Most students move off campus after their first year at UI. There are plenty of houses and apartments available in the area, most of which are within walking distance of campus. The most popular places to look for housing are the College Street or Ralston Creek apartments. Both of these complexes are mostly student-occupied and are a stone’s throw from downtown Iowa City. If it’s a house you’re looking for, you’re going to end up a bit farther from campus, but still within walking distance. Most of the student-rented houses are on Washington, College, Governor, and Jefferson streets. Prices for apartments and houses run about the same—the general rule of thumb is the farther you are from campus, the cheaper your rent will be.
Iowa City and the University offer an extensive guide for finding off-campus housing when you’re ready to move off campus, which can be found on the city’s Web site. Each year, many students run into problems with landlords, but most of these are avoidable issues. It’s important to make sure you inspect the place well before you move in and carefully read everything you sign. It’s also easy to forget about the hidden costs of living off campus, such as heat, electricity, Internet, and cable. When all is said and done, however, it costs about the same, if not less, to live off campus as it does in the residence halls.