To give a bit more context, my school (Northwestern) is in Evanston which is about 20 minutes away from Chicago. I have a choice of picking on-campus housing on Campus vs finding an apartment in Chicago. Is it worth paying more (approximately 40-45% of my stipend) for the on-campus accommodation? I can find cheaper apartments in Chicago but ideally I'd like to be closer to the campus. Is 40-45% of my stipend too much to dedicate on housing? All of this is ignoring taxation so it could be even higher.
Spending ~50% of your stipend on housing does seem like a lot, but I think that it's on par with what a lot of students do. Yeah your next 5 years are going to be rough financially, but the pay-off is huge. Plus, you know, you'll get to be called Dr. Ted in about 5 years.
The best answer that we can give to any school-specific question is to ask the current students. You can ask students from other disciplines within the school too, you just want to talk to someone that has similar life circumstances and goals for a living arrangement.
I recall that Kellogg isn't far off of one of the train lines down to Chicago. I can see a 20 min train ride being just fine if it saves you some money. Aren't there apartments in Evanston that are just a few blocks off of campus that are cheaper than that? I have a friend there in the accounting PhD program and I think he bought a 2 room condo and it has worked out well for him.
Kellogg's stipend is pretty good though, so if you had half of it left over for non-rent, you would be ok.
TaxGal, I couldn't do a roommate other than the ones that I have, but I could see it working out with another PhD student. This is more of a personal choice.
Like Xan, I started the program with one roommate that was very helpful and now I have 4. The 3 new ones wouldn't go away, so I got a bigger place to accommodate them. One of them yells at me all the time and asks the weirdest questions, the other two are nice but messy. For some reason the original roommate is only interested in talking to me about the new ones, even though I recall that we used to have a lot of common interests.
For me, about rest is about 40% of my stipend. I take the train to go to the university, which is 2 stations far from my apartment, so it's very convenient and easy for me, and I don't have a car. It's a nice apartment, but not a good neighborhood. Most students prefer to live in better places even if they are distant.
I will be spending about 60% of my stipend on housing. It will be a rough year. But when I will be there, understand where everything is and how to be efficient with traveling - and especially after the initial two years of coursework - I will move further away from the campus.
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