Small-town living has its benefits

Nicole Ely/The News Each semester students search high and low for off-campus housing such as houses, apartments or duplexes.
Nicole Ely/The News Each semester students search high and low for off-campus housing such as houses, apartments or duplexes.

Nicole Ely/The News
Each semester students search high and low for off-campus housing such as houses, apartments or duplexes.

Tiffany Dankovic, senior from Cadiz, Ky., said she was in culture shock after transferring to Murray State after spending two years at the University of Kentucky.

The culture shock wasn’t just from moving to a city twelve times smaller, but  the cost of living shrank too.

“When I moved up (to Lexington)it was my first time renting an apartment and making adult decisions,” she said. “So I just assumed that paying $590 to share an apartment was the standard everywhere.”

Although about 27 percent of apartments listed for rent in Lexington, Ky., are less than $500 per month, 68 percent of the apartments listed for rent in Murray are listed as less than $500 per month, according to the census survey data.

“So when I came down here and saw that rent for a one-bedroom apartment was like $400, I thought to myself, ‘I can definitely do this,’” she said.

The cost of an apartment for any student has an impact on their life- style while in school. Morehead University, is a school about the same size as Murray State, with approximately 11,000 students enrolled as of 2014, according to their enrollment statistics.

More than half of the apartments surrounding Morehead University averaged $450 to $499 per month in rent, according to the U.S census.

In Murray college students can choose to live on campus in the residential colleges or to live off campus. Off-campus apartments that cater specifically to students, like Campus Evolutions, provide a smooth transition from dorm life to independent life for students.

Apartments are more popular near larger universities like University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

In Louisville, 31 percent of apartments are listed for less than $500 per month and the average cost of living is 5.9 percent lower than the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Near smaller universities like Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead University, students living off campus are more likely to live in small, privately-owned apartment complexes. 

However these are more difficult to find, especially in an unfamiliar area. 

“If you are looking for a place (to live) in Lexington, you will find a place,” Dankovic said. “But that isn’t always the case here.”

Dankovic said when she lived in Lexington she just went online to find an apartment for rent, but here the process took a lot more footwork.

“When I looked up apartments on craigslist all I could find were Campus Evolutions apartments for rent,” she said. “You’re best bet if you are trying to find a place around here is to go to the Chamber of Commerce instead of searching online.”

The Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce has a rental list of apartments that are available in the area that they sell for a small fee. This list is confidential.

Dankovic urged students to do their research before signing a lease anywhere.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said. 

Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Assistant News Editor