Guide to Student Accommodation in the USA - Residence & Housing Types


Subhashri Roy
Updated on Jun 30, 2023 10:30 PM IST

If you are currently looking for student accommodation, then here are some of the popular residence and housing types for international students, including Indians. Also, check out what factors you should consider while choosing a student accommodation in the US.

Guide to Student Accommodation in the USA - Residence & Housing Types

Guide to Student Accommodation in the USA: Finding the ideal kind of accommodation might be somewhat daunting given how difficult studying abroad is. While we might assume it does not matter where you reside, it undoubtedly has an impact on your university experience overseas. On average, you might estimate that a student spends over 50% of the day outside of the classroom.

Therefore, finding a good place to live as an international student in the USA should be at the top of your list of priorities! To guarantee a seamless transfer, it is important to look for student accommodations well before travelling to the USA. It might be difficult to choose the ideal accommodation when there are so many alternatives available, including dorms, off-campus flats, homestays, and shared residences. 

You must carefully examine factors including location, budget, safety, and closeness to your university. We will walk you through the significance of early preparation, the many types of accommodations available, and give helpful advice on how to choose the ideal home away from home in our thorough guide to student accommodation in the USA. Let's get started and enhance the comfort and excitement of your study in the USA journey experience!

Living On Campus in the US

Popularly known as on-campus dormitories, American schools offer accommodations to international students on-campus along with the resources they require to succeed. This is considered the easiest way for students coming from outside of the US for it ensures a smooth transition from home to a new country.

Typically, American schools require international students to live on-campus for at least one year, some might have longer residency requirements which can go up to four years. Here are some of the features of on-campus dormitories in the US:

  • These are buildings with rooms designed for two to three students.

  • Students share large bathrooms.

  • They are in close proximity to classrooms, cafeteria and other campus facilities.

  • Living on-campus usually comes with flexible meal plans including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Utilities such as electricity, telephone connections, and laundry facilities are readily available.

  • Daily needs are met by the university or school.

  • Guaranteed student safety with limited access to residence halls, and staffed front desks with students or security personnel.

On every campus across the US, you will be able to find different types of housing and styles. Today, colleges even offer private bedrooms with shared common areas, a range of facilities or studios or models with multiple bedrooms. In fact, a growing number of residence halls have started to offer gender-neutral bathrooms.

Some US universities also have picturesque settings, making it one of the major attractions for international students. These include waterfront views, aquatic activities, a range of water sports, a live lakeside and so on.

As far as rental costs of US on-campus housing are concerned, they vary wildly depending on the university, location and the nature of the accommodation. As per the Urban Institute, a nonprofit think tank, the average cost of living on campus as an undergraduate student ranges between $10,000 and $11,000 annually at both private and public colleges.

Looking for a Suitable Accommodation Closer to Your University Campus?

Living Off Campus in the US

At US universities, you are likely to be assisted by an off-campus housing office while you are on a house hunt. It also often helps students find a roommate to share expenses with and provides information about the nearby facilities, restaurants, public transportation, parks and so on.

Living off-campus in the US usually includes two options, to either rent a room or apartment near the university or stay with a family in their home, known as homestays.

Renting a Property

This includes a house or an apartment, either shared or private. Shared apartments are the ideal choice for college students which ensures lower costs, shared responsibilities, a bigger social network and so on.

An apartment is more secure and has a private entry, has fewer tenants per unit and a more responsive landlord or property manager, a house is typically more spacious, and cheaper, offers better chances of pets being permitted and will most likely have private amenities.

Leasing agreements have rental periods which can be broken down into durations of one year, six months, three months or month-to-month. Generally, the longer you rent a place, the cheaper rent you will need to pay. However, a month-to-month lease will allow greater flexibility and little to no consequences if you were to stay for a very short period of time.

To rent a property, you, as an international student, will have to submit the following documents:

  • Rental history, the contact information of former landlords, dates, addresses and more,

  • Social Security number and date of birth,

  • Co-signer information in case you do not have enough credit history,

  • Criminal history,

  • Personal references,

  • Pay stubs or bank statements to show income


Homestays in the US are another viable option for international students, who are relatively younger. Homestays let international students or visiting scholars live with American families and experience American culture from the inside.

A homestay is typically close to the university campus, where you can get your own room, meals and various amenities or chores. These arrangements are usually made through the university and the hostas usually have prior experiences with houseguests. The cost of homestays in the US, like any other accommodation option, varies by city.

Things to Remember Before Choosing Student Accommodation in the US

Now that you have an idea of what the types of student accommodation are in the US, here are a few tips to help you find suitable accommodation:

  • Draw Up a Budget: The first thing you need to do before you begin with the search is to find out how much you want to spend on accommodation. While picking a price, consider factors such as location, facilities, type of accommodation (private or shared), availability of prepared meals, and more.

  • Find all Options Available: Find, analyse and differentiate between the options of student accommodation available in your area. Well, the best option, if you are only in the first year, would be on-campus accommodation.

  • Research the Area: In case you choose to live off-campus, make sure that you have enough knowledge about the area. Ideally, you should live pretty close to the campus, in a student-friendly neighbourhood, so commuting to the university every day does not become a hassle. Here, another thing to explore before moving is if the area offers all the necessary facilities, restaurants, student hotspots, grocery stores and so on.

  • Deposit Amount: You may have to pay a security deposit before moving on. This amount is usually not greater than your rent and is returned after you move out provided you have abided by all the move-out terms stated by the landlord.

  • Lease Terms: Do not sign the lease agreement until you have read it. Look for details such as length of lease, utilities included, move-in and move-out dates, terms and conditions and other additional charges, if any.

Finding the ideal student accommodation is essential for a successful and pleasurable experience as an Indian student getting ready to start her academic adventure in the USA. You may choose a cosy and appropriate place to live by planning, looking at your alternatives carefully, and taking into account variables like location, affordability, and safety. As a result, get your study abroad journey off to a good start by locating the perfect accommodation that suits your demands and improves your entire experience in the USA.

If you wish to clear any other doubts related to student accommodation in the US, you can simply reach out to us at

Need More Information About Student Accommodation in the US?


How to find accommodation in the USA as an international student?

If you are an international student looking for accommodation in the USA, start by looking into the choices provided by your university. Look into whether they have agreements with off-campus accommodation providers or provide apartments on campus. Use internet resources to look for shared flats or homestays, such as student housing portals, social media groups, and local ads. Talk to other international students and get their recommendations. When making a choice, consider safety, location, and affordability.

How much is the average room rent in the USA per month for international students?

Depending on the area and kind of accommodation, the typical room rent in the USA for international students might vary significantly. Monthly room prices in well-known cities and metropolitan areas can be between USD 500 and 1,500 or even more. It is important to remember that costs may be lower in smaller cities or shared housing.

How much does student accommodation cost in the USA in a month?

The cost of student accommodation in the USA varies based on a number of variables, including location, housing type, and amenities. Monthly rent for students might cost anything from USD 500 to USD 1,500 or more on average. While off-campus housing choices like shared flats or homestays might provide greater freedom, on-campus housing options may have distinct costs. It is important to do research and evaluate various accommodation options according to your tastes and budget.

Is student accommodation expensive in the USA?

Student accommodation in the USA can be relatively more expensive compared to some other countries. Also, finding affordable student accommodation can be difficult, particularly in well-known cities and metropolitan regions like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, etc. However, the costs vary according to factors like location, type of accommodation, and amenities. Housing choices on campuses are often less expensive than off-campus ones. 

Can an F-1 visa student buy a house in the USA?

In the USA, a student with an F-1 visa is eligible for buying a home. There are a few things to keep in mind, though. Typically, home ownership needs a stable financial situation and a long-term commitment. Meeting the strict financial standards and building a credit history required for a mortgage may be difficult for international students.

Which part of the USA is best for international students for cheaper accommodation rents?

Several areas in the United States are noted for having considerably reduced rental rates when it comes to providing cheap accommodation for international students. Cities in the Midwest and Southern states, such as Texas, Indiana, and Ohio, frequently provide more affordable accommodation alternatives. In comparison to big cities like New York City or San Francisco, smaller college towns and nearby suburban communities sometimes offer lower housing rents. 

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