Opinion: Why living off-campus is the best housing for students

I have a friend who once lived in the Court 17 apartments with a roommate. Her cute college pad was complete with a workspace, a couple small bookshelves, her computer and a Netflix subscription, along with other amenities such as a kitchen space. While rent wasn’t a concern for my friend, and the ease of transportation was a great benefit, I do have to say that I’m a stickler for staying off campus when it comes to living arrangements.

For one, living with a small group of roommates off campus in a larger apartment or house can reduce the individual costs of living by splitting rent evenly among housemates. Not to mention, upkeep of the living space could be easier since responsibilities, such as washing the dishes or picking up common areas, can be shared between housemates.

Of course, if one wanted to live off-campus, one would have to pay out of pocket for utilities such as heating, electric and water. Court 17 includes these charges and other amenities in its flat rate rent packages, though the rent is charged per person, and rooms are charged by floor plan. For example, I could share an apartment with three other people for around $750 per person per month, but a shared one bed/one bath is almost a grand per person. Not to mention, undergraduates are required to share bedrooms with other roommates. This does not include other fees such as the $210 quarterly parking fee, application fees or common area damage fees for damage that is beyond “normal wear and tear.”

Another benefit of off-campus living — albeit a personal preference — is the distance it can provide. Despite the ease of access to campus and downtown Tacoma, living on campus is confining as it serves as a constant reminder of the responsibilities that university life bears — such as academic studies or tuition.

Living in an off-campus apartment comes with its own complexities as well — as anyone with heavy feet or a knack for inviting a group of friends into one common space would know. However, living off campus would overall prove to be a relaxing and satisfying arrangement. One would be able to leave campus and live a short distance away at a place of their own, where they have other familiar roommates to live with while having a private space to work and unwind. The downside to living off campus may be the inability to access transportation such as walking, biking or using an ORCA card for public transportation via Pierce Transit. While transportation costs would therefore presumably be much higher when living off-campus, the overall benefits just seem more liberating, and I’d be willing to pay more to enjoy them.