Apartment Living BlogOff-campus Living › Cost of Off-Campus vs. On-Campus Housing in California

If you’re planning to attend a university in California, you might be interested in learning that it is often more affordable to live off campus in an apartment or house than it is to live in a dorm on-campus. Although this is not true for every university, it is the case for many, and it’s your right to know. That’s exactly what lawmakers thought when they decided to pass Assembly Bill No. 990.

The Assembly Bill

A bill signed into law in August of 2017 requires all schools in the University of California system to provide a list of accurate rental prices for one-bedroom apartments in the area. They are required to update this list with relevant information each year to help students and parents decide on the absolute best living arrangements

The passing of this bill made many families happy knowing their children will have all the information they need to decide if they can afford to attend a college away from home or if they should choose one a little closer. The bill also made it much easier to locate and decipher the information. One of the issues mentioned in the bill was the lack of details and easily read price listings. There has also been an issue with inconsistencies in price listings from college to college. These issues should be gone by this time next year.

Cost of Off-Campus vs. On-Campus Housing in California

The bill calls for all of this information to be available by February of 2018, but many of the universities have already started providing this information to get ahead of schedule and to provide parents and students with all the information they need to make a decision.

Thanks to these helpful universities, we have a list of the ten most expensive and ten least expensive living costs for on-campus housing, as well as the ten most expensive and ten least expensive when compared to off-campus housing costs.

Let’s begin with the ten most expensive on-campus living costs:

U.C Berkeley – $17,549
CSU Channel Islands – $16,954
UC Davis – $16,136
UC Santa Cruz – $16,055
UC Merced – $15,923
San Diego State – $15,923
SU Fullerton – $15,642
SJSU – $15,594
UC Riverside – $15,542
UCLA – $15,441

Cost of Off-Campus vs. On-Campus Housing in California

Now, for the ten least expensive on-campus living costs:

CSU Fresno – $9,704
CSU Stanislaus – $9,766
CSU Northridge – $10,402
CSU Dominguez Hills – $11,404
CSU Monterey Bay – $12,396
CSU Long Beach – $12,484
CSU Chico – $12,712
Maritime Academy – $12,807
CSU Humboldt – $13,016
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – $13,134

The next two lists will explore the colleges that provide on-campus housing for cheaper than off-campus housing, along with colleges whose on-campus housing is more expensive than off-campus housing. These vary depending on the current year’s tuition and rates.

For 2017, on-campus living is most expensive when compared to off-campus living:

Costs listed below are annual figures for 2017.

UC Merced

On-Campus Cost – $15,923
Off-Campus Cost – $7,987

UC Davis

On-Campus Cost – $16,136
Off-Campus Cost – $9,792

UC Riverside

On-Campus Cost – $15,542
Off-Campus Cost – $10,175

UC Berkeley

On-Campus Cost – $17,549
Off-Campus Cost – $13,605

UC Santa Cruz

On-Campus Cost – $16,055
Off-Campus Cost – $12,199

Cost of Off-Campus vs. On-Campus Housing in California

The following colleges are the least expensive when compared to off-campus living costs:

Costs listed below are annual figures for 2017.

CSU Northridge

On-Campus Cost – $10,402
Off-Campus Cost – $15,502

CSU Fresno

On-Campus Cost – $9,704
Off-Campus Cost – $13,294

CSU Stanislaus

On-Campus Cost – $9,766
Off-Campus Cost – $11,900

CSU Dominguez Hills

On-Campus Cost – $11,404
Off-Campus Cost – $13,500

CSU Los Angeles

On-Campus Cost – $13,356
Off-Campus Cost – $14,502

Knowing the cost differences of living on campus compared to living off campus can help you make the best decision for your unique needs and budget. Along with living costs, consider the location of the college before making a big decision. Remember this will be your home for at least the next four years, so you want to choose a college town that will best suit you and your personality. Whether you want to spend your free time partying or studying, there’s a perfect college for everyone.

If you decide to move forward with an off-campus apartment, you might want to consider getting a pet to keep you company during those long study sessions. Learn more about the pros and cons of having a pet in college to help decide if you’re ready to take the plunge. Maybe a new cat or dog is just what you need to start the year off right.

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About :

Amber is the Social Media & Content Manager for For Rent Media Solutions™ and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber helps execute and optimize a social media strategic plan across multiple channels, as well as manages the company's social media product. 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 For Rent Media Solutions brand. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

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