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Housing series part 3: On-campus versus off-campus

Molly Gray / Managing editor for design

On campus or off?

Where you live can make or break a college experience. Deciding whether making a smaller rent payment outweighs dealing with landlords who don’t fix things that break should factor into your decision.

Looking for a place to sleep and shower as long as the price is right — even if the water is cold and the mattress is lumpy? Off-campus options are likely your best bet.

But if you prefer to fork over a couple extra bucks — and forgo the extra freedom that comes with leasing your own place — to have a garage where you can park your car, living in a residence hall might be the attractive option.

Though many students complain about maintenance issues in their off-campus residences, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee told The Lantern editorial board Jan. 12 that he hopes to address such issues through greater university involvement in the standards of off-campus housing.

But until that goal becomes a reality, students are faced with a decision: spend more for the convenience of a meal plan, speedy maintenance service and a parking spot; or save some money for commensurately worse maintenance response times and increased freedom.

The vast majority of students have opted for the latter.


OSU strives to resolve all service requests within 24 hours. In 2009, 66 percent of service requests were resolved within 24 hours; 82 percent were resolved within 48 hours. OSU has an online service request system for students living in its residence halls.

Landlords must make all repairs within “a reasonable amount of time,” which generally is up to 30 days. In emergencies, they might have to address the issues sooner. When making maintenance requests, students should put the requests in writing and keep a copy for themselves.


There are more than 36,000 parking spaces on campus. Several halls have their own parking lots. Yearly parking passes range from about $85-$630, depending on the location of the parking lot.

Many landlords do not offer off-street parking to tenants. Most who do offer off-street parking charge a fee for it, but some offer it for free or include it in the rent. Yearly city parking permits, for street parking, cost $25.


Residence hall rates range from $1,665-$2,290 per quarter.

Students can purchase meal plans ranging from $1,070-$1,665. There is a mandatory $525 per-quarter fee for students who do not purchase meal plans.

Apartments range anywhere from a couple hundred to more than $1,000 per month, not including utilities. A 40-swipe, off-campus meal plan is available for $420 per quarter.


About 9,900 students live on campus. Of those, about 5,500 are first-years.

About 46,100 students live

off campus or commute. 

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