When a student heads off to college, room and board is one of the major costs they’ll face. For students, that means a roof over their head and food in their bellies. Whether or not room and board counts toward the cost of tuition can vary from school to school, so it’s important for parents and students to understand the definition of room and board and how it might impact their college costs.
The term “room and board” means that a student will be provided with both lodging and food on a regular basis, usually in a dormitory-style setting. The lodging component of this arrangement refers to the campus dorm where the student will be housed; depending on the school, this can either be a private room or a shared room with a roommate. The food aspect of room and board typically consists of a meal plan, which gives the student access to on-campus dining options (including cafeterias, buffets and more) that are included in their room and board rate.
Some colleges require freshmen to live on campus, at least their freshman year, in order to help them get acclimated to the college environment and socialize with other students. Others allow students to commute or live off-campus, but many will still include the cost of room and board in their student’s overall costs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some colleges even offered refunds on student account fees to help students who were sent home as a result of the epidemic.
If you’re considering a school that offers room and board, it is essential to research the average cost of living in that area of the country. The housing costs will depend on whether the college is located in a big city with higher prices or if it’s in a smaller town with lower rental rates. The same goes for food prices; if the college is in New York, for example, your student will likely pay more for rent and food than they would if they were going to a university in Ohio.
Most schools list the price of room and board right on their websites, so it’s easy to learn what this significant expense will be before you enroll your student. The school’s website will also provide information on what to expect in terms of tuition, other major college costs and financial aid.
If you’re thinking about buying furniture for your college student, it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal on room and board. You may be surprised to find that a store like Room & Board is actually one of the most competitive options out there, with pieces that are 90% crafted in America using natural, sustainable materials. Unlike some other furniture stores, which have moved away from manufacturing their own lines in favor of selling other brands’ products, this company has taken the opposite approach and built a successful business on its own. This approach has rewarded them with the fastest growth (10.6%) among the top 10 furniture retailers, including Rooms To Go, Mattress Firm, Williams-Sonoma and Ikea.