One of the major expenses when you go off to college is the cost of housing near your campus. While many students take this factor into account when they are estimating their total costs of college, others do not fully realize how expensive housing can become. Whether you live on campus in a dorm or apartment, or live off campus in a house or apartment with roommates, your housing costs can become substantial.
Most of the grants awarded to students are intended for the expressed purposes of paying for you costs of attending college. This means you costs for all expenses associated with college-from tuition, to books, to housing costs and room and board. When you are applying for financial aid, your university should include an estimated cost of room and board for each year and give you that information. However, if you find a way to pay less for housing; such as finding several roommates who are willing to share a relatively inexpensive apartment; you may be able to save on your actual housing expenses.
There are several public and private sources of funding that you may be able to use when you are looking for housing grants. The federal government has a Pell Grant program for students and families that demonstrate substantial financial need, as shown by the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are also grants awarded by private foundations, or through individual universities, that are based on either financial need, academic merit, or a combination of both. The key to receiving any of these funds is to fully complete all financial aid paperwork, especially your FAFSA, as quickly and completely as possible.
College students should use their resources as efficiently as possible while they are pursuing their degrees. If you have received grant money for your college expenses, use this opportunity to work on your budgeting and money management skills. Since you have a finite amount of financial aid awarded, and you cannot control your tuition expenses, one of the best ways to save money is to be careful with your housing expenses. If you are able to live off campus in less expensive housing, and you can find roommates to help you split utility costs and rent, it is a very wise decision to do so. By reducing your housing costs, you can use most of your grant money to pay for you other college costs.