Housing Information for International Students
On-campus housing provided by University Housing is not guaranteed with admission to the university. If you wish to live on campus, submit a housing application immediately after you are offered admission (late applicants may not be able to be accommodated). To find the housing best suited for you, start searching early. If you do not arrange housing before you arrive in Iowa, we recommend that you arrive early enough to find a place before orientation and classes begin. The International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) cannot help students find housing.
Temporary Housing Upon Arrival in Iowa City
Students who arrive in Iowa before arranging for permanent housing should research and make reservations at area hotels.
Why Choose University Housing & Dining
University Housing & Dining operates 10 residence halls and a few apartment-style buildings that are conveniently located and served by the university's free bus system, called Cambus.
International students who choose to live in the residence halls have excellent opportunities to improve their English, make friends, and learn about American society and culture.The residence halls are also an ideal option for students who do not want to cook; meal plans can be included in your contract.
University Housing & Dining operates about 600 rental apartments for single students and those with families. At least one member of the household must be a registered UI student to be eligible to live at University Apartments. Students with dependent children are given priority if their applications are received by the appropriate priority deadline. After the deadline, assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
Global Village Living-Learning Community
The Global Village Living-Learning Community in the residence halls is specifically designed for undergraduate students interested in global issues across all majors.
Residence Hall Access during Academic Breaks
Residence hall amenities vary during academic breaks (between semesters when classes are not in session).
- Winter break—Several UI residence halls close 24 hours after the end of fall semester exam week and reopen the Saturday before spring semester classes begin, but Mayflower, Hillcrest, Daum, Parklawn, Building 3 at the Lodge, and Centerstone Apartments are open to residents during winter break. There is a fee to stay in campus housing, and you must be registered at the desk.
- Thanksgiving and spring breaks—Residents of all halls may remain in their rooms during these two periods, but food service is not provided.
University Housing Application Process & Contract
All students admitted to the university can Apply for On-Campus Housing as soon as they are offered admission. University Housing & Dining does its best to assign students to a permanent space in the residence halls if they apply in a timely manner. If you prefer to live off campus (private residence, condominium, apartment, etc.), do not apply for University Housing. Once assigned to live in University Housing, you cannot cancel your contract.
- Residence hall applicants are notified of their room assignments beginning in June. If you arrive in Iowa City before receiving your assignment, contact University Housing & Dining in Burge Hall (319-335-3000) as soon as possible to confirm your reservation.
- Do not sign a lease for off-campus housing before you have checked with the University Housing & Dining office.
- If you have a residence hall assignment and also sign a lease for housing elsewhere, you may have two legally binding contracts. You could be responsible for paying rent on both places.
The UI Office of Student Financial Aid estimates that the average cost of living off-campus in Iowa City is about $9,500 per year, per student. The actual cost will vary depending on the type of housing you choose, its distance from campus, and your style of living.
Off-Campus Housing Services
Find listings for apartments for rent near campus.
Off-Campus Housing Tips for International Students
If you choose to live off campus, you probably will be required to sign a lease. This is a binding legal contract between the tenant (you) and the landlord (property owner). Read everything carefully before you sign your name to a document.
- Do not sign a lease unless you are satisfied with the housing and expect to remain satisfied for the duration of the agreement.
- Ask questions if you are not certain you understand what you have read.
- Leases normally run from August through July, but students who arrive in January usually sign a six-month lease for January through July. If you plan to leave Iowa City during the summer, you still will be legally bound to pay for your lodging through the full term of your lease. Some landlords permit students to sublease (find another renter for) their lodging during the summer months.