People who have a car find living off campus convenient. They enjoy the luxury of being able to cook their own food rather than having to rely on cafeteria food. It is also more cost-effective for many of the students, compared to living on campus. Houses and apartments are fairly easy to find, partly because of the poor housing market. In fact, Merced has the second highest number of foreclosures in the nation. The on-campus housing office also assists by providing resources to finding off-campus living arrangements. There are also ads posted around campus.
Students usually end up finding a four- or five-bedroom house with friends. They like the option of having their own room; it can be hard getting a single in the dorms on campus. Sharing a house also makes the cost much more affordable. In fact, many students pay no more than $400 a month for everything, including utilities. The closest housing complex is a couple miles away from campus, and some of the houses and apartments are farther away into town. The convenience of just being able to get out of bed and walk to class is something off-campus residents miss. Those who live off campus and do not have a car have to adjust even more by taking the school bus, CatTracks. While it is great that CatTracks stops by all the housing and apartment complexes, the schedule is such that students either have to take the bus an hour before their first class or take the bus that makes them at least 10 minutes late for class. All in all, there are great advantages to living off campus for those with a car or easy form of transportation.