im on my 4th/senior year at snc. I lived in the dorms my first year. You definately dont want to be involved in the dorm life unless you're fresh out of high school.
I work at diamond peak on ski patrol and I know people who make the commute from reno and carson and they hate it. others who dont mind a daily 30-45 minute drive say it is the only way to go. in snow the drive is pretty brutal because of the california drivers.
personally the gas plus time is not worth the money you would save on rent. unless you like a bigger city lifestyle i would recommend staying in incline or kings beach buuuut they are very small towns, some people dont like knowing everybody everywhere.
you can find a decent/affordable place only if you room with two or more people. it's easy to do, everybody looking for a roommate here is either a local relaxed ski bum or goes to SNC.
hit me up if you need any more info or finally move here. i'm graduating in may but i'm staying here for the summer