5,590.

National Lampoon’s Van Wilder

Van Wilder attend a fictional school, Coolidge College, and the tuition costs cited in the movie were $40,000. We estimate that his swanky dorm room with its open-concept design, big windows, and modern furniture cost $3,167 per month.

This 2002 movie had lots of antics. There were the frat parties, being arrested for selling alcohol to minors, the hot tub and installation, the golf cart, and a box of cigars. All of which totals $11,250 by our estimates.

Revenge of the Nerds

Revenge of the Nerds was release in 1984, and the fictional college that they attended was Adams College. It was filmed at the University of Arizona in Tucson where tuition currently costs $12,200. The nerds were living on campus at Cochise Hall, where rent costs $676 per month. That is, they were living there before the fraternity took over the dorm.

After they were kicked out of the dorms, they renovated a rundown 2-story house, they started their own fraternity charter, there were parties, and there were pranks with liquid heat and indoor pigs. There was also the notable 20-lap tricycle race where racers had to chug a beer at each lap. In the movie, Trichloromethaline was used as the antidote to the effects of alcohol, but that’s a purely fictional technique. In total, the cost of their antics is $14,121.

National Lampoon’s Animal House

The school where John Belushi had the infamous Toga Party was called Faber College. Although that school name is fictional, Animal House was filmed at the University of Oregon, where tuition costs $11,571, and they got permission to film there only after agreeing to not use the college’s name in the movie. The college students lived in the Delta Tau Chi fraternity house, filmed in Eugene, Oregon in the 700 block of East 11th Avenue, which would cost just $400 per month in rent.

Their college adventures were both wild and expensive. There was the DeathMobile, the havoc at the homecoming parade, the guitar that Belushi smashed, the bottle of mustard, the accidental death of a horse, the toga party, and smashing Flounder’s car, which was a 1964 Lincoln Continental. The total of all of this drinking and destruction adds up to be $48,749.

Old School

Released in 2003, Old School was set at Harrison University, a fictional college in Update NY, but it was mostly filmed at UCLA, where tuition is $13,260. Housing costs were $726 per month to live in the Lambda Epsilon Omega fraternity house, which was filmed at 1727 Bushnell Ave. in South Pasadena.

The total costs for their drinking and destruction were rather expensive. There was the wrestling match with a fatal end for the oldest fraternity member, the Mitch-A-Palooza party, a fake fraternity to get around on-campus housing rules, burning the mascot costume when jumping through a ring of fire, and a tranquilizer dart. And then there was the massive Snoop Dogg concert with a rented sound system. After adding up the costs, we estimate that the damage would have been $239,480 for all of those mis-adventures and good times.

Back to School

Set in a fictional school, Great Lakes University, the 1986 movie Back to School was filmed at University of Wisconsin – Madison, where tuition costs $10,533, and living in an on-campus dorm costs $757 per month.

In this movie, the wild times were the most expensive of all the movies that we looked at. In addition to the big party, Thornton hired Kurt Vonnegut to write a paper on Kurt Vonnegut, and then there was the massive bribe to get admitted into business school. Plus, there were the dorm renovations with the added hot tub, turning the rental into a fancy luxury apartment. So in total, the cost of college life in Back To School comes to $531,500.


About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

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