FAQs

About Off Campus Student Life 

Is the Off Campus Student Center located off campus? 

  • We are located on campus in Bartlett Hall, room 103. Stop in the next time you walk to the library and say hi! 

Do you only help students currently living off campus? 

  • We’re here for all students at all stages of their journey. Even if you’re just thinking about living off campus, come have a chat with us. We’re the best place to start! 

What about commuter students? 

  • We consider anyone not living in a residence hall to broadly be an off campus student, but we do offer support for commuters. Our student lounge in Bartlett 103 offers refrigerator and microwave use as well as locker rentals for those long days. It’s also a great place to meet other off campus students! 

When do students usually move off campus? 

  • Many students choose to live off campus in their junior or senior years, but some students never live off campus. Life off campus comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges, and we encourage students to feel comfortable in their classes and build on campus connections first. 

Finding Housing 

Where is the best place to look for an apartment? 

  • The best and safest place to look for housing in the Amherst area is our official website: offcampushousing.umass.edu. We strongly suggest you do NOT use Craigslist or Facebook to search for an apartment due to the high number of scams there. Off Campus Student Life does not run any Facebook housing pages, and any groups there claiming to be official are not.

Where do most off campus students choose to live? 

  • Many students live in Amherst, as well as the surrounding towns of Hadley and Sunderland. Most rental housing in this area is geared towards students and have transit connections. 

When should I start looking for housing? 

  • We recommend students start their fall housing search in December to ensure they find a place that meets their preferences. At that point, students should consider their budget, who they want to live with, and the general area they want to live in. By the early spring semester, students should start actively looking. Landlords tend to post their units between February and April. While units may still be available in the late spring and summer in some cases, we recommend they take a slow and thoughtful approach to finding a rental by starting earlier. Cheaper housing tends to fill up quickly, as do wait lists at complexes. 

Does UMass have partnerships with off campus complexes? 

  • No. We remain in contact with various complexes to get a sense of prices and the number of units left, but we do not endorse any particular complex or have control over prices. 

Is Fieldstone considered off campus housing? 

  • Yes, the Slate undergraduate and Artisan graduate housing projects on Massachusetts Avenue are part of a public-private partnership. It is off campus housing built on university land. The university does not have control over the prices charged and it is not a residence hall. 

What kinds of housing are available? 

  • Options in the Amherst area include houses (single family/duplexes), apartments, and student-oriented complexes. To see current listings, check out our official housing website: offcampushousing.umass.edu.

Do you help students find housing? 

  • We can help students navigate our housing website, show them where to look, and pass along any real time market information we have. We do not find housing on behalf of students, but will support their own search. 

Where are the best places to live? 

  • The “best” place to live varies based on a student's needs. Students should consider factors including distance to campus, cost of rent, physical state of the property, access to public transportation, and reputation of the property manager/landlord. 

Can you help me understand my lease? 

  • We can answer general questions about leasing and terms you may come across, but we are not lawyers. If you have a specific legal question or want your lease reviewed in depth, the Student Legal Services Office can assist you for free! 

Affording Housing 

Where are the cheapest apartments? 

  • Lower priced apartments are available in Amherst, but require some consistent and early searching. Communities outside of Amherst, such as Belchertown, South Hadley, Granby, Northampton, Hatfield, and Easthampton, are generally lower priced but require a car and a longer commute. 

Do I pay UMass for my apartment, or do I pay my landlord? 

  • As an off campus student, you pay monthly rent to your landlord or property manager, as outlined in your lease. UMass is not affiliated with any off campus housing. 

Can my financial aid cover my rent? 

  • Contact your Financial Aid advisor for more information about your specific situation. Your initial Cost of Attendance includes an estimate for the cost of living on campus. If your off campus housing costs significantly exceed that estimate, and you're in a situation where you need more loans to fill that gap, Financial Aid can help you complete a Cost of Attendance Increase Appeal.

Getting Around 

How can I find an apartment close to a bus stop? 

  • You can refine your search to find apartments near bus stops using the filters on our housing website: offcampushousing.umass.edu. Additionally, the PVTA has an interactive map on their website that allows you to input an address and view bus routes nearby. 

Do most off campus students have a car? 

  • Not all off campus students have a car. While having a car is useful for students that live farther away, many students take PVTA buses to get around. Note that off campus students still need a parking permit to park on campus. 

Are the buses in Amherst free? 

  • Many bus lines in Amherst are free, no ID required. Additional lines to surrounding communities are free during the school year with a UMass ID. Check out our transit resources to learn more! 

Student Life 

How can I connect with other students living off campus? 

  • Three great ways to meet other off campus students are by introducing yourself to your neighbors, utilizing our off campus lounge in Bartlett 103, and attending events that Off Campus Student Life organizes. We’ll stay in touch throughout the year by email with additional opportunities. Make sure to read them! 

I’m getting noise complaints from my neighbors and I don’t think I’m being that loud. What should I do? 

  • First, take advantage of Good Neighbor Registration and register any weekend gatherings. You’ll receive a one-time courtesy call from the police if a noise complaint is called in, instead of a police response. Secondly, get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself, exchange phone numbers, and talk about your expectations for each other. Our office can help you if you have questions about this.