Comfort vs Cost

A home-cooked meal, reliable Wi-Fi, unlimited cable, your family pet, fresh laundry. What are they? Just a few perks of being a student who lives at home.

Yes, I do my own laundry and occasionally have to empty the dishwasher or walk the dog. But it’s a small price to pay for the luxuries that parental support can provide.

“Everything is the exact same,” says Shanni Overton, a first-year business student at Algonquin College. “I still get my mom to make my meals.”


With the cost of living steadily rising, more and more students are considering the move, or lack thereof.

Between the three major post-secondary options in Ottawa, Algonquin College, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, the average cost for an 8-month stay in a standard residence is about $10,000, based upon double occupancy.

“I never really considered it because I know how expensive it is,” says Overton, whose boyfriend, also a student at Algonquin, does the same thing. He chooses to live at home.  “Now we can save money and be prepared for when we do move out.”

While this is an important factor for many students, saving money isn’t the only advantage to living at home.

While it’s hard enough for students to focus within a bustling post-secondary community, being on campus doesn’t ensure you’ll have the motivation and work ethic to succeed.

“To be honest, I didn’t get great marks in first year,” says Andrew (who asked that his last name not be printed), a fourth-year criminology, criminal justice and psychology student at Carleton University. “It was a lot harder working and attending class. You’d go back to res for a break and end up not going.”

While living in residence has been known to help students have a traditional college experience, it’s not worth the constant disruptions and lack of privacy.

Stephanie Bell, a business management student at Algonquin College, says if her family lived closer to the school she definitely would’ve lived at home.

“Not having to deal with loud students and being able to concentrate,” says Bell, “it would have been cheaper and less stressful on me.”

With so many exciting activities on campus and the added pressure of new independence, many students stretch themselves thin attempting to commit to full-time studies while meeting the demands of a part or even full-time work schedule.

“When I was living so close to campus, I was working so much that by the end of an overnight shift I was exhausted,” says Hannah Thibert, a graduate of the police foundations program at Algonquin. “I was able to get my homework done, but a lot of the time I would skip school so I could finish projects.”

Luckily living at home, sometimes rent-free, can remove the burden of supporting yourself while balancing a full course load.

For me, moving back in with my parents has given me the flexibility to work a part-time job I actually enjoy, the freedom to pursue my other personal interests and the motivation to work hard in my studies. This way when I do move out after graduation and start my career, I’ll be ready.