Graduate student housing, like undergraduate options, can be narrowed down to two general options: on-campus housing or off-campus housing. Living off campus means living in an apartment or house and signing a lease or rent agreement. Living on campus for graduate student housing may be structured in several ways, including living in a dorm or in an on-campus suite. While not all graduate students will need to live with roommates, it is a common practice and can help save the student a significant amount of money on the small budget he or she is likely to have. Financial aid options may be available for certain types of graduate student housing.
One option for graduate student housing is living in a dorm and working as a Residence Director, or RD. An RD is responsible for managing Residence Assistants and day-to-day functioning of the dormitory in which undergraduate students live. Responsibilities may include coordinating activities, dealing with medical emergencies and dorm resident issues and complaints, and holding meetings with Resident Assistants to make sure all dormitory rules are properly enforced. In return, a Residence Director is often given a reasonably-sized apartment within the dorm free of charge or reduced in price.
Living off campus is another common graduate student housing option. A graduate student may or may not be eligible for financial aid that can be used for housing in this case, but living off campus can allow for more versatility in housing options as well as the ability to find a better price on a larger home that can accommodate several roommates. Many graduate students choose to take several roommates to reduce the price of the rent, but one should keep in mind that choosing roommates should be done carefully; a graduate student often needs a quiet and calm atmosphere for study.
Some colleges and universities do not have enough on-campus graduate student housing, so they may offer reduced rent options off campus. Alternatively, they may help students look for housing options off campus without offering reduced rents. When considering off-campus housing, one should research different options for transportation to and from campus, services in and around the town, and other services one would commonly find while living on campus.