Off-Campus Housing FAQs

What is the difference between on-campus and off-campus housing?

Off-campus housing refers to locations where students live that are not owned or leased by SAIC.

How can a student find housing off-campus?

While there are many websites and resources for finding apartment listings in the city, SAIC has partnered with an off-campus housing resource called Places4Students, which contains apartment listings around Chicago. The website also has a roommate-finding feature. You may create a profile to advertise your need for a roommate much like many social networking sites. The profile and any information you post on the website will only be visible to other SAIC community members. We recommend this tool for finding another SAIC student as a roommate.

What are the average prices of apartments in the Chicago area?

This answer varies greatly in Chicago. To assist you in your search, we have gathered average rent prices for several Chicago neighborhoods. SAIC created a map showing the concentration of SAIC students who live off campus based on the address they have registered with the school, (see pages 11–15 of the Undergraduate Off-Campus Housing in Chicago‌ [PDF]). From this map, we researched rent prices on a few neighborhoods with very large and smaller up-and-coming populations. Also, we added other helpful information such as the public transportation that is available from that neighborhood.

Where can I stay in Chicago while conducting my search?

SAIC does not provide temporary housing, but short-term housing can be found easily around the city. We are pleased to provide links to many such places. For a list of such places please look at page 9 of the Undergraduate Off-Campus Housing in Chicago‌ [PDF].

Where do I buy amenities?

Shower curtains, bath mats, towels, and other toiletries and necessities can be found around Chicago. Make sure that you create a list of things that they will need before you start your search to make shopping easier. Here are a few places to start with:

How will I know about programs/activities on campus?

You can find out about everything from events on campus such as visiting artists and educational programming through our SAIC website, emails, and postings on bulletin boards around the SAIC campus.

How will I get around campus and the city?

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains travel throughout Chicago's neighborhoods during the day and evening. SAIC partners with the CTA to provide free transportation on CTA routes via the U-Pass for both fall and spring terms. Buses and trains make other parts of the city easily accessible. Also, many students choose to bring or buy a bicycle, which is a convenient mode of transportation. It is strongly recommended that a bicycle always be secured with a sturdy lock.

What are my dining options?

Many off-campus students cook for themselves, buying groceries from grocery stores or from a delivery service. Students always have access to one of SAIC's three on campus dining locations located in the LeRoy Neiman Center, the Columbus Drive building, and the MacLean Center.

Students can place money on their ARTICard to assist with managing their dining options. ARTICash can be used at any of the three on campus cafés as well as several off campus dining locations near campus. You can view the current list of off-campus restaurants that accept ARTICard.

What should I do if I have problems with a landlord?

Residence Life staff invites students to come into our office (Sullivan Center, 36 South Wabash Avenue, suite 1203) to discuss with one of our staff members. Residence Life staff can help you utilize a plethora of resources provided by the City of Chicago.

Will moving off campus affect my financial aid?

For information about how your student’s financial aid package may be affected by the move off-campus, please visit the Financial Aid web pages or set up an appointment with a Financial Aid advisor

Can I move back on campus (SAIC owned/leased residence halls) after living off campus?

Yes! If you are considering moving back on campus, contact Residence Life as soon as possible. Current students apply for housing in late February/early March for the next school year. Students who may be looking to live on campus for the spring semester only would generally apply in November.

What if I want to go home for the summer?

Depending on your lease, you may be able to sublet your apartment for a temporary block of time. You would find a suitable subletter, and this temporary occupant would pay the landlord or you (contingent on the written leasing agreement) the monthly rent and utilities for a predetermined amount of time before you return and take over the payments.

Where can I store my stuff?

Short-term Storage (e.g., over the summer)
The end of the spring semester always comes with many moves. If you would like to go home for the summer there are facilities that offer storage on a month-to-month basis. Collegeboxes, a U-Haul company, offers both boxes and storage for winter and summer months to SAIC residents on and off campus. Collegeboxes will deliver boxes, pick the packed boxes up and deliver them to the storage facility, and drop them off when you return or move to a new place. Here are some other short-term storage options.

Long-term Storage (e.g., over an academic year)
Chicago has many storage facilities students can store art, furniture, and any number of things that you are not able house within your new space. Here is a short list of the many storage facilities available to our students:

How can I know how safe my neighborhood is?

We understand your concern. Chicago is the nation’s third largest city, and where this many people occupy the same space, safety does become a concern. There are Internet sites dedicated to monitoring the safety of Chicago neighborhoods. The Chicago Police Department CLEARMAP allows you to research maps that determine the number of crime incidents, registered sex offenders, and registered gun offenders in a particular neighborhood as well as read crime summaries by beat, find community clubs and address community concerns.