Living on a College Budget

Most students are excited to enter the new world of independence that is college. Free from the bonds their parents place on them, students are free to explore many different avenues of culture, entertainment, and social life. This is certainly liberating but in a free market economy, many activities are bound inextricably with it, and cost money to partake in. Independence from family comes with the price of needing to pay your own way, and the limited opportunities for income provided to students necessitate spending money wisely. It is, however, much easier for students who live in a dorm and have a meal plan.

Work Study

The federal work study program is a form of financial program which provides exactly what the name states. The school places students into jobs within the university to provide them with a source of income allowing them to have some spending money. This program does a decent job at its aims, but if you can find an outside source of employment, it would probably be better as the work study program sets a limit on what students can earn in a given school year. If, however, the limit they set for you is enough, settle for the work study as it is probably going to be less strenuous than a regular job.

Dorming with a Meal Plan

Students who are living in university housing and have purchased a meal plan will be in a much better position in terms of keeping/spending/saving the money they earn. The money they earn from a job won't have to be spent on food or rent, so they can use it for entertainment, or just save it for future purchases.

Paying Rent

The situation is definitely more difficult if you are living off-campus and without a meal plan. Even though the cost of renting an apartment or house off-campus is almost always cheaper than the cost of dorming, you will feel the pressure of the costs more by renting your own place. This is because you will take out loans to pay for dorming which need to be paid back after graduation, so they do not affect students until then.

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