Choosing where you want to live can have a huge impact on your college experience. The difference between on-campus, off-campus, or at-home living is large and should not be overlooked. The University of South Florida is no doubt a wonderful school (and my own personal alma mater), and there are many options for housing. It's all about deciding what is best for your well-being, happiness, and financial situation that will lead to you finding your perfect USF apartment.
If you're applying for financial aid to help cover your tuition and other fees, you should be familiar with FAFSA, an application you fill out each year to determine your eligibility for financial assistance. Should you decide to live off-campus, your financial aid should not be affected as long as that is the living choice you selected while filling out this form. Typically, off-campus housing is considered less expensive than on-campus housing and the accompanying, often mandatory meal plan. This means that if you selected on-campus housing on your FAFSA, you may have been granted extra money. These numbers vary for every school in every city, so this is not always the case. It is important to check specifically with the University of South Florida first, and choose your housing accordingly.
If you're a first-year student, you may not have the option for off-campus living (as determined by the university). This rule is meant to help the student better adjust to living away from home by giving them both structure and convenience to their housing and education. However, if you are in the position to choose your living arrangement and yearn for your own private bedroom, there are ways to make living off campus easier. For example, you can start by searching for apartments near USF that are all-inclusive. This will keep your budgeting similar to that of a dorm, which will make it easier to keep up with bills. Also, if you are determined to save as much money as possible while attending school, search for cheap apartments near USF. These will most likely not be all-inclusive, but the added task of calculating and keeping track of bills will definitely result in a happier bank account.
If you are still unsure about whether or not living off-campus will affect your financial aid, then check out this article by LendKey for even more information. If you have a pet, have friends you want to live with, prefer your own personal space, or if you simply can't afford a dorm/meal plan, then it is time research some USF apartments. USF is uniquely positioned in Tampa so that there are many apartment communities in close proximity to the University. Many are also connected by the Bull Runner, so getting around the campus is very easy. Before determining what's best for you, be sure to research your options, budget your money, and consider your lifestyle and individual needs. With such a wide variety of apartment options, you really can't go wrong!