Off-Campus Housing Services can provide students and families tips and advice on:
- Price and budgeting
- Popular student neighborhoods
- Wants vs. needs of offered amenities
- Locating available campus area housing
- Questions to ask when touring properties
- Transportation options for getting to campus
- Referrals to campus and community partners for housing related issues
Tenant Resource Center
If you have questions about an off-campus lease or the leasing process, the Tenant Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that provides information and education about rental rights and responsibilities. They also maintain a list of larger management and rental companies in the Madison area.
Tips for Moving Off Campus
For those planning to live off campus, consider three variables to inform your decision: price, location, and amenities.
Price and Budgeting
A lease is likely your first step toward establishing rental and credit history, meaning it’s extremely important to define your price range before looking at properties. Create a monthly budget that includes regular expenses, plus estimates for utilities, renter’s insurance, parking, groceries, furnishings, and household goods. Need to reduce costs? Consider how sharing a bedroom, living slightly farther off campus, or using your free ASM bus pass could help.
For questions about applying financial aid to off-campus housing, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Location and Amenities
When it comes to local rental properties, the options can seem endless — which is both exciting and, possibly, a little difficult to navigate. Narrow your search by considering factors like:
- Distance — How close is a property to your academic buildings and workplace?
- Transportation — How will you get to class? Where is the nearest bus stop?
- Culture — Is the neighborhood quiet or lively? What other businesses, events, or other activities are nearby?
Beyond the neighborhood, certain properties also offer unique amenities, from secure entry to onsite laundry and even luxuries like game rooms and pools.
Priorities and Roommates
Once you know your ideal price range, location, and amenities, decide which are the most and least important to you. This will help you navigate potential compromises. For example, a property may be affordable and in a great location but come without some features you could get for a similar price, farther from campus.
Knowing your priorities will also help determine if a potential roommate is a good fit. Discuss these topics, as well as preferences on cleanliness, social habits, and quiet hours. If you notice any non-negotiable differences, consider how other arrangements may better align with your preferences and be a better living situation for you both.
Basic Needs Resources
Securing housing can be especially complicated if you’re experiencing financial hardship. There are resources to help meet students’ basic needs available through the Dean of Students Office and Office of Financial Aid. The Badger FARE program can offer financial support, and Open Seat food pantry supplies free food and hygiene products. For additional questions and resources, please contact the Dean of Students Office.