Students consider advantages and disadvantages of living near campus over farther away

Housing closer to campus means easier walks to class, but housing farther away brings cheaper prices.
The view of the U Center on Turner apartment buildings from the upper levels of the Todd apartment complex. U Center on Turner, while being more expensive than off campus housing, is located within walking distance of the MU campus near Greektown. Photo by Assistant Photo Editor Andrew Moore

After sharing a room with another person for a couple of months, many MU first-year students start the search for housing away from the dorms within the first semester.

Students have a large selection of options around Columbia, but decisions regarding how much a person wants to spend and where they want to commute from play a role in the way they pick housing.

For some students, living close to campus is the most viable option as it gives them a short commute and easier access to campus amenities as well as downtown.

A wide variety of apartments span the downtown area by campus. U Centre and Brookside being two of the larger complexes.

Brookside Downtown consists of apartments with 4 beds and 4 1/2 baths starting at $724 per person. It advertises the community feeling that comes with living in the heart of Columbia and so close to MU. The rate includes gym and pool access.

The District Flats, though not as large of a complex as Brookside still has many of the same amenities like a game room and outdoor patio. Rates for 4 beds and 4 baths starts at $719 per person.

For those wanting smaller units with a different feel, the Menser Building offers a “luxury boutique apartment for the sophisticated student.” With only nine 4 bed, 4 bath units on the Historic Register, prices start at $695 per person. Menser offers laundry services and ease of access to downtown CoMo but lacks the gym and community areas that Brookside and the District Flats offer.

U Centre on Turner, only a short walk from Greektown and the School of Journalism, gives students their own space while still having the benefits of living close to campus.

“Living close to campus is needed when you’re a student and you can’t really drive anywhere on campus,” freshman Erin Martise said. “U Centre is nice because it’s only a five-minute walk from the main buildings on campus compared to a 15-minute walk if you’re on the edge of campus.”

Closer campus living also means higher rent per month. An apartment at U Centre on Turner starts at $799 a month per bedroom in a four-bedroom and bath apartment.

Downtown offers a wealth of other options for students to explore but most apartments stay within the $650-750 price range. If students want something a bit more spacious and at a lower price point, getting a house farther away from campus is another possible option.

A little farther off campus but not quite too far, The Den offers 4 bed, 4 bath apartments at a lower price than those downtown. Starting at $435 per person, renting an apartment at The Den also includes a heated saltwater pool, yoga room and hammock lounge.

Students who want to make an even bigger step out of the dorms can opt to rent a house. Grayson Cottages, a few minute drive from campus, offers 4 bed, 4 1/2 bed lodges starting at just $370 per person.

Elevate 231 is only a 10-minute drive off campus. It has much of the same amenities as U Centre on Turner like a pool and workout center but comes at a much lower price. Housing at Elevate 231 for four bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths costs $375 a month per bedroom.

With lower rent also comes higher gas prices due to the drive back and forth from campus every day. Freshman Paige Pieper said that she didn’t mind the drive when it came to considering housing for next year.

“Even though it may be more difficult to get to classes, my roommates and I decided to live further off campus to find cheaper rent,” Piper said. “It will also let me feel more at home at Mizzou and closer to my roommates.”

Whether on or off campus, moving out of the dorms provides students with a greater degree of autonomy than what they experienced freshman year. Most apartments and houses give students their own rooms and allow them to make food for themselves in their own kitchens.

Though many MU students still do choose to stay in the dorms all four years, maybe even applying to be a Residential Advisor to earn free room and board.

Expansive housing options cater to all possibilities for student living. The question stands then as to whether or not students will pay more for the convenience of housing closer to campus or save the dime and move further off campus.

Edited by Laura Evans | levans@themaneater.com

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