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Programs that help college students pay rent

With the exception of tuition fees, rent is arguably one of the biggest expenses students need to cover. While options like dorms and off-campus homes are comparably affordable in lieu of a full-on apartment, any place to live in is considerably expensive when working with a college student’s budget.

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Apart from rent itself and the aforementioned tuition, there are also utilities, parking, laundry, and other daily expenses that can stack up quickly. This is why as a student (or parents of a student), it will be helpful to apply to all the different programs that help college students pay rent so that your finances will have a nice buffer as you attend school.

Not sure where to start? Here are some of the most common programs you can look into.


Grants are the best option to try first because, similar to scholarships, these do not need to be repaid. Apart from being ‘free money’ that is ideal for needy college students, most college grants have few restrictions, meaning they can be used to pay for room and board.

In fact, most grants are actually administered via schools’ financial aid offices, so in the event you are approved for a grant, the money you qualified for is sent directly to your school. This can be used to cover: first, to cover your tuition; second, your on-campus housing; and third, other school-related expenses you may have.

There’s a number of institutions from which you can apply for a grant, giving you a number of options in your attempt to ease student finances:

Government/Federal grants

As a prospective college student, you can receive financial assistance from the federal government. To start this process, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to calculate your ability to pay for college based on your reported income. Your expected contribution and anticipated cost of tuition and housing are what will determine if you qualify for federal grants.

Among the largest available from the government are Pell Grants, which from the 2020 to 2021 academic year, was at a maximum of $6,345 annually for full-time students. If your financial need is considered exceptional, you may also qualify for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant that amounts to as much as $4,000.

Grants from the state

If indeed there is exceptional financial need, some states can also offer additional grants. Again, a FAFSA must be filled to make the application, along with

specific income and academic requirements to be fulfilled. These often depend on the state where you’ll apply (and attending school, obviously).

In the state of Ohio, for example, the Ohio College Opportunity Grant can yield amounts that range from $150 to $2,832 annually, based on a student’s enrollment status and the type of institution being attended. As a college student in the state, you are eligible to receive awards for up to a maximum of 10 semesters or 15 quarters.

Financial assistance from the HUD

The Housing and Urban Development Department is keenly aware of how some students are disproportionately at risk of experiencing housing insecurity and is the reason why the HUD had established a few of their own programs aimed at helping struggling college students pay for housing while going to school.

One of these is the ‘Choice Neighborhoods’ program, which is said to leverage “significant public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies that address housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation.” This means revitalizing low-income neighborhoods by providing more desirable places for students to live in.

Your school

Given how most student grants are coursed directly through the school, you can expect that your school itself will be offering some form of student financial aid. The most common are offered to students who fall below certain income limits.

If not quite qualified for that, you can also opt to inquire about scholarships or work-study programs that are in line with your major. It’d be best to be quick about it, however, because funding is often limited for schools, and since there are likely other students looking for aid, time is of the essence when applying.

Private organizations

There are also some grants or financial aid from private organizations that are worth looking into. Some of these may also be programs in conjunction with your school, so of course, availability will still also depend on what school you are going to, your financial standing, and maybe even what major you are taking.

The Tylenol brand, for example, offers scholarships for students in the medical field. On the other hand, the Farmers of America–a non-profit group–awards annual financial grants to applicants who demonstrate financial need, while the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation offers supplemental grants to students of military veterans awarded the Purple Heart.

Due to the tuition, housing, and other expenses, paying for college commonly involves a combination of different types of grants and financial aid, and a working-student salary would also be very helpful.

If you require assistance in searching for viable student housing in or out of campuses, such as apartments in Knoxville, Tennessee, or dorms in Athens, Ohio, we look forward to hearing from you here at Sundance Property Management.

Our team is present in states like Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina. If you have any questions about neighborhoods or rental rates around the schools of these states, or about ways to help pay for your residence as you get your education, feel free to reach out to us by calling 513.489.3363 or sending an email to info(at)sdpmi(dotted)com.