Since your residence hall room or your apartment will be your home during the academic year, you will want to have all the comforts and supplies you need day-to-day. If you plan to live on campus, all the dorm rooms are furnished, however, you will still need to provide your own linens, towels, desk lamps, cleaning supplies which can be purchased at Walmart in town. If you plan to live off-campus, please check with your landlord to see whether your apartment is furnished. If the apartment is not furnished, some good sources of inexpensive furniture are the thrift shops in town.
Living in the residence halls is a perfect way to combine lessons learned in the classroom with life outside of the classroom. You will be close to everything on campus, and research shows that students who live on-campus graduate sooner than those who live off-campus. The University Housing website details the living on campus options. The South Dakota Board of Regents residence policy requires that students live on campus during the first two years after they have or would have graduated from the American equivalent of high school. Further, unmarried students enrolled in six or more credit hours delivered on the main campus must live on campus.
On-Campus Dining & Meal Plans
When it comes to great food, you'll be glad to know that Campus Dining offers many convenient dining options. There are campus restaurants, buffets, food court-like settings and convenient express options at locations on campus. Your meal plan enables you to use your Coyote Card ID at all Campus Dining locations just like a debit card. The South Dakota Board of Regents requires freshmen or sophomores who live on campus to purchase a meal plan each semester. USD offers a variety of meal plan options for you to meet your dining needs.
International Student Services does offer a free transportation to Sioux Falls every month where ethnic food can be purchased at the grocery stores such as East African store and Asian markets. However, it is a good idea to bring some packaged dried foods from your country, in case you miss it.
There is an off-campus housing website maintained by USD students. You can also contact local property management companies; several are listed as part of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce. On the directory page, pick real estate for options.
Tips for Living Off Campus
- If you choose to live off campus, you probably will be required to sign a lease. This is a binding legal contract between you and the property owner. Read everything carefully before you sign your name to a document.
- Do not sign a lease unless you are satisfied with the housing and expect to remain satisfied for the duration of the agreement.
- Ask questions if you are not certain you understand what you have read.
- The majority of landlords ask for a security deposit, usually one month's rent. Do not pay the deposit until you are absolutely sure you want the apartment.
- Even if you never move in, landlords will not give the deposit back to you. The deposit will however be returned to you when you move out of the apartment, providing you have done no damage to the apartment.
- We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these terms before you sign a rental agreement.
Questions to Ask before Renting
- How much is the rent per month?
- When is the rent due? How often is the rent due?
- What is included in the rent payment? Internet? Utilities? Electricity? Phone? Cable?
- Who do you call for emergency repairs?
- Do you require a security deposit? If so, how much?
- Will you return my security deposit when I leave?
- How long is the lease? Does the lease renew automatically or do I need to request a renewed lease? How much notice needs to be given before I can terminate the lease agreement?
- Is parking available and what kind is it? Garage? Parking lot? On‐the‐street parking? Are there charges for parking?
- Where is the nearest childcare, kindergarten, elementary, junior high or high school?
- Are storage facilities available? Are there additional charges?
- Do you allow pets (and what size pets)? Are there additional charges?
- Are there laundry facilities in the apartment/rental complex or near the apartment?
- Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished?
- Do you permit pictures to be hung on the walls or allow any type of improvements to be made?
- Where is the nearest grocery store?
- How, when and where do you dispose of trash?
- Is there anything you do not allow to bring/have in the apartment?
- How early in advance do you need to know that I will be moving to another apartment?