How Much Does a College Dorm Cost?

College is an expensive time because students need to finance not only their education but their own food, living accommodations, car fuel, and plenty of other things as well. So, the question is, how much does a college dorm cost, and is that price worth it or not?

While the cost does vary a little by the university, the average cost of living in a college dorm is usually anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000. Generally, the cost will be slightly lower if the student were to attend a public university. Private universities are usually more expensive.

Whether living in a dorm is worth it or not is only for you to say, but there are a few helpful details that could help you make a good decision. Below you will find a rundown of some average college costs paired with the cost of living in a dormitory. By the end, you should know whether or not dorm life is the right choice for you!

Dorm Life and Other College Costs

As mentioned above, dorm rent could cost you anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000. You might find a little bit of variance by school but that is perfectly normal.

Just know that if you attend a public university, your tuition will likely be cheaper than if you were to attend a private university. Some religious universities may charge more or less than other private schools.

So that’s what you’ll have to pay for a dorm. $15,000 is no joke. Heck, $8,000 is no joke, especially not when you’re a poor college student.

However, that is not the only cost that will be expected of you during college. You will also have to pay for groceries which, especially nowadays, are steadily increasing in price.

Related Article: How Many Hours Should You Work While in College?

This means you could potentially be spending a couple hundred dollars on groceries every month. If you are lucky enough to have a car, you will also have to spend money on gas which will also take a fair chunk out of your budget.

You may also have to pay for parking passes. This, too, could lend itself to the expenditure of over $80-$100 every month as well.

On top of that, we have tuition to reckon with. While some universities have cheap tuition (as little as $2,895 per semester!) most universities will be charging between $25,000-$50,000 a year for tuition. That, combined with dorm prices and the essentials has you spending potentially $65,000 or more every year on your college experience.

That’s a lot of money whether you’re rich or poor. Everybody’s circumstances are different and that may not be a huge deal for you. However, if you are seriously questioning your desire to live in a college dorm, you may want to know about a few pros and cons of doing so.

Read Next: What to Bring to a College Dorm: Full List

The College Dorm Pros and Cons: Is It Worth It?

If you are unsure whether dorm life is actually life for you, you may want to know a few pros and cons of living in one of these housing units. There are definite strengths and weaknesses to this living situation, so let’s explore a few of these before you decide!


Dormitories often come with required meal plans. While required is a word that often puts people off, this might be a good thing since you may be able to cover food, room, and board with one move.

You will not have to spend any additional money on groceries and you won’t have to worry about cooking your food after a long day either. Instead, you can head to the dining hall, eat, and go home to rest and take a break.

If you have a fear of missing out or being alone, then living in a dorm is definitely for you. You will most likely be sharing a room with somebody, so this will be a chance for you to make new and close friends and get to know new people. The social opportunities alone are one of the main reasons dorms are popular!

Above all else, college dorms are convenient. This is especially true for students who are not fortunate enough to have cars or other means of transportation. If you live in a dorm, the campus will just be a quick walk away, and whether rain or shine, this is a pretty ideal situation. So, if you love walking and want easy access to campus events, choose a dorm.

If you are like most people, cleaning is not your favorite thing to do. However, you won’t have to do quite as much of it if you live in a dorm. The rooms are modern and nice, but they do tend to be a little bit smaller. While some may not view this as a good thing, at the end of the day, less space means less cleaning to do.


The noise can be unbearable.

Yes, college dorms can be some of the loudest places on campus!

You will not only be living in close quarters with other people (whom you may or may not get along with) but you will also have to deal with any obnoxious neighbors who decide that their room is party central in the dorm. If this is something you don’t think you can handle, it is probably best that you choose an off-campus apartment.

Unfortunately, because they can be so expensive, dorms are not always ideal. If you are particularly crafty with grocery shopping and getting the other essentials of life for yourself, a dorm and meal plan may not be worth the flat rate price. You should always go with the option that best suits you and your financial needs.

Additionally, you will have little to no privacy. Living with a roommate can be exceptionally fun, but it can also be invasive if you are a particularly private person. You will not only be sharing a room but a bathroom, living room, and kitchen as well. If you value alone time, a dorm is probably not the right choice.

Related Article: Can You Drink In College Dorms?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts