As a college student, the tuition fee is not the only charge that you will have to afford. In addition to tuition fees, you will find other extraordinary expenses allied with college as well. One of the major expenses affiliated with college is lodging expenditures.
A survey shows that the students who choose to dwell on-campus at the University of Oklahoma have to pay a monthly housing cost of 1,221 US Dollars.
And the figures keep on increasing. At the University of Virginia, annual on-campus room and board costs doubled over a span of 26 years from $4000 to $8000.
And the conditions of off-campus housing costs do not get any better. Even though the rent may seem a bit light on the pocket, auxiliaries, like utilities, parking, laundry, and the like stack up to be no better than on-campus residence cost.
Is there a solution to raise funding for college dormitories expenses?
The question which arises, keeping the mind such drastic conditions of lodging accommodations for students is that ‘Is there a solution?’
Fortunately enough, there is! To manage their college expenses, students look forward to opting for blended financial packages, which include scholarships, grants, and study loans. Majority of the student aid programs cut on a variety of college costs, including tuition fees and living expenses.
Amongst these financial aid packages, students find scholarships, the most feasible. The reason for this is that they do not have to repay the amount. However, scholarships are granted to a handful of students. For the rest, the issue remains the same.
For such students, the governments introduce housing programs. These programs are specifically designed to meet the emerging needs of college students. Modern housing programs for college students offer a wide of amenities, including furnished units and leases, tied to the academic calendars, etc.
What is a Student Housing Program?
A student housing program is a purpose-built program that provides students with residential real estate units. These apartment communities are generally used to accommodate residents in higher education.
Student housing programs are tied with a number of amenities. Some of the most essential perks include individual lease terms, provision of study areas, fully furnished units as well as roommate matching.
Student housing units are generally located in the vicinity of college campuses and give students the opportunity of being employed as community assistants so that they can earn while providing support to their fellow student residents.
Can Students Pay for their Housing through Student Loans?
This question is one asked by every other student who applies for federal financial aid.
The answer to this is that student loans are advanced for those academic-related expenditures of a student, which he deems fit. Thus, students themselves decide as to where to spend the amount of their loan. They distribute the amount between various expenses including textbooks, tuition, transport, etc. This may or may not include payment of their house rents.
However, federal student loans are generally insufficient to cover the entire amount of housing. In order to meet the gap, students have to make other arrangements, which may include applying for private loans, borrowing money from relatives, taking unsubsidized loans, or holding a part-time job.
How can College Students Apply for Housing Assistance?
The true scope of the problems faced by homeless college students is undetermined. This is one of the main reasons why this issue is still largely unresolved.
However, students can try to resolve the issue and ease out the process of reducing, and, in some cases, reducing this heaviest cost related to college for themselves on a self-help basis. This can be achieved by applying to rental assistance programs and by submitting an application for house grants.
Some of the most effective ways in which a college student can get housing assistance are as follows:-
#1 Apply to Federal or State Grants:-
Students attending colleges or universities within their own states can apply for state grants. There are a number of financial funds operating in every state, which provide financial aid to students on both a need basis and on a merit basis. An example of such funds is the Educational Opportunity Fund operating in New Jersey.
In addition to this, there are several state programs that offer living allowances to students attending colleges or universities in any state and also to those attaining higher education in community colleges or technical schools.
Moreover, students may also find themselves eligible for federal grants, which they can use to support their housing. For example, students pursuing their degree in any field of teaching can qualify for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant, otherwise known as the TEACH Grant.
The funding of such loans and grants can be used to support housing, transport, food as well as to meet textbook costs.
#2 Section 8 or Section 42 of Housing Assistance:-
There are certain government-sponsored housing programs to which students, who have a specific level of income, may find themselves eligible. These housing programs depend upon the level of income of the students.
The income requirement for the Section 8 Housing program ranges between 30 and 50 percent of the county’s average median income; while the Section 8 housing programs require students to have an income between 30 to 60 percent of the average median income.
Students who decide on either Section 8 or the Section 42 Housing Assistance Programs will be required to apply at the Public Housing Agency that is nearest to the educational institution that they are attending.
#3 Apply to the Gradient Gives Back Foundation:-
In case a student becomes successful in renting a home but finds it difficult to keep up with the payment of rent, he can seek assistance from the Gradient Gives Back Foundation.
This organization makes payments on behalf of its recipients against mortgage or lease agreements. Even though this foundation is based in Minnesota, the facility can be availed by students studying in any college or university in the United States.
#4 Become an RA:-
Students who wish to cut down on their residential costs as well as to have some source of income for themselves can efficiently do both things at once by becoming a Resident Assistant.
In this capacity, he will have to promote a community atmosphere, assist students and monitor the dorms. In exchange for these services, he will be awarded a housing stipend.
Every college and university has its own eligibility criteria set for RA applicants which are based on the GPA and credit completion. So it’s best to go through them first before applying as an RA to check if you are eligible or not.
#5 Make a Net Wish:-
Another way of reducing housing problems is to make a wish on Net Wish. You can try your luck if you want assistance in rent or security deposits or even both.
Even though the upper limit of grants is 200 US Dollars, students can thoughtfully utilize the amount to reduce their financial burden.
10 Best Housing Programs Available for College Students:-
For students living far away from home for the first time, even the thought of renting and living alone in an apartment all by themselves may seem quite daunting. To help reduce both the stress and the cost of residence accommodations, there are a number of student housing programs initiated in the US.
Here is a brief overview of some of the best housing programs for students who cannot afford the hefty amount of housing expenditures.
Quick navigation of the best housing programs for college students in the US:-
Federal Grants for Paying College Housing:
- Pell Grant
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- National SMART Program
- Montgomery GI Bill
Following are the complete details on Federal grants for paying college housing:-
FASFA or the Free Application for Federal Students Aid is a form provided by the US Department of Education, which gives worthy students access to a number of grants and loan programs.
This simple form gives colleges and universities a clear picture of students’ financial positions and needs so that they can assess whom to give grant and whose request, to decline.
#2 Pell Grant:-
The federal Pell Grant program is the largest grant program for worthy students. This program provides unaccompanied students with help in paying off their tuition fees and housing expenses.
The upper limit of financial assistance by the Pell Grant is up to $5,500 per year.
#3 Academic Competitiveness Grants:-
The AGC is a merit-based financial assistance program which accommodates the first and second-year students who maintain rigorous academic record during high school and college.
#4 National SMART Program:-
A notch above the Academic Competitiveness Grants comes to the Science and Math Access to Retain Talent program. This program accommodates potential third and fourth-year students who are enrolled in science, math, engineering, and other technical curriculums.
The SMART program advances an estimate of $1300 per year towards tuition and housing expenses.
#5 Montgomery GI Bill:-
For soldiers, the military service has initiated the Montgomery GI Bill program. This is one of the oldest federal educational assistance programs which facilitates qualifies veterans with their housing, tuition, textbooks, and other college-related course materials and expenses.
State Institutional Grants for Paying College Housing:
Following are the complete details on State Institutional grants for paying college housing:-
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- National Centre for Homeless Education
- Homes for Students of Higher Education
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
- CT Law Help
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
- CARES Program
- LIM College Housing Grants
- Youngstown State University Housing Grants.
#6 US Department of Housing and Urban Development:-
Also known as the HUD, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development caters to the residential needs of homeless youth and adults alike.
Not only does the HUD work with community partners across the country, but also contributes resources to enable collaborative efforts between homeless service providers and educational systems.
#7 National Centre for Homeless Education:-
Based at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the NCHE cohorts with parents, homeless service providers, and schools to ensure that unaccompanied students have proper access to all the resources they need to carry out their education smoothly- including residence.
In addition to this, the NCHE also provides up-to-date information about ongoing legislations, programs, and resources that may be required to cater to their needs on all levels, including local, state, and national.
#8 Homes for Students of Higher Education:-
The Homes for Students of Higher Education, as the name suggests, is a housing program that caters to the needs of college and university students in particular.
This organization provides students with care packages, shelter, and educational material with an aim to create an awareness of the various resources available in their communities.
#9 United States Interagency Council on Homelessness:-
The USICH is a body, responsible to synchronize the Federal government’s response to the rampantly increasing matter of homelessness, particularly among college students.
It works to put an end to the epidemic of homelessness in unaided youth, under 25 years of age.
#10 CT Law Help:-
The lawyers and other legal workers of Connecticut have formed this organization known as the CT Law Help to provide legal assistance to the low-income citizens of Connecticut.
This network of legal professionals renders their services, free of cost.
#11 National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth:-
The NAEHCY is an organization, working to establish equity between the students belonging to the upper class and those, belonging to the lower class. It works for those students, experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and provides them with such resources, which can help eliminate the obstacles in their academic careers.
The NAEHCY has also initiated a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students at the college level.
#12 CARES Program:-
Putting their efforts in the cause of supporting those students who are facing troubles while pursuing higher education due to housing instability, a number of colleges have initiated support programs.
One such example is the Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment Services (CARES) program, initiated by the Kennesaw State University. This program facilitates students by providing them with yearly or temporary housing, a campus pantry- fully stocked with food and toiletries, one-to-one management support as well as temporary work assignments to help them pursue higher education with ease of mind.
In addition to this, the CARES program also provides scholarships to those students who face the issue of housing instability.
#13 LIM College Housing Grants:-
For those worthy students studying business and fashion at the LIM College in New York City, the institution has initiated housing grants worth $1500 each per year.
However, there is an eligibility requirement for the students to reside in the Third Avenue Residence Hall.
#14 Youngstown State University Housing Grants:-
Such unaccompanied students pursuing their degree from the Youngstown State University can benefit from the institution’s housing grant, provided that they live in university housing or courtyard apartments.
Need-based awards are given for up to $2000 per year, while priority consideration is given to those students, whose families reside 30 miles from the university campus or more.
So where to look for academic funding grants?
For most of the students trying to get through college in these times of immense inflation, a mixed bag of financial aid seems to be the only option. Even though the opportunities are quite limited as compared to the needs, there is a great possibility of worthy students getting their hands on the right one with proper planning and thoughtfulness.
So if you too are looking to compile a financial package for your college and related expenditures, make sure to give due consideration to federal, state, and institutional grants.
With that said, this article has reached its conclusion. Let us know your remarks in the comments section below. Until next time, Adios!