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      Weighing the pros and cons of student housing options

      With a new school year on the horizon, many students are looking for on and off campus housing.

      When looking at different housing options, there are a few things to consider like convenience, location, budget or availability.

      "The advantage of living on campus, at least we feel, is a convenience factorâ?? said John Frick, Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life at Northern Michigan University. â??You are within walking distance of the rec center, you are within walking distance of all the different athletic events, and you are within walking distance of your classrooms."

      If you are looking for something with all utilities included, on campus housing may be the way to go.

      "Our room and board rates including the rental rates for the apartments are all inclusiveâ?? said Frick. â??You pay one fee, but that includes everything. That includes all of your utilities, the heat, the hot water, the natural gas, and internet access. It also includes laundry."

      Many students choose to live off campus after their junior year for the added freedoms.

      "For most students it is their first opportunity to feel independence living on their own, not under the parent's roof and can make their own mistakes if they choose to" said Joe Capuana, broker/owner of State Wide Real Estate.

      One-third of students live on campus, so living on campus can make it easier to meet new people.

      "If you are living in a traditional residence hall there are about 280 people living in your residence hallâ?? said Frick. â??You get to know most of those people over the nine months of the school year."

      A double-occupancy room on campus will cost around $600 per month, while a two bedroom apartment with utilities will cost about $800 per month. If you plan on commuting, consider the cost of driving to campus.

      "If you are looking at strictly a value standpoint, living on campus is probably slightly less expensive than living off campus" said Frick.

      The most important thing to remember is not to wait. Applications for the August 2015 have already been accepted.