How to Afford an Apartment in College: 7 Crucial Tips

how to afford a college apartment

  • offtocollege post - please share:
  • When you’re in college, you want to have the entire college experience.

    You want to have the sporting events, parties, all-nighters studying, and friendships that last a lifetime.

    You might think that you have to live in a dorm to get the full college experience, or that it costs more to rent an apartment. That’s not necessarily true.

    You need to know how to afford an apartment in college, so you end up in a better financial situation when you graduate.

    A survey of more than 7,000 college students showed that many prefer to live off-campus. In many cases, it turns out to be much less expensive than living in a dorm. They see a future where they don’t have as much debt because they made that choice.

    How can you find college apartments and save money at the same time? Keep reading to learn the top ways to do just that.

    1. Get Clear on Your Needs

    You want to get an apartment you can afford, but not at the expense of your quality of life. You need to figure out what you want in your apartment. You need to think about noise, location, layout, and more.

    Do you want to get a roommate? That’s a great way to cut down costs, but you need to room with the right person. How far away from campus can you be?

    If you’re OK with being a little far away from campus, remember that you’re going to have to fight for parking before you go to class.
    Once you know what your needs are, you can do searches online in your town.

    For example, if you’re looking for apartments near UC Davis, you can look at sites like

    You should think about furniture, too. Many college towns have second-hand stores because students are always coming and going. You can get decent furniture at a bargain.

    2. Get a Job or Side Hustle

    Many of today’s most well-known companies were started by college students. That’s how Facebook and Google got started.

    You don’t have to be a genius entrepreneur, but you can put your skills to use and get paid for them. Most programs require some kind of internship, but why work for free?

    Sign up for an account on sites like Fiverr and Upwork to sell your gigs. You can do anything from graphic design to app development.
    You can get a job at the college library, a local pizza joint, or at your favorite hangout. These are all viable options that can give you extra spending money and help you cover your rent.

    3. Stick to Your Budget

    It’s really easy to go overboard on spending one night. If that night happens to be at the end of the month, you’ll be in trouble because you’re short on rent money.

    You should always have a budget for food, fun, rent, utilities, books, projects, tuition, and emergencies. The hard part is to stay within your budget.

    This may seem foreign to college students, but it helps to have an envelope of cash set aside for fun money. Once it’s gone, so is your fun for the month.

    This ensures that you don’t go over your allotted amount and don’t have enough for rent and utilities. That can have major consequences for you and your roommate.

    4. Use Your Loan Funds

    Can you use your student loan money to pay for an apartment? Student loan funds can be used for room and board. It doesn’t mean that you have to sign up with your college’s room and board.

    You can get off-campus housing and pay for it with student loans. Before you go crazy and get a posh apartment, remember that you’re going to have thousands in student loan debt that takes years to pay off.

    Think about that carefully before you sign a lease. Sure, you can get a sweet apartment now, but you might not be able to afford to buy a home after graduation.

    5. Find a Sublease

    One sticking point to finding a great and affordable apartment is that you usually have to sign a 12-month lease. When you sign a sublease, you can rent a space for just a few months if you need to.

    A sublease means that you take over the payments on the lease and the utilities. Make sure you read the terms of the contract carefully and you meet with the landlord beforehand.

    6. Get a Co-Signer

    You might have found the perfect apartment that checks all of the boxes. You fill out an application and pay the application fee.

    The landlord or property management denies you because you didn’t meet their income qualifications. That’s a tough thing to go through.

    One way to get around that is to have someone, such as a parent, be a co-signer on the lease. If you miss a rent payment or have any other issues, then your co-signer becomes responsible for the rent payment.

    7. Pay a Larger Security Deposit

    Landlords are wary of renting to college students. They have visions of wild parties and destroyed property. They use their property as a way to hang onto a home and use it as an investment.

    other related articles of interest:

    They don’t want some college kids to cost them a fortune in missed rent payments and other potential issues.

    The best way you can earn the trust of a landlord is to pay a higher security deposit. It shows that you’re serious and you can handle the rent payments.

    How to Afford an Apartment in College

    Do you want to save money while you’re in college? Of course, you do. That’s why the best thing you can do for yourself is to find off-campus housing.

    You can use some of the tips outlined here to discover how to afford an apartment in college. You can get a roommate, have a co-signer, or get a job. You do need to know what your needs are and look at the right places before you sign the lease.

    Check out the Tools section of this site for free downloadable resources to help you get ready for college.

    Image Credit: how to afford a college apartment by

    end of post … please share it!

    Off-to-College reference:

    GUIDE: HS junior prep for college

    facebook linkedin pinterest

    Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The commission earnings are used to defray our cost of operation.

    View our FTC Disclosure for other affiliate information.


    Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.