Mason Family Flash

Is your student moving off-campus? Here are some tips!

If your student has been living on campus, the switch to off campus life can be challenging, exciting, and scary. As a family member, you have the ability to support your student through this transition and use these tips to avoid problems later down the road.

Finding a Roommate
First, students will want to figure out who they want to live with. In Fairfax up to four unrelated students can live together. Students can form groups on their own or use the roommate matching system at to browse potential roommates. It is strongly recommended that students set up a roommate contract and talk through their expectations. Sometimes leases will outline certain expectations of behavior (i.e. how many nights in a row a guest can stay) that students should understand before they sign the lease.

Financial Implications
One of the most important parts of living on your own is understanding how to send up a budget and what happens if you don’t follow through. Budgeting worksheets and apps, such as Mint or Wally, are extremely useful in helping students understand where their money is going each month. Family members can also be sure that students understand the ramifications for failing to pay rent or utilities: eviction, loss of power/lights, and/or a lower credit score. For this reason, we recommend that students get individual leases to make sure that their roommates’ failure to follow through on financial responsibilities doesn’t impact them.

Finding a Place to Live
After setting a budget and figuring out roommates, it is time to find a place to live! Take a look at our Housing Search Checklist (located at designed to help you filter through your different housing options so you have a better idea of what you are looking for. Then go to, Mason’s online off-campus housing database.

Get Help
If you or your student has any questions about the transition off campus, get help from Off-Campus Student Services. Peer Off-Campus Advisors and professional staff can ask questions and provide guidance. Contact us at or 703-993-6563.

Emilie Dubert
Associate Director
Off-Campus Student Services

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