Research Review And Proposal

Proposed Project

To discover through research whether living at home or moving out for university is a better option for students and what their opinions are on the issue.

I wish to determine whether the financial costs of living either on campus or in shared accommodation are worth the easier access to university or the stress of living out of home for the first time.

I also wish to determine whether the social benefits of living with people similar in age outweigh the financial and benefits of continuing to live at home while studying university.

The factors that will determine the better living arrangement include:

  • Financial capability
  • Travel expenditure and time
  • Stress levels
  • Social interaction
  • Academic achievement
  • ‘Free’ time
  • Overall feeling of fulfilment

I must also state that this investigation only applies to those university students whose parental homes are within a 1 hour drive of the university. Students who need to move to attend university due to a larger distance of travel are except from this project.


Primary question

Do students think it is worth moving out of home to attend university?


Preliminary Readings

  1. University students squeezed by rent stress, study finds
    April 22, 2010
    Heath Gilmore

This Sydney Morning Herald piece illuminates the struggles that some university students have in paying rent while living out of home.

The online anonymous survey quoted in the article states:

  • 66% of university students living away from home are suffering extreme rent distress.
    • Rent distress is defined by the federal government as 30% of a person’s gross income.
  • Up to 53% of the 907 respondents were living out of home.

There is also the case study of Phil Boncardo

  • Fifth-year arts-law student.
  • Sharing a house at Chippendale.
  • Had to pay 6 months rent in advance as a condition of obtaining property.
  • Earns $250 a week.
  • Pays $226 a week in rent alone.
    • Funds bolstered by holiday work.

The statistics in this article are extreme. And while outdated now, provide an insight into the potentially hostile environment of living in off-campus accommodation. And also show the previous surveys done to research the rising issue of unsustainable off-campus living.


2. Leaving Home To Study

This is a ‘Personal Stories’ page from the Youth Central website for the Victorian government. It provides the case study of Alitia, 23, who moved out of her family home in Ballarat so she could attend Deakin University in Melbourne to study psychology.

The interview-style page asks questions that mirror my investigation nicely, and provides a starting point that I may continue on from.

These questions include:

  • Why did you move away from home to study?
  • What did your family and friends think about your decision?
  • What’s the best thing about living away from home?
  • What’s the worst thing about living away from home?
  • Is there anything you wish someone had told you before you made the move?

Alitia gives some great points about the value of money when living away from home. But also exhorts the importance and pleasure of freedom from her old home. This indicates research into both sides of my investigation. As well as the overall level of happiness and social well-being that comes with living out of home for this particular case subject.


3. Living Costs: Planning for everyday expenses and accommodation

This comprehensive article from the University of Sydney provides an in-depth analysis of the cost of living near their university campus at Newtown.

Their article cites that a single student living away from home will spend anywhere between $1400 and $2000 every month on accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment.

Each category of expenditure is carefully broken down to the most minute detail. Such as putting aside $4o a week for miscellaneous items such as toiletries and household products.

The categories include:

  • Accommodation
  • Groceries and food
  • Utilities
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Insurance
  • Childcare
  • Academic support
  • One-off expenses

Overall the article is a detailed guide that I could build by statistics from. And which indicate the truly steep price of living out of home in Sydney. It also indicates that research has been done into the exact cost of living away from home, as well as the level of preparedness you must have to be able to move out.



Research Methodology

My first step for this project is to research as much previous information, statistics, inquires and sources that I can. This is to ensure I grasp the issue of living out of home against living at home in its entirety before attempting to delve further into the issue.

Next would include general surveys to gain my own statistics into how many people live on or off campus around the University of Wollongong. Other questions would include their level of financial stress, and how much they enjoy their current living arrangement.

I would also perform a focus group, to obtain several case studies in a short period of time. These would serve as real-world examples to whatever conclusion my findings lead me to.

If further investigation is needed, I could also include one-on-one interviews or further second-hand research.



Gilmore, H. (2010). University students squeezed by rent stress, study finds. The Sydney Morning Herald. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2016].

The University of Sydney. (2016). Living costs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2016].

Youth Central. (2016). Leaving home to study. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2016].


One comment

  1. This is a really interesting research project and something that not a lot of people would have considered. If you’re not living on campus yourself, many BCM students are and would be happy to help you distribute and collect surveys from the nearby student accommodation areas. I think using social media and the university’s online resources to include as many participants as possible will help you in collating and presenting data. As a lot of students use it, I think looking into CentreLink and how they determine the eligibility for students living on campus, and how that service might impact some students decision to move away from home would be useful for your project. I really like your blog and your proposal was really nice and easy to read, good luck on your project.

    Liked by 1 person

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