The student-run magazine of San Francisco State University

Xpress Magazine

The student-run magazine of San Francisco State University

Xpress Magazine

The student-run magazine of San Francisco State University

Xpress Magazine

What’s Cheaper? On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Housing


Illustration by Alex Montero and infographics by

Over the last three years, annual on-campus housing costs at SF State have increased by roughly $2,000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Curently, SF State’s website lists on-campus and off-campus housing prices as equivalent. However, according to Philippe Cumia, director of SF State student housing program, SF State’s housing office does not have access to off-campus housing prices.

SF_State_OnCampus_Housing_Price_Increase_Over_TimeClick here for interactivity on graph


Data shows that splitting a single-bedroom apartment in neighborhoods surrounding campus can be substantially cheaper than on-campus living.

So how much more does it cost to live on campus in comparison to surrounding neighborhoods such as, the Outer Sunset District, Ingleside and the Outer Richmond?

Keep in mind the following numbers are based off estimates of 2014 median rents from two different data sweeping programs and are not meant to reflect exact figures.


Sharing a double occupancy room on campus with 19 meals a week included, on average, costs $13,835 for a full, nine-month academic year, which consists of eight installment payments. This number is an average of the annual costs for Mary Park, Mary Ward, the Towers and the Village for the 2014/15 academic year.


Off-Campus One-Bedroom Apartment with Shared Room


Click here for interactivity on graph


In comparison, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Outer Sunset District is roughly $1,725, according to data provided by Priceonomics from 2014.

Split in half and multiplied by nine (to account for sharing a room for a roughly nine-month academic year) the annual cost for living in the Outer Sunset is $7,762.

Estimating that a student spends $300 a month on food, that number rises to $10,462—roughly $3,000 less than on-campus for an academic year.

Here’s the same formula applied to other surrounding neighborhoods

Ingleside: roughly $1,000 cheaper annually.

Outer Richmond: just over $2,000 cheaper annually.

Bayview: just under $5,000 cheaper annually.

Inner Sunset: about $1,500 cheaper annually.


Off-Campus Two-Bedroom Apartment with Two Shared Rooms


Annual_OnCampus_Housing_Costs_Compared_to_Splitting_a_Room_in_a_TwoBedroom_Apartment_Click here for interactivity on graph 


For instance, if four roommates were to split a two-bedroom apartment in the Outer Sunset District for the nine-month academic year (again, including the $300 a month food stipend) the estimated annual cost would be $8,550. That’s over $5,000 cheaper than on-campus housing for a year.

For other districts the numbers vary, but are consistently lower.

Outer Richmond: roughly $4,500 cheaper.

Inner Sunset: just over $4,000 cheaper.

Per Month

Put in different terms, the average monthly on-campus installment payment is $1,529.

With a $300 food stipend, a student would spend roughly $350 less a month to live in the Outer Sunset, where the median monthly rent for a one bedroom is estimated at $1,725.


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What’s Cheaper? On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Housing