SUNY Oswego on and off-housing costs add another hurdle for students

Students have enough worries with college classes alone, but then factoring in the thousands of dollars for housing just increases what they deal with. Therefore, a critical part of the college process is taking into account how much money one can save by choosing to live off campus.

“We all pay so much money to be here already and experience life,” said Taz Tony, a junior finance major.

The financial ramifications of student housing extend to many facets for SUNY Oswego students.

It’s commonplace for juniors and seniors at SUNY Oswego to look at off-campus housing, as the costs heavily favor students who live off campus.

“It might not be as nice as The Village or Lakeside Commons,” Tony said. “[But] I’m just happy to have my own place at all at this point because I’m saving so much money and I think it actually looks good compared to a lot of the places I’ve seen around town.”


Taz Tony in his off-campus house.

But as it pertains to students on campus, enough financial aid can sometimes be put towards covering the cost of their room and board.

“Many of our students apply for and receive enough aid to cover all of their expenses,” said Mark Humbert, director of financial aid at SUNY Oswego.

The aid typically comes in the form of student loans, Humbert said.

However, the data illustrates otherwise, as far as students having all of their expenses covered.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 9 percent of SUNY Oswego undergraduates had their full financial needs met, according to collegedata.com.

But this is a case-by-case thing because financial aid will differ depending on the income status of a student or their guardian(s). There are some students who, after using financial aid for tuition, do not have the remaining aid left over to allocate toward room and board costs.

The in-state costs of room and board at SUNY Oswego is $13,740, according to The College Board and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

While living off campus may alleviate the costs faced by students in on-campus housing, the very process of choosing whether to continue living on campus or having to find a place off campus can be immensely stressful.

Student housing costs fluctuate depending on the specific house or residence hall a student chooses to live in. Options on campus include the off-campus-like living experience of The Village Townhouse apartments, as explained on the school’s website.

Specifically, The Village Townhouses offer the luxury of living in a single bedroom that comes with many amenities, like air-conditioning. These apartments also include a full kitchen, full bathrooms and a living room.


The Village Townhouses. Jim Russell/SUNY Oswego

While some students may look forward to living off campus to have more independence, The Village Townhouses can offer a similar feeling right on campus.

“After living on campus for two years, I was looking forward to having my own room and having the freedom that The Village offers,” said junior Kenny D’Amico. “It was a quick decision because I was excited to get my own room and still live with my friends.”


Kenny D’Amico poses for a picture.

In total, there are 12 on-campus options for students, though there are qualifications that have to be met to live in them.

Some of the off-campus housing is very close to campus, and upperclassmen often try to capitalize on the freedom to live off campus for several reasons, with the most pressing factor being cost.

A feeling of independence is another factor for some because students often say that living on campus takes away their feeling of privacy.

“I don’t think dorm life is even close to what real life experiences are,” Tony said. “RAs are essentially your parents in the dorms.”

And he would know, having lived both on and off campus.

Property Manager of Furlong Properties in Oswego, New York, Jamie LaRochelle, echoes sentiments that many students share as it pertains to on-campus vs. off-campus costs.

“It definitely makes more sense to live off campus from a financial standpoint,” she said. “When a student moves off campus, they are generally saving between $3,000 and $5,000 for the year, which for a student paying for school in loans, that is a very large price drop they should want to take advantage of.”


Figure 5. It is considerably cheaper for in-state students to attend SUNY Oswego than out-of-state students, especially those who plan to live on campus. Source: SUNY Oswego, Furlong property averages

In the end, the decision to live on campus or off comes down to the specific student and what their situation is, but the verdict is that students prefer off-campus housing over living on campus.

“I’d tell anyone considering living off campus to definitely do it unless there’s some specific reason why they can’t,” Tony said.

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