if you have no city smarts and are brand new? for the love of god, live in the dorms.
i graduated in '05 so i don't know if they are still doing the houses in cambridge on the lesley campus, but they were a great experience before i was ready for an apartment (and all the bills that come with it). you'll get a shuttle to school so you don't have to rely on the T (subway) or bus right away, and you'll meet people easier. lesley is in a great location, quiet but walking distance to places where there is actually stuff happening.
there really isn't an 'average' rent in boston. look on craigslist. it depends where you'll live and how many people you'll live with. if you live alone, you're probably going to pay at least $1000/month. i've lived in boston, allston, brighton, cambridge, quincy, and arlington during my 10 years here and have paid anywhere from $300-$700 a month in rent living with between 2 and 4 other people, plus or minus utilities each month. if you don't live in the dorms, base your choices on how close it is to school. unfortunately this probably means somewhere on the green line which, imo, is the slowest most annoying branch of the mbta, but since you won't have to go far or switch lines, it shouldn't take too long. asking if it's 'really good' is a laugh but it's everywhere and will get you where you want to go, and is incredibly easy to figure out. if you're from a small town, PLEASE DON'T BRING YOUR FREAKING BIKE. or bring it, but ride it on the bike paths. even seasoned riders have gotten killed here, it can be very dangerous and there are a lot of rules and city specific dangers you have to be aware of if you're going to ride your bike everywhere.
a lot of people live in allston, which...is full of drunk college kids and "local characters" ahem. just further out is brighton which we like to describe as allston's post collegiate older brother - people still party but have to get up for work in the morning. brookline is really nice but will cost you more. there's nothing at all wrong with jamaica plain, depending on where you are it's a lot of hippy-esque lesbians, but it's also a huge pain in the ass to get to and from via public transport so for you i wouldn't advise it.
like i said earlier, cambridge (davis, central, harvard squares etc) is great, but it's more expensive and if you're taking the T to kenmore every day for class it's kind of a huge pain in the ass.
i don't know what work study is in terms of aib, and i didn't work at all when i was at aib. i worked my ass off full time summer & winter break and saved - friends i knew that did have jobs worked weekends and had loans. i have a hard time imagining working only part time at a minimum wage job and handling aib's (esp foundation year) course load would be enough to support you living off 'campus.' i usually had my schedule so i only had class 3 or 4 days a week, but freshman year you get last pick of everything so this usually isn't possible. later on it is, but keep in mind those 3 or 4 days will occasionally really kick your ass ;)
you can look up jobs on craigslist or monster as well, get numbers for places like local starbucks or whatever and ask what the starting pay is, but keep in mind the cost of living in boston is also likely much higher than where you are now.
i'd also post this in b0st0n
since they're questions about boston and not really AIB, and you'll actually get some feedback. more if you post between 9 and 5 on a workday, heh. be advised we can (and in that community specifically) be a bunch of sarcastic jerks, but try not to take it personally and pick out the good information - i'm sure it's not your first day on the internet anyhow. check the memories for that comm as well.
hope that gives you some kind of a starting point, and good luck!!