According to the College Board's annual Trends in College Prices study, the average room and board cost for private colleges around the nation is $12,680. The cost is higher than most public schools, whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. Although room and board costs are high, there are private colleges with affordable room and board rates throughout the US. The following five private colleges have room and board prices below the 2018-2019 average.
#5 Luther College - Decorah, Iowa
Luther College is a private, undergraduate liberal arts college in Iowa. Room and board (double room), is less than $10,000 for the academic year. Residence halls at Luther College include kitchens, laundry rooms, rooms for socializing and studying, and computer labs. Upperclassmen can participate in a lottery to live in private suites, apartments, townhouses, and homes owned by the college.
#4 Meredith College - Raleigh, North Carolina
Meredith College is a private, liberal arts college in Raleigh, North Carolina. Undergraduate programs are limited to women only, but graduate programs are coed. Housing options at Meredith College include oversize dorm rooms with air conditioning and cable TV. Senior students may choose to live in campus-owned apartments. Rooms are approximately $10,500 and include meal plans.
#3 Westminster College - Salt Lake City, Utah
Westminster College is a private, liberal arts college in Utah that started as an institute founded by the Presbyterian church. A student who chooses the most expensive housing option (a single room) and a meal plan would pay hundreds of dollars less than the national average, at just over $12,000. Juniors, seniors, and transfer students can enter a drawing to live in the luxury of Westminster on the Draw dorms, featuring private rooms, in-unit laundry, and cable TV.
#2 University of Northwestern - St. Paul, Minnesota
The University of Northwestern is a private college in St Paul Minnesota. Room and board for students is less than $10,000 annually. Complete with a lake view, the residence halls at the University of Northwestern offer a variety of amenities to keep students comfortable and entertained outside of classes. Students can take advantage of the sand volleyball court on sunny days and an indoor student center with fireplace during the winter. After working out, students at Akeson Hall can take a dip in the hot tub to recover. Each residence hall is equipped with a kitchen, and some housing options include a full in-unit kitchen.
#1 La Sierra University - Riverside, California
La Sierra University is a private Seventh-Day Adventist university in Riverside, California. Despite being located in a state with a very high cost of living, annual room and board at La Sierra University is below $12,000. A student who chooses single occupancy and the most expensive meal plan will pay $11,825 for room and board in the 2018-2019 school year. Dorms are equipped with a kitchenette including a stove and an oven, laundry facilities, and most importantly an A/C and heating unit, which can be controlled by residents.
How can I make room and board more affordable?
Although tuition and fees are set in stone, many students who look for ways to find room and board more affordable do succeed. Senior students may consider becoming a residential advisor in a residence hall in exchange for free or reduced room and board and usually a private, much larger room. If your dorm is equipped with a kitchen, another option is choosing a more affordable meal plan and cooking some meals in your dorm.