What's in Your Dorm? Survey Compares College Must-Haves of Yesterday and Today

M&S Money has released a study comparing the contents of today's college students' bedrooms with popular dorm items from 1985. The study found that students' love of music, TV and the latest gadgets has endured for decades, but an increase in theft has followed the increase in the value of this gear.

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Educational Technology

Students Go High-Tech at a High Cost

A survey by British financial services company M&S Money found that today's average college student has over $2500 (£1620) worth of gadgets, appliances, clothing, textbooks and other 'essential' gear in his or her bedroom. That's over $1,000 in electronics, almost $700 in clothes, a little under $400 in sports equipment and about $360 in textbooks - no wonder textbook rental is so popular!

The company pointed to students' expensive tastes in entertainment as the major culprit for dorm price tags: 48% of respondents own an MP3 player and 20% have a widescreen TV. Add on to that the prevalence of expensive computers - 55% of students own a laptop - and you start to see how college costs can keep adding up, even after tuition and student fees.

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Classic Rock

Dorm Theft Rates Are Up

To mark its 25th anniversary, M&S Money also performed the survey on 500 adults who were in college in 1985. The findings reflect that old adage, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the year that 'Back to the Future' was hitting the big screen, students were spending their money on music players - remember turntables, ghetto blasters and that classic Walkman? - and black and white TVs.

Other popular gadgets 'back in the day' included scientific calculators, alarm clocks, Breville toasters and, for the really lucky students, a personal landline phone.

One thing that has changed is how tempting dorm rooms are for thieves. As both the resale value and portability of students' gadgets have gone up, so has their rate of disappearance - 27% of current students reported being burgled while at school, as compared with only 8% in 1985.

M&S Money recommends that students invest in insurance to protect themselves against theft. In the U.S., that could mean purchasing renter's insurance or finding out if your possessions are still covered by your parents' renter's or homeowner's insurance.

Students who want to avoid insurance costs should consider a few basic safety measures: Always close your window and lock your room when you leave, and never leave items like your laptop or MP3 player sitting unattended.

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