At the beginning of every new semester, many higher level educational institutions expect the arrival of new students joining the freshman year or a graduate program in the various fields offered. As a result, the demand for houses at this time is more often at the peak both on campus and off campus. Most universities for example, offer accommodation arrangements for their new students each year but the choice whether to accept or not is left for the students themselves to decide.
Due to the obvious fact that new students may not be familiar with the area from which they study, it is important that these institutions provide ample information about both types of accommodation available. This paper shall therefore set out to explore the various locations around the University of Minnesota twin city (UMTC) all the while evaluating the core factors that should be considered by all students before they select and get into lease contracts for various residential properties.
U of MN Off campus housing overview
Many new students who enroll at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (UMTC) start to look for a great place to reside as they prepare to start off the new life at their new school. Considering their financial status and lifestyle preferences, the decision of where to stay depends on the location, availability of social amenities, rental prices and distance to and from the University.
According to statistics posted on collegeboard.com, the average number of new students enrolled at UMTC is 80,000 students. From this figure, a total of 83% live in the different accommodations offered within the campus while the rest look for housing off-campus. However, only 22% of all undergraduate students manage to get accommodations within the university while the remaining 78% secure residential houses off- campus.
UMTC guarantees differentiated housing options to all admitted freshmen. These options include: coed housing, apartments for married and single students, fraternity or sorority houses, special accommodation for the disabled and international students and wellness housing within which drug use is prohibited. However, there are a limited number of on-campus housing options for transfer students as priority is given to students originating from the state.
In addition to this, the number of students enrolled and the existing ones far exceeds the accommodation houses offered by the University and as a result, most transfer students who are not from the Twin Cities are forced by these circumstances to look for off-campus housing and if asked, they bear testimony of how difficult it is to find a suitable and convenient place to live. On the same note, new graduate students applying for master’s degree in the university attest to facing the same struggles with housing.
This is even worse to those who intend to live with their family (married). This is because they have to factor in the environment and social influences that are presented to their children and also the availability of educational facilities for the same (baby day care and schools). Also, parents especially for the undergraduate students should participate in the process of finding a house for their children.
This is because many of these students view campus as an experimental ground and can therefore make wrong decisions in a bid to satisfy their curiosity. The involvement of the parents gives the students a feeling that they are being watched and this to some extent helps keep them on good behavior
Additionally, students living off-campus must put into consideration the following factors; security, transportation, nearness to food stores (groceries and beverages), entertainment and the demographics of the proposed vicinities. However, the Minneapolis campus area provides these amenities in abundance and the distance to and from the University ranges from a walking distance to a 15 minute drive making it a suitable area to live in as an off-campus student.
Since new students are not familiar with the geography of the Twin Cities, it’s hard to tell if they are making the right decision or not when they have to sign a year contract lease. Therefore, it is important that they focus on the following tips to ensure that they get the best from the surrounding community in order to ease the stress that comes from the educational process.
Safety refers to physical well being that an individual experiences in their day to day activities and the protection provided to them and their property. In light of this, the University of Minnesota is in an urban area and as is with other urban society, the students may fall prey to various crimes that prevail within these areas.
According to the University of Minnesota police department (UMPD), in 2009 crime was characterized by burglaries, carjacking and some isolated incidences of crimes against person.
It is therefore important that students living on-campus and off-campus exercise caution when interacting with the locals or choosing the neighborhoods to visit or live in. in order to reduce the chances of encountering any crime, students are advised to contact the police department when they witness suspicious activities, ensure they lock their houses and cars after they leave and take care while inviting strangers or new friends into their homes.
The university police is working round the clock to ensure that both the members of this vast community and their respective properties are protected as they pursue their daily endeavors.
This factor applies to those students that stay with their children as they pursue their courses. Education in this context therefore refers to child care in case of infants and schooling for those children of age. As such, these students (mostly graduates) must consider their children’s educational needs or daycare in cases of infants as they look up a place to stay.
Child care facilities within the university are limited. The Minnesota child care center offers a full time or part time care for children between the ages of three months to five years. However, due to the limitedness in vacancies, the waiting period may go beyond a year. Payment is dependant on the income of the parents, time spent in the child care and the age of the child.
However, there are other options and child care facilities in the Minneapolis campus area such as the Shirley G. Moore lab school as well as student organized child care centers. For children past the age of five, there are schools around the campus that they can be enrolled in.
These are the amounts charged by landlords in exchange for living quarters. The rates differ in relation to the distance or area of residence to the University.
Those houses near the campus are competitive and attract higher rent than those further from the campus. It is important to consider the rental rates because the decision to rent depends on the amount of money one has allocated to that endeavor (income, pocket money/housing allowances). It is also important to check whether the rental rates include heating, water and electricity in order to avoid paying too much money on the houses.
Also, the rent depends on the size of the house and the condition (furnished or unfurnished). Currently, one bedroom goes for about $525-$715, $690-$1,000 for two bedroom, $890-$1400 three bedroom and $990-$2,200 for a four bed roomed house per semester inclusive of water and heat minus electricity and telephone. With such considerations in mind, it is easy to decide whether to share rooms to cut costs or live alone.
This refers to the mode of travel to and from the campus. The key attributes to consider while choosing a mode of transportation are the distance and cost of travel. Depending on the distance, one may use taxis or the Metro transit system. It is also important to consider the benefits that may be accrued through each method. For example, the university offers university passes for all the students willing to use the Metro transit system.
The prices under the U-pass are greatly discounted ($97 per semester) and the payment is fixed irrespective of the time (rush and non-rush hours) or number of times one uses the buses. In order to qualify for the U-pass, the student muct first pay the required amount, have a university card with a valid student ID number and have an official university internet account for them to receive the u-pass.
It should be noted that the u-pass is only valid for six months after which the students are expected to apply for another one. However, in case a student wants to cancel their U-pass, they must send it via mail to the U-pass offices along with a sign letter of cancellation.
The total amount is charged directly to the student’s account. If the student decides to stop using this privilege but does not cancel their pass, the payments will continue being billed to their account until such a time when they cancel. This information can help the students decide on the mode of transportation as well as plan a budget allocation for the same.
This refers to the total composition of the population that is present at the university in relation to sex, age, income and race. Within the first year student body, statistics provided by university indicates that female students constitute 69% 0f all students enrolled for the current semester for both full-time and part time classes while male students fill up the remaining 31% for similar classes.
In relations to age, students below the age of 21 account for a total percentage of 29% in both full-time and part-time classes, those between 22 and 35 years of age take up 50% of the total students, 12% for those between 36 and 45 years and a staggering 9% for those students over the age of 45 years in both full and part time classes respectively.
According to race and ethnic diversity, 1% of the total student population is of the American Indian race while 8% are Asian, 8% blacks, 2% Hispanic, 5% international students, 71% whites and 4% are from unknown races. There are high income disparities among the students body, the administrative body and within the surrounding society. This is mainly due to the different financial backgrounds and the diversity of economic activities within and outside the campus.
Grocery and markets
Due to the presence of the University in the Minneapolis campus area, there is ready supply and market for groceries. The population within this area is quite large which increases the demand for food staff and other amenities. The markets are also available and well distributed across the area providing ease of access to both the locals and the on and off campus students.
In addition to this, the markets provide a wide range of products as a result of the different preferences exhibited by the consumers thereby providing new students with a large variety of food staff to enjoy. The prices too are very competitive depending on the quality and location of the stores. However, each consumer has an option to buy whatever they want in a quantity equivalent to their financial backing. This makes the markets fair and pocket friendly to the students and the community a large.
It is a common characteristic within the human nature to have some fun. As such, there are various forms of entertainment available to the student of the University of Minnesota. These entertainments can be found within the campus or off-campus depending on individual preferences. There are movie theaters, concert halls and even TV rooms within the campus where students can go and spend their spare time.
Also, there is an art gallery and a museum within the school where people can go and enjoy themselves or even learn aspects of different societies and varied findings. Also, the university offers a wide range of extra curricular activities such as sports, music and dance, debate sessions, theater among others which may help the students realize their talents and hobbies or simply entertain themselves as spectators.
Off- campus, there are various classy hotels and clubs where people can go and unwind. However, it should be noted that the campus and society has a no tolerance rule to underage drinking and drug abuse and therefore students should steer off these vices if they are to successfully complete their purpose in school.
Also partying and loud noise (music) are not preferred by many especially those students who live off-campus. If reported, such cases may lead to suspension or even expulsion from the campus as a disciplinary measure. Therefore while having fun, Students should therefore tread carefully to avoid provoking members of the so
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University of Minnesota. U-pass. retrieved 8th march 2010 from
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Department of public safety. Crime statistics. http://www1.umn.edu/police/crimestats.html
The University of Minnesota Graduate School. Child care. http://www.grad.umn.edu/current_students/handbook/housing.html?format=print
University of Minnesota. Housing and Residential life: off-campus housing. http://www.housing.umn.edu/offcampus/information/student.shtml
University of Minnesota. U-pass. http://www1.umn.edu/pts/busing/passes.html#up
collegeBoard. Student body. http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/CollegeDetail.jsp?collegeId=2312&profileId=0