Contributed by: Catherine Winters
Living on campus seems expensive, but have you ever considered what you get for your money? Of course, you're paying for a place to live. A studio apartment in this area of the city is $1,600 a month, which is comparable to what "rent", would be on campus. However, this does not include everything you get on-campus.
Even if your rent includes heat and hot water, you'll still be paying for things like electricity and internet. This would be an additional $70-$100 a month, but could be up to $300 depending on whether you also need to pay for gas or decide to get cable.
You'll also need to put down a security deposit, which at a whole month's rent is much steeper than the $250 at Simmons. Many times a broker's fee is also assessed, adding an additional $800-$1600.
So far, this means for nine months, you'd be paying $17,430 compared to $13,736 to live on campus. Even if you paid $25 a night every night to stay during Winter Break, it'd still only be $14,311. That is if you could even rent for only nine months. Many apartments in Boston run on a full-year lease and it is the renter's responsibility to find a sublet.
This doesn't even address that the cost of Room and Board includes a meal plan. Besides the convenience of not having to cook, you're saving money on groceries. The USDA estimates that individuals between the age of 19-50 should spend $162.40-$182.00 a month on the "thrifty" plan. Even if you survive off plain pasta, oatmeal and peanut butter and jelly, you'll still be spending at least $30 a month. And you'll likely get scurvy.
It is also unlikely that you'll be able to find a furnished apartment, so you'll either need to find a way to transport furniture you already own or buy new furniture. Furnishing an empty apartment can be $500-$2000.
So, including all these costs, if you lived off-campus for a year it would cost you $22,030. Paying to live in a double all-summer would only bump up your housing cost $16,691. Even buying groceries all summer you wouldn't spend that much more.
You could live farther away from campus. You could get a room with housemates for $550-$850 in Jamaica Plain. Living in JP, you'd need to either drive in or take public transportation. If you choose to drive, you'll need to pay for insurance, gas, car maintenance, etc. This can vary greatly depending on how often you drive and the age and condition of your car, but a parking pass at Simmons will run you $300. If you take the T in, you can get a semester pass for $249.20. If you can find a situation like this, it would be comparable to living on campus, assuming all your utilities are included, you don't have to pay for Internet, and that your room is already furnished.
This doesn't include use of the gym, the programming available, or the resources on campus. And, of course, no price can be put on the community of living on a college campus and being able to create close and lasting friends with those nearby. It may seem expensive to live on campus, but you can't beat the price!