Student accommodation in the US

Where to stay?

After you have received offers from universities that you applied to and decided on the university of your choice, it is wise to start applying for student accommodation. It is not a good idea to reserve this until the last minute, because students are required to pay a deposit to secure student accommodation. You would not want to pay extra for unwanted accommodation options.

Cost of accommodation

The cost of accommodation in the US will vary depending on your education provider and your study location in the US.

The average cost of rent in the US doesn’t clearly show how much your rent could cost. Given that rent varies vastly from city to city, and cities compared to rural areas are a lot more expensive, it’s best to look at the average rent of a specific area.1

For instance, a one-bedroom apartment could cost anywhere from $600 in a rural area and can go up to $3,000 in Boston, depending on the area.1 However, renting outside campus is still generally less expensive than living on campus, which can cost around $450 per month for a shared bedroom.

Types of accommodation

You may find many options available in terms of types of accommodation. These can be halls of residence (or hostels), homestay (or private board), and flatting/independent accommodation and others as mentioned above. Private accommodation options can be cheaper than university accommodations.

However, for first year students, you are recommended to stay in the university accommodations as all the utilities (e.g. WiFi, electricity and water bills) have already been included. Students need to arrange their own utilities for private accommodations. Check with your accommodation provider to find out what is included and excluded in the fees to ensure you are getting the best value.

Most students would choose to live on campus for their first year to experience the much-celebrated American campus life. It is also the best way to make friends in your first year and get closer to campus facilities.

Where to start

A good place to start is to visit the specific US university’s website and look for links under ‘Accommodation’, ‘Housing’ or ‘Residential Life’. Compare the rates with private accommodation near the university and decide which would be of better value for you. Here is an example of housing information from New York University and a poignant photo essay of Harvard University’s Class of 2021’s move-in day.

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