Would You Pay Extra for a Larger Dorm Room?

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Posted 1/16/2013 by Kelli/Mom in NSBR Board
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PeaNut 21,316
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:32:07 PM
Some of the dorm rooms at the school where my kid will be going next fall are TINY--just over a hundred square feet for two students. There's literally not enough room for the beds and desks unless the beds are lofted. It is less space than mandated for federal prison cells.

There's the option of a "deluxe" room with more than twice the square footage for an extra grand a year.

My kid is a boy, so he doesn't have a lot of clothes and doesn't care about decorations. He will, however, want to take his desk-top computer, a mini fridge, guitar, an amp, and some rock-climbing gear. When we talked about it, he just said the extra room would be nice.

While a $1,000 won't make or break us, things will be tight as we are going to try to pay for college without any loans.

Would you spring for the deluxe room??

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PeaNut 18,741
July 2001
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:36:07 PM
No, I wouldn't. I think part of the "experience" of college dorm life is living in not so great conditions and learning to manage it in an adult fashion. I'm already paying quite a bit for my daughter to have the college experience at the college she desires. While another $1K wouldn't be too much of a stretch, where does it end?



PeaNut 142,266
April 2004
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:36:30 PM
I wouldn't pay extra for my son to have a larger room. He and his roommate are slobs and their dorm room is a pit. I would pay extra for my daughter to have more room.



PeaNut 167,693
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:37:09 PM
Since I'm afraid of a lofted bed, yes. But I would much prefer a SINGLE if I could get it, even if it's in the smaller space.

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PeaNut 182,236
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:38:22 PM
It has been my experience that most freshmen spend very little time in their dorms so it really more than likely wouldn't make a difference.

How much more space would he be getting for the money?


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PeaNut 247,594
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:39:14 PM
I'd support my kids saving up and paying the extra themselves, but we would not pay it. Either way it is a character builder.

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PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:45:27 PM
I absolutely would. The dorm rooms I've seen are unacceptably tiny and I wouldn't want to live in them alone, let alone with another person. I don't believe that builds character or helps them become an adult, I know it would breed a hell of a lot of resentment to be stuck living on top of a stranger without room to breath or move. Quality of life is important.

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PeaNut 94,569
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:46:09 PM
It's college, not a home. Part of the experience is learning how to deal with a variety of things-room size, classes, roommates, etc.

I wouldn't pay extra. If my child had the money I also wouldn't let them use the grand for that. They can save their money for other things.


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PeaNut 9,321
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:48:32 PM
Nah, they can tough it out like I did

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PeaNut 52,841
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:51:15 PM
I think that I would agree to split the cost with my child.........assuming it was a cost that I could comfortably afford. If it was going to require loans, no, I would not pay it.

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PeaNut 69,081
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:51:58 PM
If I had the money I would pay extra.

My son's girlfriend lives in a tiny dorm and spends every single weekend here at our house, and sometimes during the week, because she can't stand it. So if you want your kid to feel comfortable in his space and not end up in some girl's house on the weekends, I'd pay the extra if I had it.

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PeaNut 535,248
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:52:19 PM
I live in one of the more expensive dorms on campus, the hall for Honors College students, partly because the rooms are "semi-private", meaning they are larger than the standard double, with a front room/kitchen counter, private bathroom, and separate bedrooms for each roommate. If you can afford it, I say go for it. I couldn't be happier in my dorm and I'm so glad I did not have to live in such close quarters with a stranger as a tiny double room allows.

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PeaNut 53,207
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:52:56 PM
Would and did, for both of my DDS Absolutely worth it because they both said they liked studying in their rooms but would not have been comfortable doing so if the rooms had been cramped.

We are in the same category as you...while they have some scholarship money, we choose to pay for their remaining tuition out of pocket. You could look into Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized loans to help with the cost, if you have not already done so. Once you have filled out your FAFSA, the college website will tell you more about those. They are Federal loans, not private. One is automatic if applied for (I forget which one) and the other is available based on income.

For freshmen, I believe it amounts to $5500 for the year, if you receive the full amounts on both. That amount is divided per qtr or per semester for the regular school year, whichever applies. The amount available increases each year. This may help defray costs a little per month, making the cost of the extra space in the room easier to bear.

Quite a bit of college life is spent out of the room but, for my girls, it was only for social activities. For down time and for studying, they preferred their rooms and definitely appreciated the extra space.

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PeaNut 48,314
September 2002
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:53:35 PM
Having had the tiny dorm room experience I would pay extra to have more space. I would rather have a single room than share.


PeaNut 82,460
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:53:47 PM
Yes because I do not like loft beds either. But I might make them earn part of it. I paid my own way through college and was on the waiting list for a large room in the "nice" dorm but did not get one before rush week, when the opening came up I was happy to stay in the smaller dorm with my new friends.


PeaNut 434,842
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:55:24 PM
I would offer to split it with him. If he paid $500, I'd pay the rest. That way, if he really cares, it is more possible for him. And if he doesnt care enough, then I'm not wasting my money.


PeaNut 532,844
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:56:04 PM
No way in hell. The kid is old enough to pay for it themself. And really, a grand is a bit of money for a family with a mortgage and everything, but a kid about to go to college with no bills would make that in a fortnight.

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PeaNut 174,150
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:02:33 PM

If my child had the money I also wouldn't let them use the grand for that. They can save their money for other things.

You would control an 18 yo's own money? For real???

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PeaNut 90,802
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:09:59 PM
That's a tough one - we probably would!

But I'm super thankful that the University DD has applied to has fantastic dorm rooms!! It is set up like a two room suite. There is a shared common area that has basically a sink & microwave & fridge, table and chairs and a shared bathroom off that area. Then each of the two roomies has their own private bedroom with bed, closet, desk and TV, with a locking door.


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PeaNut 61,691
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:11:14 PM
I would and I do pay extra for a better dorm room. My D's school has traditional dorm rooms and then they have suites, where each student gets his or her own room, two students share a bathroom and four students share the whole suite, which includes a living room and a kitchenette. We pay a few extra thousand for D to live in a suite. We can afford it, and she has a full tuition scholarship plus an additional fellowship, so she's saving us many times the extra amount we're paying for her dorm. I also don't have to worry about my D not being able to study in her room, not being able to fit all her stuff, being sexiled, being on a different sleep/study schedule than a roommate, etc. I remember sharing the tiny dorm room with a roommate and having a communal bathroom down the hall. It was fine when I had a good roommate, and it was torture when I didn't. I'm OK if my D misses that experience.


PeaNut 190,156
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:21:23 PM
We did.


PeaNut 5,085
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:25:47 PM
I would have said no -- life experience and all that -- until I saw the dorm room my ds lived in for a week during a summer program.

Yikes! I lived in a dorm for three years. The first year we were "tripled" -- 3 of us in a room built for 2 because of high enrollment -- and we truly had more space that this room offered.

Even for boys with fewer clothes, etc. they literally could not turn around without bumping a bed or desk. I am truly shocked that these rooms pass fire inspections.

This university is on ds' top 2 list and there are a number of different types and sizes of rooms with varying costs. While we wouldn't pay for their top-of-the-line private rooms in the newest dorms with all kinds of extra amenities, I do think this particular room size would be extremely detrimental to any college student's academic and social experience.

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PeaNut 5,075
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:28:44 PM
I became a resident assistant my last two years of college. I got a dorm room to myself and my parents didn't have to pay room and board.

That said, if I could afford it I would probably pay the extra for my girls to have a larger space.


PeaNut 283,357
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:40:13 PM
Absolutely. Dorm rooms are tiny, and although I normally wouldn't call myself claustrophobic, I found it hard to focus on studying in those tiny rooms because I felt so cramped. Even double the space really isn't much. There is still plenty of experience to be had. But at the end of the day when my patents we're helping my through college, my job was to study and get good grades. I couldn't imagine doing it in those tiny rooms. Luckily I was able to get an apartment. But I often went to friends' dorms to study together and it was awful. The library is typically only open so long.


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PeaNut 235,775
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:43:42 PM
If that had been an option, we would have paid for it. For our oldest DS, the freshman dorms were 5 boys to an approximately 200 square foot room...1 single bed, 2 sets of bunkbeds, 5 desks, 5 armoires, all the belongings of five 18-year-old boys...and no air conditioning.

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PeaNut 52,817
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:44:29 PM
I was in the dorm with the tiniest rooms on campus for my freshman year in college. It was about the size of what you describe - beds HAD to be lofted otherwise there was not enough floor space (it was the only dorm on campus where they provided lofts; otherwise you had to buy/rent them).

I survived just fine. It took a few weeks of adjustment, but it was fine in the long run.

If anything, looking back, I'm glad I was in the tiny dorm because I probably spent more time in common areas, at the library, at the student union, etc. because it wasn't as great to spend time in my room. I am sure I met more people and got involved in more things on campus as a result.

I wouldn't pay extra.


PeaNut 259,367
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:47:02 PM
Buy or build a loft bed.

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PeaNut 265,707
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:58:19 PM
Yes, I would. One of my dorm rooms in college was 9x6 feet. Yes - fortunately it was a single! A bit of extra space would have been quite welcome!

I might ask a kid to help subsidize a larger room if it was really important or if money was a big issue, but an extra grand to be more comfortable in a space he has to live in most of the year? Yeah, that wold be fine with me.

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PeaNut 231,164
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:59:30 PM
If I could afford it for my hold I would in a heart beat.

I hated living in the dorms. We had the "bigger" rooms at my college and we still had to loft our beds otherwise we were dancing around each other to get past. It sucked. I hated it and I don't think it is part of the experience that has to be dealt with in college.


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PeaNut 14,521
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:02:10 PM
I would. I hate to be cramped myself. My ds is also a big guy..6'4" and 220. He would be miserable in a tiny room like that.

My dorm room was pretty spacious. We liked to be able to have friends up to visit, study, etc. The larger room didn't isolate us, we still got out and socialized plenty.

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PeaNut 216,512
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:22:58 PM
I paid extra each year to have a private room, so I would definitely pay extra for a larger room.

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PeaNut 51,433
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:30:42 PM
For sure! When all things taken into consideration ...if stuck with a room mate who doesn't shower.or one that sleeps all day...so many things we've run into the past college years! Heck yes!!

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PeaNut 31,157
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:37:02 PM

If anything, looking back, I'm glad I was in the tiny dorm because I probably spent more time in common areas, at the library, at the student union, etc. because it wasn't as great to spend time in my room. I am sure I met more people and got involved in more things on campus as a result.
I was discussing this topic with a university president who is a family friend. I asked why freshman dorms are often so small and cramped and relatively terrible. She said that in many schools there is a real effort to make the dorm rooms for freshman not so inviting that students get sucked into staying in them. Universities want freshmen to need to get out an experience the university just like you described.

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PeaNut 345,847
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:47:21 PM

It is less space than mandated for federal prison cells.

That's awesome. You know, they don't like those convicts to get out and about but, students? They should be spending time outside of their rooms.

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PeaNut 12,875
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:54:00 PM
I don't think I would. My oldest lived in the Honors Dorm and it was still a tiny space. They had a suite, so they had two small bathrooms between 4 boys, but their rooms were small. They started out with lofted beds, but then went to bunks. Younger DS lived in the same dorm last year and they stuck with lofted beds all year.

I spent four years in a loft or bunk beds and I never minded.


PeaNut 455,916
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Posted: 1/16/2013 9:03:16 PM
My first year of college I lived in a room designed as a triple, but had four of us. It was a large room so space wasn't an issue.

The next year we were offered the same room as a double, for an extra charge. My friend and I lived in the room. It was great!

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PeaNut 576,169
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Posted: 1/16/2013 9:03:24 PM
Yes, I would pay for it if my kid wanted it and/or I thought it was in his best interest.

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Posted: 1/16/2013 9:25:48 PM
If I could afford it I and my child wanted it, it's likely. Granted we aren't able to pay for anything for our child's college, so she's on her own on these decisions.

That said, I had good roommates the two years I was in the dorms. They were my best friends that year. Loved them to death. But I have to say the 8x15 (8x12 the first year) put a bit of a strain on the relationship at times. There were times I really did feel the need for SPACE.


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PeaNut 526,154
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Posted: 1/16/2013 9:28:00 PM
Not for freshman year. He might opt to join a frat or live in a special interest house after 1st year and those sometimes have bigger rooms.

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PeaNut 21,316
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Posted: 1/16/2013 10:06:45 PM
Thanks for the input!

I wish the school had suite-living. We looked at some schools with that style of dorms. It seems like having privacy for sleep and study with the social contact of roommates would be a nice balance. Alas, even the "deluxe" rooms at his chosen school aren't very deluxe. They have two students in one room with the bathroom down the hall, but there is a sink and vanity in the room (the smaller rooms don't have a sink). This school requires second-year students to live in the dorms, too.

I am not worried about him never leaving the room. He'll be running cross country and track and he can't wait to join the rock climbing club and be on the concrete canoe team.

I like the idea of having him pay half. He will be working this summer, or he could easily put some of his graduation money toward the upgrade in accommodations.

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PeaNut 11,942
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:10:05 PM
My parents paid extra for me to live in a dorm with air conditioning. It was totally worth it. The older dorm rooms were much larger but had no a/c. If its not a terrible financial burden, I'd get him the bigger room if it really matters to him.


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PeaNut 434,842
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:14:22 PM

I like the idea of having him pay half. He will be working this summer, or he could easily put some of his graduation money toward the upgrade in accommodations.

Depending on whether he chooses to do this, it will tell you how much he really wants it.


PeaNut 15,108
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:26:50 PM
I wouldn't pay extra for a larger room. I would pay extra for a private space (whether it was a single or a suite with a common area) if I had the money and that was an option. I personally did not find sharing a bedroom with no private space at all anywhere particularly character-building.

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PeaNut 34,233
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:35:34 PM
We got a e-mail for my D's school a couple months before she started school saying we could pay $2000/year extra for a private room. I thought that was way too much $$$. Turned out DD's roommate got double booked and she ended up in a single for the price of a double.

When we moved DD in, wholly buckets, those rooms are small. So now I am rethinking what I will and won't pay for DD #2 who will be going off to another school next fall. We've looked at her dorm options and depending on the hall she gets put in some of those rooms are even smaller than DD #1's room. You can't do lofts or bunk the beds. I might pay more for her to get a larger room.

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PeaNut 414,014
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:38:36 PM
Yes I would pay extra so my kid could have a bigger room.
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PeaNut 9,321
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:42:23 PM
I just looked it up -- my dorm (two students per room) was 168" X 108". There was a suite of several rooms with a kitchen on one end and living room on the other.

It felt fairly spacious. Plenty of room for two desks and two beds, no loft. ETA: And a large wardrobe that locked.

ETA: And sophomore year I moved off campus and rented a room in a house and that felt even smaller.

My point being, I think college is the time to suck it up and live on a budget and all that. I really don't see a small dorm room as being a hardship. I'm sure there's a minimum standard for fire code and all that. This would not even be on my radar.

Our school had "super singles" (one person in a double room) when enrollment was low.


PeaNut 387,334
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Posted: 1/17/2013 6:47:28 AM
Yes, we do it for our son. In his particular dorm, it means he has his own bedroom and shares the bathroom and little living area with two suitemates.

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PeaNut 75,215
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Posted: 1/17/2013 6:57:07 AM
Is it really important to him?

DD is in a tiny room with one roommate, and is totally fine with it. The beds can be put in multiple positions for lofting -- she has hers just high enough to skim the dresser top. She hates it up high, so she didn't want her desk under it.

I did notice that she'd become neater. Probably out of necessity.

I thought she'd have a problem with it, but it's been a non-issue for freshman year.

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PeaNut 87,597
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Posted: 1/17/2013 8:23:36 AM
If we could easily afford it or if she got a partial scholarship and we weren't paying too much, than we would think about it. But if we couldn't afford it, no and we wouldn't feel guilty.

I laughed at you saying because he is a boy he has less clothes and decorations and stuff. Because my husband has more clothes and stuff than me and my three daughters! I thought girls had way less than boys. haha!

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PeaNut 221,236
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Posted: 1/17/2013 10:11:22 AM
My parents paid extra for me to have a single room after my freshman year and I'm so grateful they did. I'm very introverted, and having to come back to a talkative roommate who may or may not have a boyfriend or other friends in the room was literally making me ill. I got plenty of social interaction and was very involved in activities, but I really needed that privacy and alone time at the end of the day.

A scenario like you describe, being literally crammed in on top of each other, probably would have made me leave school. Character building only goes so far.

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