Student Ditches College Dorms, Builds Own House Instead


Even with financial aid and federal grants, many students face the burden of continuing college education due to food and housing costs - the latter of which still costs very high.

College tuition fees and housing costs are very high nowadays. The average annual tuition costs between $8,244 for in-state students at a public college, to $20,770 a year for out-of-state students, to $28,500 a year at a private college, as per My College Guide.

Housing costs, or room and board, are also expensive. Public school students will need to shell out an average of $8,887, while those studying at private schools will need to shell out an average $10,089 a year.

One student from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas, found a way to minimize the housing costs that he would be facing year after year using a risky move: he built his own house.

Joel Weber, a design major at the university, found that a room in one of the school's residence halls would cost him $1,135 per month, and realized that living in a dorm wasn't for him, the Business Insider reported. Instead, he pulled out his savings and emergency fund and made the risky decision to build his own 145-square-foot home - in a friend's backyard.

Weber, using skills he gained from being an apprentice to a plumber and carpenter, built the house on a truck trailer. He used wood scraps donated by families who sheltered him while his house was being built.

It took Weber a year and about $15,000 to finish his neat "organic contemporary" home. It has a kitchen, a bathroom (that boasts of a handcrafted sink made from mango wood and a rain simulator shower), and a loft that can fit a twin- or queen-sized bed. The stairs to the loft double as shelves and a desk.

Weber lives on the land rent-free, and makes use of the land owner's electricity in exchange for childcare and cleaning services.

"I knew it was a risk," Weber said of his daring but successful move. The house became sought-after; Weber received offers for it, but he declined, stating that he plans to stay in it for as long as he can.

"The return on this kind of investment is one of the best choices I've ever made," Weber, who plans to graduate without a debt, said.

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