Do students live on or off MSU's campus? What is a typical monthly rent payment in the East Lansing area?

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.

When do students make living arrangements?

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. 

Do I need to have a car?

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. 

What is the weather like in winter in mid-Michigan?

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! 

Will I need to take out student loans, or can I afford to live off the assistantship?

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. 

Do I have to pay tuition? Do I pay the out-of-state resident tuition rates?

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. 

Do I receive any health care coverage?

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.