Almost all students choose to live off-campus. There are plenty of reasonably priced apartments and townhouses in either walking or short-driving distance from campus. Prices range from approximately $500-800, depending on size and location.
Students generally come to the East Lansing area to look for an apartment and sign a lease during the early summer. However, some student start as early as April, because some apartment complexes will put you on a waiting list, and will contact you when a unit comes available within the time frame that you would like to start your lease.
While you may decide you don’t want to have a car if you live very close to campus, all of the current students do have cars. There are a few small stores and restaurants close to campus, but most of the supermarkets, other stores, and restaurants are not a reasonable walking distance. There is a bus line that runs through the East Lansing area. However, having a car is recommended. Parking permits are available for purchase for students who have assistantships, and cost about $40 per semester.
The first snowfall is usually in early November, and winter weather usually lasts until mid-March. Temperatures are coldest in January and February, usually ranging from mid-30s to the single digits. Snowfalls are not particularly heavy, and we have a number of students from southern states that have successfully learned to drive in the snow!
The assistantship stipend is designed so that one student can afford to live modestly. Whether you need a loan will depend on your lifestyle, and if you have any other factors involved, such as a spouse or dependent children, high moving expenses, plan on purchasing a computer, etc. Many current students do have loans; however, there are a few who are managing the process loan-free.
in fall and spring semesters, students with assistantships are waived tuition for nine credit hours; during summer session, four credit hours of tuition are waived. Students who take more than nine (or four) credits are required to pay for those additional credits, but pay at an in-state student rate. The out-of-state portion of the tuition is waived for graduate assistants. Students are responsible for paying fees each semester.
All graduate students on an assistantship receive student medical insurance coverage free of charge. This includes major medical coverage, sick/injury visits to the campus health clinic, and many lab test are covered. Prescriptions have a modest co-pay.