Penn Staters offers tips to help students stick to their budget when researching housing options | University Park Campus News

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Living at Penn State — whether on or off campus — can quickly rack up a hefty bill, but for student Cali Capetola, she said she thinks it’s all about finding a place in her budget.

“Honestly, it depends on where you live, how much money you’re going to spend,” Capetola (PR and Psychology) said. “I know some of the newer apartments are really, really expensive, and I honestly don’t think they’re worth it for what you get.”

She insisted on the fact that it is better to find what you need than to get lost in the conveniences of certain buildings.

“If you’re trying to stick to a budget, find roommates, and split the costs of things, and you don’t have to have it all,” Capetola said.

Gina DiCarlo, who pays for her own accommodation, agreed that having roommates can help offset the various costs of living downtown.

“Having your roommates on the same page with how much you want to spend,” said DiCarlo (Junior Health-Biobehavioral Health), “is helpful for communicating with them.”

DiCarlo said she thinks the west side of downtown is often overlooked.

“A lot of houses on the west side of campus are much cheaper than right downtown,” DiCarlo said.

Some students, like Matt Thompson, said they had had bad luck when it came to finding housing for next fall.

“I tried living off campus, and it didn’t really work out,” said Thompson (a freshman in Theater Design and Technology).

And part of his problems stemmed from his inability to find the right roommates, he said.

“[You need to] find people who really want to live off campus and stick with them,” Thompson said. “People will try to crumble or it won’t work.”

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Thompson’s friend Owain Milliken said they will also be living on campus next fall, but for different reasons.

“I guess it’s sort of a personal choice of what you think is best,” said Milliken (a freshman in Theater Design and Technology). “I found that living in the North [housing] domain helped me much more in first year with its relation to everything else [on campus]and it is a quieter area.”

However, Giani Clarke was able to snag a downtown apartment for next fall and said she found housing resources on Penn State’s official housing website helpful in the process.

Clarke (freshman-elementary education) said she found an even more helpful resource, though.

“What helped me the most was talking to the upper classes,” Clarke said. “Because the process was happening so fast in October or even November, you had to work fast and find a bunch of different places, different options.”

If students are looking for budget options, Clarke suggested looking further from campus.

For Honeya Alqah, some of the important amenities in a potential apartment are “transportation, eating areas [and] markets”.

Alqah (junior-criminology) said that ultimately, however, it’s important to choose a location that meets their specific needs.

Alqah suggested the students put their budget in writing – something she said she likes to do herself.

“I’m going to save up and make a list of things I have to pay for,” Alqah said. “Write it.”

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