11 Colleges With the Cheapest On-Campus Housing

These schools give students the opportunity to save big on room and board expenses.

By Ashley Henshaw | February 17, 2017

Four students chill in their dorm room at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Photo: Nwosu.edu

While there’s been plenty of press about the rising costs of tuition, many students forget to also factor in the pricey room and board fees they’ll face if they plan to live on campus. Because some freshmen are required to live in on-campus dormitories, many students are left with no choice but to pay these high costs for housing and meals. If you’re hoping to save on college expenses, check out these colleges with the cheapest on-campus housing.

Rising Costs

According to Forbes, prices for room and board have risen significantly in recent years. The average cost of room and board in 2010 rose to $8,000.

At public four-year colleges and universities, the cost of living can be more than tuition. According to the 2012 Trends in College Pricing report from CollegeBoard, the average cost for room and board at public four-year institutions was $9,205.

The costs can be just as high at private universities; according to Forbes, Sarah Lawrence College charges the highest room and board fees in the nation at $13,000 per year. Students who are worried about financing their college education can’t overlook these costs since they could more than double the amount they owe for every year that they choose to live on campus.

While high living costs may be overwhelming, many college students are able to save money by living off-campus.

Cheapest Room and Board

Considering the limited kitchen facilities in most dorms, students that choose to live on-campus often opt to enroll in the college’s meal plan. Typically lumped together in one “room and board” fee, on-campus housing and dining is the most affordable at the following universities:

Northwestern Oklahoma State University: $3,900
Located in Alva, Northwestern Oklahoma State University requires that all freshmen live on campus. Students can choose from double-occupancy or private rooms in one of the four single-sex residence halls, with most rooms arranged as part of a three-room suite with private showers and restroom facilities. When it comes to dining, there are two on-campus choices where students can use their meal plan – a cafeteria in one of the residence halls or a food court in the student center.

Rust College: $4,000
Rust College is one of the oldest historically black colleges in the U.S. Located in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the school has six residence halls – three female, two male and one single-parent apartment facility. Rust College’s on-campus housing facilities host a number of events, including seminars, games and movie nights. Each hall also has a lounge with a flat-screen TV and cable service. Students can dine in a cafeteria in Shaw Hall or at the on-campus snack bar.

William Carey University: $4,080
Located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, William Carey University is one of four nationally ranked colleges in U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top ten colleges with the cheapest room and board. Out of over 100 universities in the South, William Carey is ranked 36th. The university has four women’s and four men’s residence halls, all of which have wireless Internet, laundry facilities and cable hook-ups. Students can choose from a meal plan that includes 10, 14 or 20 meals per week, which can be enjoyed at the on-campus dining hall.

In addition to cheap room and board, William Carey University also offers athletic, academic and church-related scholarships.

Cheapest College Dorms

If you’re looking for the cheapest on-campus housing facilities (meal plans not included), then you’re in luck. U.S. News and World Report put together a list of the colleges and universities with the cheapest college dorms. The following are the three colleges that topped the list:

Northwestern Oklahoma State University: $1,300
Topping both the list for cheapest dorm and the list for cheapest room and board, NWSU is certainly a top choice for saving on living expenses. In addition to the amenities mentioned above, each dorm at NWSU also includes free laundry facilities, microwaves, ice machines, vending machines, recreational areas and air-conditioned rooms.

Dixie State College: $1,450
Located in Saint George, Utah, Dixie State College offers traditional dorms and on-campus apartments for students. Each dorm has a lounge with a big-screen TV, a DVD player and cable service. The housing fee includes cable and Internet service in each room.

Concordia College: $1,500
Concordia College is a private, Lutheran institution in Selma, Alabama. The college offers five residence halls where each room includes wireless Internet access and cable. In addition, upper-class honors students can apply to live in the college’s on-campus cottages.

Dixie State College's Nisson Towers are some of the most inexpensive dorms around.
Photo: Dixie.edu

Military Colleges

If you want affordable on-campus housing, you won’t find anything cheaper than the dorms at our nation’s military colleges. In addition to housing, tuition, books, medical care and dental care are all fully paid for all four years when you attend one of these institutions. However, the colleges are highly selective, and students who attend have to serve a minimum of five years in the U.S. military after graduation. This option is available at all five military service academies:

To find out about additional colleges and universities with cheap on-campus housing, visit U.S. News and World Report’s lists of the cheapest dorms and the cheapest room and board fees. And while these high costs may be overwhelming, remember that many college students are able to save money by living off-campus after their freshman year.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Housing
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Most Affordable Public Colleges

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