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Graduate Life - Housing

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Housing and Living

Stanford has a strong residential character. Over half of all graduate students live in university-operated apartments. The university's residence system is among the largest and most diverse in the nation.

How does on-campus housing work?

There is a lottery and when you enter it, you list your choice of housing options in preferential order. Housing is guaranteed for first-year graduate students, but this means that you must apply on time and select the option that you are willing to accept any living arrangement (studio, two people in a two-bedroom, three people in a two-bedroom, etc.). If you submit your choices by the deadline, usually you obtain your top housing choices.

If you are staying into a second year of MS work, students can renew the same housing assignment for the following year without entering a lottery. Thus, if you are happy with whatever assignment you get in the fall of your first year (and you live in a residence that is open year-round), in the spring of your first year you now can just check "renew" on your housing application for the next year and keep your assignment for the following year.

Pets are not allowed in campus housing.

How much does on-campus housing cost per month?

The cost of housing varies. The general rule of thumb is that the more room/suite-mates you have, the lower the rent. If you would like to have a room to yourself (double-occupancy two-bedroom, etc.) then you should expect to pay more. If you do not mind sharing a room, then the cost drops some.

What is included in on-campus housing costs?

In addition to the rent, the cost of housing covers basic utilities (electricity and water). Laundry is free to students living on campus. Also, most on-campus apartments are furnished so you don't have to worry about the cost of furniture. Additional charges will apply for an internet connection, cable TV, etc. (These services are easily available and are relatively inexpensive). If you have a car, you will need to purchase a campus parking permit, but they are relatively inexpensive for students.

What are the off-campus housing options?

A popular way to find off-campus housing is to use Craigslist. You can perform specific searches of price ranges or towns or places that accept pets. The places listed include condos, homes for rent, individual cottages, or apartments. If you do a search on Craigslist, go to "apts/housing" and then click on "Peninsula" at the top of the screen (S.F. Bay Area prompt). Depending upon the specific location, the following towns are within bikeable distance from Stanford: Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto. Redwood City, Los Altos and Mountain View are a minimum of a ~30 min bike ride.

How much do off-campus apartments costs per month?

Depending upon how many roommates you have, monthly rent can range from $600-$1,200/per person.

How can I find a roommate?

Most incoming students do not know people at Stanford and so do not choose their roommates. However, if you do find/choose someone you would like to room with in university housing, then you can request that Housing Assignments Office assign both of you to the same housing location. There is also a roommate-finding website.

What about housing for couples or families?

There are several options for on-campus couples housing-furnished or unfurnished. Please see the Housing Options page for information about housing for couples without children and students with children.

Can I get health insurance for my dependents as a grad student?

Spouses, same-sex domestic partners, and dependent children of students are eligible to enroll in Cardinal Care (the University’s student health care plan). Students must be enrolled in Cardinal Care before their dependents

What’s the bottom line?

MS students should budget at least $600 per quarter for books and supplies above tuition and housing costs. Information on tuition fees and other typical costs such as for housing may be found on the following sites: