Sooner or later, students will consider living off-campus due to the costly living expenses. According to the calculations of the financial aid office at UC Merced, a standard cost of attendance for an individual undergraduate student that lives on campus is about $35,584. If the student lived off-campus the total cost would be about $27,748. The difference is about $7,836.

There are pros and cons for students that choose to live on-campus. While living on-campus, undergraduate students have easier access to services provided by the UC. For example, the Yablokoff Dining Center is within walking distance. There is even free access to kitchens on campus if students choose to cook for themselves, however, thousands of undergraduate students share the same facilities. Unfortunately, students leave the responsibility of cleaning to janitors that work hard to keep dorms, kitchens, bathrooms, and classrooms clean. Another pro for students on-campus is to avoid the daily commute. Students living in dorms do not have to wake up early to compensate for the time needed to commute to school for classes and taking naps are more convenient. But students on-campus are often limited to the UC Shuttle system if undergraduates choose to leave campus for the day. Another con of living on-campus is that students, often times, do not have their individual rooms. Students will share rooms with one, two, or three other students because space is extremely limited. There isn’t a sense of privacy in dorms, but it can serve to bring students out of their comfort zones to meet new people and make friends.


For students that live off-campus, it becomes a struggle to reach the needed UC facilities on-campus on time. Students are recommended to plan out their day on-campus instead of commuting to school and back home several times a day. However, students also have the freedom of cooking their own food in comparison to the food offered at the Dining Center. Unfortunately, students may not want to cook for themselves after a long day at school or may not even know how to cook. Students living off-campus are forced to learn to be more responsible for themselves and plan accordingly. For example, it is of great significance for students to learn how to pay bills and how to manage their living space since UC services are no longer provided for them. Students also have more privacy and freedom compared to living in dorms. If the student wants to watch a movie, there is no longer a need to worry about disturbing roommates. If the student feels exhausted and wants to sleep earlier, no roommate will disturb the individual. The student will be the one to make the decision if he or she wants to interact with someone instead of having the circumstance be forced upon them.


There will always be pros and cons of living off or on-campus for each individual student. It simply depends on the student’s preferences and their circumstances.


Picture Credits: UC Merced, Village Terrace, & UC Merced 


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