Living in Iowa City

A majority of first-year students will live on-campus in their first year and some will decide to return in their second year. Others will decide to move off-campus and live in an apartment complex, rent a house with a group of friends, or live at an off-campus, non-university sponsored student housing facility. Students and parents should have conversations early and often about which option works best for them, with considerations to financial needs, personal preferences, and transportation needs and restrictions.

Conversation Starters

One of the more challenging transitions in your student's first year of college will be their adjustment to living away from their parents or families. You can help your student navigate roommate conflicts or plan to move off-campus by asking the following questions: 


  • What strategies do you and your roommate have in place in moments of conflict? 
  • What routines do you have in place to keep your space habitable? 
  • What are your hopes for living off-campus? 
  • What concerns do you have about living off-campus? 
  • How are you contributing to your residence hall and floor community and making the space better for everyone? 

The University of Iowa has several great on-campus residence halls to choose from. They vary in size, from 1,000 rooms to 299, to fit each and every student’s needs. Living on campus is a great way for you to make new friends and meet new people, as well as take advantage of a safe and affordable living space. First year students will live in all residence halls across campus. Regardless of which residence hall your student lives in, they will have a truly unique and personal experience. 

Be a Successful Roommate

Adjusting to living with another human being can be difficult, whether or not you knew them before coming to Iowa or you're meeting for the first time. As a parent or family member of a student, we encourage you to have conversations normalizing conflict and encouraging your student to work through their issue healthily. For more information about successful roommate experiences, check out the link below. 

Applying for Housing

The University of Iowa's Housing application and timeline has shifted over the last year to ensure the process is fair and streamlined. Students should apply for housing early, even if they aren't for sure coming to Iowa. For more information about the housing application, process, and timeline, we encourage you to check-out the link below. 

As you and your student explore options off-campus, we encourage you to access the Off-Campus Living guide. This collaborative resource is provided by the Undergraduate Student Government, the Office of the Vice President for Student Life, and Student Legal Services. This guide helps students living off-campus deal with issues like maintenance, finding a place to live, signing a lease, and more.