Where to live? Check your pocketbooks, priority

October 23, 2008 by Jared McDonald NMSU Round Up

Every student attending NMSU has the option to live on campus. There are several different housing options that fit individual student needs, but what about students on tight budgets?

Advantages of living on campus are the convenience of being closer to class and not having to drive to a quiet study hall. Throw a bicycle or skateboard in the mix, and getting around is even easier.

“I absolutely love living on campus,” said Rose Vasquez, a Chamisa Village resident. “Because I have a campus meal plan, everything I need to survive is near the area.”

Like many other students, Vasquez has a part-time job working for the university and is actively involved with student clubs. She said the only reason she leaves campus is either to go to a grocery store once every two weeks or to hang out with friends.

“I never feel that I’m wasting money on gas,” Vasquez said. “Students can’t get better locations than the Chamisa, Garcia, Rhodes-Garrett, Monagle and Piñon Halls. They’re [all] within walking distance of Corbett Center.”

Vasquez said the only problem she has faced is the temptation of her apartment only being a walk away and how easy it would be to go home and a nap or watch TV instead of attending class.

Vasquez also said she feels like she connects more with her roommates and the campus community.

“When you’re around people the same age as you and in the same classes, you spend a lot more time getting to know them,” Vasquez said.

On the other hand, many students prefer to live away from campus.

Ethan Maestas, a civil engineering major, said he chooses to live off campus because he feels it gives him more freedom.

“I have my own space and have a chance to get away from the campus life every now and again,” Maestas said. “Plus I have the companionship of a dog which I wouldn’t be allowed to [have] if I were living in a dorm.”

One of the biggest factors in deciding to live on or off-campus is money. Some students agree that the convenience of living on campus outweigh the price, while others think it’s better to be fiscally smart.

On-campus housing costs depend on a single or double occupancies, dorm or apartment and community or suite bathroom. According to the NMSU Housing Web site, the cheapest option for on-campus housing is $1,456 per person per semester, living in a Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel Hall double occupancy with a community bathroom. The most costly is $2,999, which is a two-bedroom private apartment in the Vista del Monte community.

“I pay about $2,200 a semester for living in Chamisa,” Vasquez said. “They’re really nice compared to a dorm because you have a kitchen and living room, share a bathroom with only one other person, and the best part is you have your own bedroom.”

Many students agree that apartments in Las Cruces are on average cheaper than other parts of the country, and there are a lot of off-campus options still close to the university.

“I pay about $250 a month, with utilities,” Maestas said. “I share the rent with two roommates and [I’m] only about a mile away from campus.”

Maestas said he likes having a place of his own because he feels more responsible. He said, sooner or later, students will have to lease an apartment or house and it’s good to learn the ins-and-outs early.

Maestas also said most students feel more comfortable living off-campus because they don’t have to worry about packing their things at the end of a semester.

“When you live outside a dorm you feel more grounded,” Maestas said.


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