Take out loans to live on campus or lose out on a collegiate rite of passage?

Michelle Singletary

Many colleges and universities require freshmen to live on campus, knowing that many will have to borrow to do so. (Schools often waive the requirement under certain circumstances, including “extreme” financial hardship or if a student will live nearby with a parent or guardian.)

In pitching the benefits, schools argue that students who live in residence halls have an easier transition to college life.

For in-state students living on campus at public four-year colleges and universities this school year, room and board represented an average of 42 percent of their estimated budget, according to the College Board. Tuition and fees constituted 39 percent.