Picking the right place that is best for you
The best way to determine where you would want to live is by checking out the pictures online (if you are not able to look at them in person). We have the links to each apartment’s website on the Housing Options page that will give you a closer look at each apartment complex as well. Some apartments have utilities included in the rent and some do not, so that is one thing to consider as well as the locations of each apartment complex. You will find a map on the International Student Housing homepage.
The application process and timeline
Submit your application and send your deposit in March (for fall start) or in October (for spring start). Each apartment complex has a separate application, a separate application fee, and a separate security deposit. Fill out your application early and submit the application fee and deposit directly to the apartment complex to secure your space. You must plan ahead and communicate with the apartment complex directly. You may need to plan for time to obtain a wire transfer or international money order for the application fee and deposit. Please work out details on specific dates of arrival and ask any questions directly to them about the application process and move-in details.
A lease is a housing contract where you are committing to live in a certain complex for 10- or 12-months. Note that if you graduate Kirkwood or leave school before the end of your lease terms, you are not automatically let out of your lease. Leases typically start in August each year and run through the following May or July. If you are interested in moving here before those times please let the apartment complex know and they can work with you to determine if it's possible to move-in before August.
Apartment complexes near campus all require co-signers for most students. A co-signer is often a parent or relative with
established credit who is responsible for payment if the student is not making rent payments. Complexes are willing to work with students without co-signers, but often require students to pay for a semester (6 months) or the entire year’s rent before moving into your apartment.
A deposit is a specific amount of money that each student pays to hold their spot at the apartment complex. If students take care of the apartment and no damage is done, students are eligible to receive this deposit back once they move out of their apartment. Each apartment complex requires a different amount for their security deposit. Some apartments may require a double-deposit if you do not have a co-signer as an International Student.
Kirkwood does offer meal plans to students, but they are not required. Students will have a full kitchen in their apartment that most students use to cook meals. There are also local restaurants nearby and throughout Cedar Rapids. To check out the meal plan options visit www.kirkwood.edu/thecafe. If students choose to set up a meal plan they can do this once they are on campus or purchase it prior to arriving at www.kirkwood.edu/eaglecard.
Apartment complexes are unfurnished. You have some options:
The first option is to buy furniture when you arrive. There are places in Cedar Rapids with secondhand furniture and/or low cost furniture. Some students choose to stay in a hotel on arrival for a few days to allow time to furnish the apartment and buy a bed, desk, couch, TV, table or other basic items like towels, toiletries, kitchen supplies, etc.
The second option is to rent furniture before or after you arrive. Kirkwood can provide you with a list of places to purchase or rent furniture prior to your arrival at Kirkwood.
What to bring
As mentioned previously, the apartments will not be furnished so keep in mind that students will also be responsible for bringing towels, toiletries, kitchen supplies, and any other personal items they desire.
Grocery Stores and Shopping Centers
There are local grocery and shopping centers that you are able to ride the Cedar Rapids Bus Transit to or catch a ride from a friend to purchase these items.
Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, and Target are some of the shopping centers a few miles drive from campus.
For a list of locations in the Cedar Rapids area where Halal foods can be purchased, please click here.
We often recommend Goodwill and Stuff, etc. stores for secondhand goods at lower prices.