Students weigh the pros and cons of living on or off campus


Alayna Hinman | @ahinman_photos

Jada Brown, a freshman majoring in cinema, does her homework in Kellogg Hall Aug. 27, 2021, in Carbondale, Ill.

With students moving back into their campus housing spaces, some are concerned about how much the university is charging for living expenses: $5,000 a semester.

Ryaan Ligon, a junior who lived on west campus, said that price does not take into account the financial hardships students have endured throughout the pandemic.

“Not to mention most scholarships only cover tuition, which is only $5,000 a semester,” Ligon said. “You’re just kind of left with a large sum and not a lot of ways to cover it,”


Tashonn Johnson, who is a sophomore and also lives on west campus, said the university needs to better account for this type of financial strain.

“I truly believe that we should be getting some COVID relief [from the university] being that we are still living in a pandemic,” Johnson said.

Ligon said she does not feel the school is taking advantage of students, but believes the school could lower the prices.Johnson said she does feel the school is taking advantage of her and her mom, considering we are still in a pandemic.

Johnson has a strong support system to help her out financially. She said that her Mom helps her out a lot when it comes to tuition and living expenses.

However, Ligon is not so lucky. She pays for her college bills herself, and has jobs to make sure she can.

“I have to budget a lot when it comes to car insurance, phone, and medical bills and saving up for next semester,” Ligon said. “It is really tight some months, and especially in the beginning of the year and, in the end, it is tight and hard to budget.”

According to SIU-C’s housing website the average student pays around $5000 a semester for housing and an unlimited dining plan. By the end of the year, the costs will add up to around $10,000


The school dorms provide the basic necessities such as a bed, dressers and an AC unit. However, Ligon said sometimes the housing utilities breakdown, which is frustrating when paying the expense. 

Izz Derr, a part-time sophomore who lived on campus last year, said they questioned how the money was being spent.

“I definitely felt confused most of the time about where my money was going especially when talking about the dining hall,” Derr said.

Bri Ugalde has lived on campus before, and now this semester she is living with three roommates off campus.

“The reason I switched was because I knew that it is more expensive to live on room and board,” Ugalde said.“I do have three other roommates which makes rent more affordable.”

Having roommates can help cut down on rent, but Derr said, even though they live by themselves, they make enough money to pay their rent and buy necessities.

“I pay less than $1000 a month, but you also have to buy food and stuff so it is a different expense,” Derr said.

 Monthly expenses can vary depending on the person, and how much they spend.

Ugalde and Derr said both of their monthly expenses are around $600

Expenses play a big part in whether or not students want to stay on campus or off, but there can be other factors as well.

Ugalde’s reason for moving off campus was purely financial, Derr said their reason for moving was different.

“The environment of dorm life just wasn’t my thing. I felt trapped kinda and I still felt like a little kid,” Derr said.

Dorm life can be stressful for students whether it be the atmosphere feels forced or the price of the dorms do not reflect the quality of the amount being paid.

At the end of the day students have to decide what is better for them financially, paying $10,000 a school year to live in a dorm that might not be the best quality, but does provide an unlimited dining plan or living off campus and pay extra bills.

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram at @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.