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15 Best College Student Housing Programs in 2022

15 Best College Student Housing Programs in 2022

Housing costs a lot of money when you’re in school. Although some students get federal financial aid, there are various housing programs available to assist college students with these costs.


Housing programs are designed expressly to satisfy the needs of college students. This has evolved as an excellent housing choice for both students and parents. It has characteristics like leases that are related to the academic calendar and furnished units that lessen the stress of moving.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about housing programs, housing grants, and the finest housing programs for college students in 2022.


What Exactly Is a Student Housing Program?

Student Housing, also known as Purpose-Built Student Housing, is a subset of the residential real estate asset class. It is an apartment complex for university students.

Individual leases, study areas, fully furnished units, and roommate matching are among the features available in these communities. They are usually near a college campus and may provide unique residence living programs, such as Students FirstTM.

One distinguishing characteristic is that they hire students to serve as community assistants, assisting fellow student residents.

Will Student Loans Pay For Housing?

Many students who apply for federal financial help want to know if their student loans will cover their housing costs.


Federal student loans, on the other hand, cover at least a portion of a student’s housing costs. Furthermore, this money can be used for whatever school-related expenses a student sees fit. Individuals can also choose how to apply loan funds to housing, tuition, textbooks, and other expenses.

However, federal student loans are unlikely to cover the entire cost of living expenses. In most cases, students must find other ways to bridge the gap. These could include taking out private loans, unsubsidized loans, borrowing money from family members, or working while studying.

Why are there so many homeless students?

The reasons for homelessness fluctuate depending on the circumstances of each family. Researchers have found three major causes of homelessness among prospective college students.

#1 Lack of Sufficient Income

Research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that four per cent of all parents were unemployed in 2017. Although this number has decreased since the recession, unemployment isn’t the only factor.

Information from Family Promise also shows that approximately 66 per cent of poor children and those who either identify as homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless belong to families where at least one parent works.

#2 Lack of Affordable Housing

The gap between minimum wage and the cost of housing has grown ever more expansive in recent years. At the same time, federal housing subsidies and the availability of affordable housing have decreased. 

Family Promise discovered that renters must earn an average of $21.21 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in America. In the same vein, only three affordable housing rentals exist on the market for every 10 low-income families seeking a roof over their heads.

#3 Family or Parental Conflict

Most homeless youths cite the inability to remain at home with their families as the reason they are in unstable housing situations.

According to, most reasons centre around a long-standing issue rather than one that pops up quickly, with examples including violence, neglect, physical or mental abuse, or severe conflict. For these children, homelessness often feels like the lesser of two evils.

study by Journeys Home discovered that 62 per cent of homeless students stated that conflict or a family breakdown drove them from home.

There Are Several Ways College Students Can Apply For Housing Assistance

Homeless students are an underserved and ignored community. This is largely due to a huge miscalculation of the true scope of the problem.

Not only that, but one of the most expensive aspects of education is housing. As a result, college students should always look for rental aid programs. Submit an application for housing grants as well.

Here are some options for housing aid as a college student:

#1 Research All Federal Or State Grants

You may be eligible for a state grant if you attend a college or university in your state. In New Jersey, for example, there is the Educational Opportunity Fund. This is provided to those who are at a disadvantage economically or educationally.

The funds can be used for accommodation, books, a food plan, and any other educational expenses.

Cal Grant B applicants must be California residents. This program provides a stipend for attending any state institution, community college, or qualifying career or technical school.

In addition, college students may be eligible for a variety of federal grants that can be used to pay for housing. Students pursuing any form of teaching degree, for example, may be eligible for Teacher Education Assistance for College.

#2 Contact Catholic Charities

The best part is that you don’t have to be Catholic to take advantage of Catholic Charities’ rental assistance programs.

Some branches of the organization offer one-time help to anyone, including students, who are at risk of becoming homeless.

The organization goes on to pay a security deposit. This also includes your first month’s rent, as well any arrears you might have accumulated over the course of the last three months.

#3 Section 8 or 42 Housing Assistance

Depending on the level of income and circumstances, college students could be eligible for either Section 8 or Section 42 housing assistance.

These college students housing programs are government-sponsored. So, you’ll need to apply at the public housing agency closest to the educational institution you plan to attend.

Generally, Section 42 requires individuals to have an income between 30 and 60 percent of the county’s average median income. Section 8 income requirements fall in the 30 to 50 percent range.

#4 Make a Net Wish

College students suffering from housing problems are welcome to make a wish on Net Wish. Requests may include assistance with both rent or security deposits.

Wishes are only granted in amounts up to $200, but students can utilize this resource to help ease their financial burden.

#5 Apply to the Gradient Gives Back Foundation

Families that already have a home or are leasing an apartment but are finding it hard to keep up with the payments can seek assistance from the Gradient Gives Back Foundation.

The organization would make mortgage and lease payments on behalf of its recipients. Even though the foundation is based in Minnesota, you can apply while studying at any college in the United States.

#6 Become an RA

College students who plan on living in their college dorms also have the option of applying to become a resident assistant, commonly known as an RA.

In exchange for promoting a community atmosphere, assisting fellow students, and monitoring the dorms, the resident assistants would be rewarded with a housing stipend.

Each college and university has its own GPA and credit completion requirements for RA applicants.

Best Housing Programs Available For College Students

Because most college students are living away from home for the first time, finding an apartment to reside in can be a significant strain.

As a result, there are various top housing programs in the United States for campus students who cannot pay housing costs. This lowers both the cost and the stress of college life.

As a result, there are various top housing programs in the United States for campus students who cannot pay housing costs. This lowers both the cost and the stress of college life.

#1 National Center for Homeless Education

The NCHE is based at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and partners with parents, schools, and service providers to ensure that homeless students have access to the education and resources they need to succeed.

So, the NCHE provides information about ongoing legislation, programs, and resources relevant to their needs on local, state, and national levels.

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#2 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD works with community partners across the country to secure assistance for homeless youth and adult populations. Additionally, HUD devotes resources to facilitating collaborative efforts between homeless service providers and educational systems.

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#3 United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

USICH aims to end and prevent homelessness in unaccompanied youth under the age of 25. This council is responsible for coordinating the federal government’s response to the homelessness epidemic.

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#4 National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

NAEHCY works to eliminate the obstacles homeless students face while they are pursuing higher education. Its mission is to promote equity for students experiencing homelessness or housing instability. A scholarship fund exists to help students pursuing college degrees.

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#5 Homes for Students of Higher Education

Homes for Students of Higher Education provides homeless students with care packages, shelter, and educational material to increase their awareness of the resources available in their communities.

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#6 CTLaw Help

CTLaw Help is a network of legal professionals committed to providing free legal help to low-income citizens of Connecticut.

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#7 is a search engine that allows students to find and access affordable housing in the US.

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#8 Resident Life Offices

Recognizing the growing problem, more and more colleges now provide resources to help homeless students. For instance, Kennesaw State University’s Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment Services (CARES) provides year-round housing, temporary housing, a campus pantry stocked with both food and toiletries, one-to-one case management support, temporary work assignments, and scholarships to help students who previously experienced homelessness or are currently dealing with housing insecurity.

How To Apply For Financial Aid/Housing Grants

First and foremost, students who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and “unaccompanied” are eligible to receive student aid.

As a matter of facts, students are asked about their living status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

According to the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association, an unaccompanied youth is a student under the age of 21 who “is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.” A student who is at risk of being homeless is “self-supporting and has been evicted [and] is unable to find fixed, regular, and adequate housing.”

So, for you to prove that you are homeless, you must submit proper documentation. Homeless college students can secure this designation from their high school or school district representative, the director of an emergency/transitional shelter or housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the director of a runaway or homeless youth center.

However, if a student cannot receive a homeless youth determination from any of the above sources, then he can still submit his FAFSA and then seek the determination from his college’s financial aid administrator.

Also, if students wish to complete a FAFSA with unaccompanied and homeless status but they are no longer a youth, they can submit the application without parental information and then request a dependency status appeal through the financial aid office at their school.

Students interested in obtaining more information related to their dependency status can contact the Office of Federal Student Aid or read FAFSA’s tips for unaccompanied youth without stable housing.

Housing Grants Available For Colleges Students

As discussed earlier, there are several housing grants available for college students to help cover cost of housing.

#1 FAFSA® Awards

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form every college student fills out if they hope to receive grants, loans, or work-study funding from the federal government.

So, complete the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to receive financial aid from the government. The application process is simple and can be completed quite easily.

These funds can help pay off the final cost of housing and ensure learners avoid significant student debt, so applying is a critical step in the process of getting to college.

However, filling it out as a homeless learner, a student living in foster care, or a degree seeker in any other special circumstance isn’t as easy as it is for those with permanent homes, but it can still be done.

The FAFSA® gives you access to Pell Grants (up to $6,195), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (up to $4,000), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (up to $4,000), and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (up to $5,920). All of these can be used for housing.

How To Apply For FAFSA

  • Visit
  • When completing the application, students identifying as homeless should indicate that they fall into the “special circumstances” category, meaning they cannot provide financial information about their parents.
  • When prompted, answer the following question: “At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at the risk of being homeless?”
  • Answer the following two questions that seek clarification about who made the determination.
  • From there, a FAFSA representative reviews the application. They will contact you for proof of determination via a copy of the report.
  • If you haven’t been deemed homeless but feel your situation merits additional considerations, contact the department of financial aid at the institution you plan to attend and explain your circumstances. The school can then make a decision on whether you are regarded as independent or dependent.

#2 State Awards

You can receive additional grants and scholarships from your state of residence. In California, for instance, you can apply for Cal Grants when you submit your FAFSA®.

These awards go to high school seniors who will attend a California University. Verify with your school’s financial aid department to see what state grants are available and whether you’re eligible to apply.

#3 Institutional Awards

Your school may also offer grants and scholarships to help cover housing. Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, for instance, offers grants up to $4,000 specifically for housing to students in need. Again, you’ll need to check with your financial aid department to learn more about these opportunities, whether you’re eligible, and how you can apply.

#4 Emergency Housing

In cases where you risk losing your housing or being unable to continue your education because you can’t afford a place to live, you can reach out to emergency housing services for assistance.

For example, Catholic Charities — a nonprofit and the fifth-largest charity in the United States — provides emergency housing assistance through one-time financial aid. This can be used to pay rent. 

United Way 211 is another resource you can use if you need emergency help with paying for housing.

College students can also apply for the Section 8 program.

To be eligible for housing programs/grants, you have to prove that you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and “unaccompanied”.

If you’re wondering whether you can rent student housing if you’re not actually a student, the answer is “maybe.” There is no universal policy regarding non-students living in student housing.

Since most times, parents normally cover rent payments, it’s usually safe to rent to college students.

FAQs on the Housing Programs for College Students

Will Student Loans Pay For Housing?

Federal student loans actually cover at least a portion of a student’s cost of housing. However, it is unlikely that federal student loans will cover the full cost of accommodation.
Students generally have to find other means to close the gap. These may include taking out private loans, unsubsidized loans, borrowing money from family members, or holding a job while pursuing their degree.

Why are so many students facing homelessness?

The reasons for homelessness vary in different families’ situations. They may include:
#1. Lack of Sufficient Income
#2. Lack of Affordable Housing
#3. Family or Parental Conflict

How Can College Students Apply For Housing Assistance?

Here are a few ways you can get housing assistance as a college student:
#1. Research All Federal Or State Grants
#2. Contact Catholic Charities
#3. Section 8 or 42 Housing Assistance
#4. Make a Net Wish
#5. Apply to the Gradient Gives Back Foundation
#6. Become an RA

What are the Best Housing Programs Available for College Students?

There are several top housing programs available in the U.S for campus students who cannot afford housing expenses, including
#1 National Center for Homeless Education
#2 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
#3 United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
#4 National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
#5 Homes for Students of Higher Education
#6 CTLaw Help
#8 Resident Life Offices

Housing Grants Available For Colleges Students

There are several housing grants available for college students to help cover the cost of housing, including
#1 FAFSA® Awards
#2 State Awards
#3 Institutional Awards
#4 Emergency Housing


Housing is a major expense while studying in college. That’s why there are several housing programs and grants for college students. To access housing grants you need to submit proper documentation. The application is free, and it will connect you with dozens of options for financial assistance.

So, we have explored the various available housing programs for college students in 2022.

Good Luck!



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