Most colleges and universities do not require you to live in a residence hall for all four years of school. Even if you do live on campus for the first two years, many students move off campus junior and senior year. At some point, you may need to rent a house or apartment. In this article, we are going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to find student rent assistance. Keep reading to find the best solution for your housing needs.
Step 1: Find a place to live
Depending on what university you are attending, finding housing can be the most difficult part of the process. Start looking for your apartment or house a year in advance, and take tours of multiple places so that you can get a feel for the different types of landlords, apartment complexes, and amenities.
Once you find places that you can see yourself living, look at the cost of monthly rent, amenities, and utilities. Determine whether or not the price is something that you are willing and able to pay, and go from there. Remember not to stretch your budget too thin!
Step 2: Complete your FAFSA
For most things related to college, filling out the FAFSA is the number one step to complete. Federal aid and many scholarships and grants are contingent upon information from the FAFSA, so it really is important to complete as early as possible, and always by the deadline.
The FAFSA can give you access to Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and more. All of these are applicable for housing and tuition, along with other fees that may come along during the process.
Step 3: Start applying for scholarships
Many scholarships can be used for anything relating to school, and this includes housing as well. If you are confused on where to start, you can log into Scholarships360 to create a profile with our scholarship database and search tool, which will make it easier to find scholarships that are more fine-tuned to you as a person, both academically and personally. There are a plethora of opportunities for international students to apply for scholarships as well.
Your school may also offer scholarships that can be applied to housing. Go to your university’s scholarship page on their website and check out all of the academic scholarships you are eligible for. Some schools may automatically put you into the running for awards, while you’ll have to apply for others with a special application.
Also see: How to save money in college
Alternative options for student rent assistance
If you find yourself at a disadvantage when searching for housing assistance, there are a few options to try. Remember, before your situation becomes dire, reach out to your college or university for assistance. Perhaps they have a solution, or someone who can guide you toward one. For now, the following options are worth exploring.
Emergency housing assistance through Catholic Charities
If you feel that you are at risk of not having housing. Catholic Charities offers one-time help for students in need, and you do not need to be Catholic to utilize their services. Some of these organizations will pay for your security deposit, first month’s rent, as well as other fees that may come with it.
Also see: All about emergency student loans
Section 8 housing and Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD)
These government sponsored programs are for individuals who are at risk of experiencing housing insecurity. College students can be eligible for Section 8 housing depending on their income. Because HUD is government sponsored, you will need to apply at the public housing agency closest to the college you are attending.
The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development has various programs for students who are struggling. HUD’s Neighborhood Choice program utilizes private and public funding to address struggling neighborhoods. They also give more options for grants that you can apply to for funding for housing.
Also see: All about emergency financial aid
Become a Resident Assistant (RA)
If you are struggling to find affordable housing, or you can’t seem to find any apartments or houses left open in your college town, you can always apply to be a Resident Assistant. Not only do most RAs get free housing and occasionally a meal plan, but they also get paid hourly when they are working. Apply as early as possible, as resident assistant positions require applications and can be competitive to receive.
Being an RA comes with responsibility, as you will be in charge of a group of students that are your age or younger. If you feel that you are up for the challenge, go for it! This is a great way to acquire free housing, develop leadership skills, and make friends along the way.
Closing thoughts on finding student rent assistance
Ultimately, there are many ways that you are able to find off-campus housing without breaking your bank. With grants, scholarships, and government assistance programs, there are many options. Start your search early on so that you find housing that is affordable, safe, and comfortable as you continue your higher education studies.
At Scholarships360, we understand that the college application process is a stressful time for students, and that is why we want to make it easier on you! If you want to learn more about grants, scholarships, and housing, check out some of our other articles! Good luck on your college journey!
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