Living Off Campus

As a senior, I feel as though it is my personal duty, mission, and responsibility to debunk common UIUC stereotypes. I could tell you that dorm food is actually pretty tasty, that class sizes aren’t always 400 students (my current classes have roughly 20), and that Champaign isn’t nearly as rural as many people think. But those are thoughts for another day. Today, my mission is to disprove a campus-wide misconception that gets my blood boiling more than all others: the idea that living off campus is “bad.” 


Living off campus can sometimes be less expensive than living on campus. How do I know? I’ve worked for a local property management company for three years. The cost of living often decreases when you cross Lincoln Avenue, First Street, or University Avenue. For example, a four-bedroom apartment on John Street will likely run you close to $750 per person per month, while a comparable (and often larger) four-bedroom apartment on Oak Street will likely cost closer to $600 per person per month.  $150 a month not sounding like a lot of money? That’s $1,800 a year. Just don’t forget to factor in other costs, such as utilities and food.

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

Public Transportation

Public transportation for U of I students is free. Free in air quotes because, well, it isn’t really free, but it is included in your mandatory campus fee. If you’re already paying for it, you might as well use it, right? Busses line all of Champaign-Urbana, so it is as easy as the walk to a bus stop to get anywhere you need on campus. For more on C-U transportation, check out the C-U Mass Transit website!

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

Natural Beauty

Now, this one may be biased. But I would rather live in a historic neighborhood than next to a McDonalds on Green Street. In fact, morning runs and evening walks through the surrounding off campus areas have brought a new sense of peace to me. It has also allowed me to pop the campus bubble and really become a local in the C-U community

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

All in all, it is important to consider many factors when deciding whether to live on or off campus. Proximity to campus, budget, and amenities are all factors to take into consideration. I can assure you that my time living off campus has been nothing short of exceptional. Not only am I directly across from restaurants and coffee shops, but I have had the chance to live in a spacious apartment with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, 2 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms for half the price of a comparable unit on campus. When it boils down to it, it all about the apartment that will work best for your needs.



Class of 2020
I am studying Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Social Sciences and Literacy in the College of Education. Although I now reside in Champaign, I am originally from Vernon Hills, a Northwest suburb of Chicago.


  • This little article has been very helpful! I am transferring in as a Junior in the fall and could not be more lost on where to rent. If you have any more helpful tips about campus life and places to live I am certainly all ears!

  • Hi Collin,
    We’re excited that you’ll be joining us next year! Since posting this blog, Rachel has graduated. However, if you’re looking to live off campus, Off-Campus Community Living is a great resource to reach out to: We hope this helps, and good luck with your search!