Off campus housing worth looking into

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Lauren Thorbjornsen

Fall is here, signaling colder temperatures, fallen leaves and for many students looking to move out of the residence halls – apartment leasing season.

As students consider private housing, homes or apartments on campus, another option exists that is often overlooked: off-campus housing.

Sterling University Fields is an off-campus apartment complex at 117 Sterling Court in Savoy, about four miles off campus. Four miles can be a trip on foot, but transportation is available near many off-campus apartments.

“The yellow bus goes straight from our parking lot, making many stops along the way, and stopping at the Union,” said Katy Warren, assistant manager at Sterling. “And it is not a long bus ride.”

The 13 Silver bus route runs every half an hour from University Commons Apartments 1321 N. Lincoln Ave. in Urbana.

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“The bus stop is right in front of our complex and it is free for University students,” said Jessica Thompson, manager of University Commons.

Off-campus housing offers other benefits as well. Most off-campus apartments have more flexible leasing periods and some do not have set deadlines for lease signing. Students are able to sign a lease almost up to the time they move in.

“Anyone can sign leases anytime,” Warren said. “We like our renewals in by January, and we usually hold apartments for our existing residents.”

Another unique feature of off-campus housing is the option of individual leasing. Sterling, University Commons and Melrose Apartments, 1601 N. Lincoln Ave. in Urbana, offer this option.

“In individual leasing, people are only responsible for themselves,” Thompson said. “We lease per bedroom, so if your roommate drops out of school or flunks out, other people don’t suffer the consequences.”

Many off-campus apartments are fully furnished, affordable and rent often includes paid utilities.

“Rent includes everything – power, trash, Ethernet,” Thompson said. “The only thing not included is telephone.”

Thompson also said off campus housing offers added perks.

“You get a pool, hot tub, fitness center, parking off campus,” she said.

Some apartments allow pets in the apartment. Sterling allows cats and dogs weighing less than 30 pounds, Warren said.

Overall, Thompson said off-campus housing is an option students should consider.

“The main benefits to living off campus are basically paying about the same for a much nicer apartment,” Thompson said.

Mary Miller, sophomore in LAS and resident at Sterling, said off campus housing has its benefits.

“I love living off campus,” Miller said. “It is quiet and away from all the congestion. And there are so many bonuses to living off campus, like a pool, basketball courts and volleyball courts … things you could never get on campus.”

Miller said the only disadvantage is feeling secluded from friends.

“Living off campus has its expenses, but economically, it is better priced than on campus for everything that you get,” Miller said.