Is student housing better than renting an apartment in Toronto?

For students, just one of the major decisions to make when you get accepted to university is where to live: In student housing, or in an off-campus apartment.

Which is better?

Obviously, there are pros and cons to each. So we broke down the costs, drawbacks and benefits to each options so you can decide what’s best for you.

Student Housing/Residence

Cost: $2,000/month, including a meal plan and utilities

*about $16,000 for the 8-month school term at U of T


  • close to class
  • surrounded by fellow students
  • parties
  • meal plan = no cooking
  • no apartment hunting required


  • limited interaction with non-students
  • you’re always at school
  • parties
  • no kitchen = no cooking
  • 8 months only. If you plan to work for the summer, find somewhere else to live
  • very small space
  • can’t choose your roommate

Renting an Apartment

Cost: $800/month, not including meals or utilities

*sharing a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate; including meals and utilities, est. $1,240/month

  • Internet: $40/month
  • Utilities: $100/month
  • Groceries: $300/month


  • choose your location in a neighbourhood you like
  • meet your neighbours
  • have your own food, ability to cook and eat healthy
  • 12-month lease, great if you’re staying for the summer
  • choose your roommate
  • choose what you pay for rent


  • buying groceries, cooking
  • apartment hunting
  • travel to get to class
  • fluctuating cost of utilities

Deciding between student residence and an apartment? Which would you choose? Add your own considerations in the comments below!

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Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

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