There have been a lot of great responses already-- something I'd like to mention as well is just to make sure you're mentally okay with whatever decision you make. College is a great experience, but it can also be hard work-- I have had different friends with different experiences where they live at home and commute, they live at home and do school online, they live on campus, or they live in an apartment off of campus-- what would make you feel most comfortable? To echo the other responses, there is a lot to consider-- just make sure you take care of yourself.
Since a majority of college classes are now online it would be financially smart to simply stay home and save the money for later when classes become in person. However if you are financially stable it can be an option to go back to your university and live either on campus or off campus. Unless you work better away from home and/or financially stable I would simple stay home and continue your college career.
It really depends on where you live and what college you will attend. If your hometown is a far distance away from your actual college/university you will not be able to stay home because you have to attend in person lectures, discussions, and labs. However if you live near your university (less than 40 mins) you will have the option to commute to your school.
Also remember that interest will start accruing as soon as you get the student loan(s) so the amount you have to pay back after graduation is higher than what you borrowed.
Calculator to give you an idea of interest costs and monthly payments:
Some obvious (and maybe not so obvious) things to consider on either side:
- Expense/Cost: Moving on campus will require more expenses than living at home would (if living with parents, for example). Because of the added cost, it may be necessary (instead of maybe optional, if commuting) to get a part-time job while attending college. That is usually a good idea either way, but something to note. Avoiding potential financial issues during your college life should be prioritized as much as possible because that is added stress that someone trying to focus on their education does not need.
- Lifestyle/Life Experience: There is much to be said about living on campus and being able to be more closely involved with the on-campus lifestyle. Depending on the distance of your commute to attend college (in my particular case, it was a 30+ min drive), it may not be much of an issue but something to consider if you really want to partake in that environment.
- Added responsibility: Many college students are still young and adjusting to the responsibilities required of a college student. Living at home can help keep that "grounding" for someone. Living on campus can make it easier to want to be a little more irresponsible because of the easy access to extracurricular activities like parties and such. Just something to consider. Someone focused on their studies will not be affected by this at all.
- Convenience: This is another one that depends on what your commute would look like. Many college classes require working in groups with other students and professors sometimes have odd or sporadic office hours that may make it difficult to schedule around if you have a long commute to campus.
- Family: This is obviously a diverse topic to consider but, to many, family is a big consideration. College life is fast paced with huge responsibilities and stresses. Living on your own can be lonely and, while it can be a good learning experience, it is something to consider if someone is very close to family and needs that support to stay focused, motivated, and emotionally healthy.
If the school you are considering attending is in another state, for example, there's also a consideration of what the school offers in comparison to your local college. Scholarships, etc. also matter quite a bit. Given the rising costs of tuition and out-of-state rates for colleges if not a resident of that state, it is reasonable to give more weight to a school that offers you a scholarship, whether it is local or elsewhere.
While the decision whether to move in or not is ultimately up to each individual student, I hope these at least shed some light on some of the things you want to consider when making your choice.
Marvin recommends the following next steps:
Best of luck!