Center for International Studies

Housing for International Students


On Campus Housing | Undergraduate | Graduate | WESL | Off Campus Housing 

 

If you don't have a place to stay when you first arrive, temporary housing may be available in the residence halls (dormitories) if you plan on living on campus. The prices will vary depending on when you arrive. 

  • In order to sign up for temporary housing (break housing), you must log in to your STARS account.  

The Macomb Inn and America's Best Value Inn also have short-term housing.  For more information, email pickup@wiu.edu

Housing options depend on your classification (graduate, undergraduate, or WESL student).

Undergraduate Students (Bachelor's Degree Students) 

  • All WIU undergraduate students must live on campus (in the residence halls/dorms) for their first four semesters, or until they have completed 60 credit hours. 
  • You may be exempt from this criteria if you are married or are 24 years old or older.
  • Residence Halls (dorms) are semi-private, and have shared bathroom facilities.
  • Dorm rooms do not have a kitchen, but residents have access to a shared kitchen in their building, so there is the ability to cook your own food.
  • You are required to have a meal plan if you live in the dorms (there are some exceptions). This means you will pay to eat at the cafeteria and other places on campus. If you have special dietary needs, please contact the University Housing and Dining Office.
  • Residence Halls are divided by gender (males only live with males, and females only with females) and age (younger students live in certain halls; older students live in other halls).

Residence halls:

To apply to live in the residence halls, visit the University Housing and Dining website

Only submit an application to live in a residence hall if you are 100% certain that is where you want to live. Once you submit the application, you CANNOT break your contract. You will be expected to live in a Residence Hall or pay the cost of one semester in a Residence Hall. The requirement for undergraduate students to live on-campus is a very firm policy. Exceptions are rarely made, usually in cases of extreme medical need. Freshman and sophomore undergraduate students should NOT plan on living off-campus even if they petition to do so.

Graduate Students (Master's Degree Students)

There are several options for graduate students to live on campus.  Students can live in the following:

WESL Students (English Students)

WESL students can also live on or off campus. IMPORTANT NOTE FOR WESL UNDERGRADUATES: If you are not married, under the age of 24, and have less than 60 credit hours when you finish WESL, you MUST move on campus when you begin University courses. Please think about this when you sign a lease!

Pre-order things for your place - If you choose to use this service, please  contact your dorm to see if these items can be shipped there and if the dorm will be able to accept them if you are not there.


Lease Information | Security Deposit | Important Questions | Before You Move In | Apartment Issues

There are many rental businesses around WIU and Macomb area.

These companies are not part of the University. The University can't find an off-campus apartment for you; it is your responsibility to do so.

If you want to find an apartment before you arrive, you may want to contact the apartment complex/company and ask if a lease can be sent to you. 

Almost all of the apartment companies in Macomb have international students living there. They are used to some of the special needs international students have and understand that sometimes there are language problems. They are willing to work with you if you have any problems.

How to Find Off-Campus Housing

Step 1: 

When you are accepted, you will receive a welcome email and added to the "listserv." The listserv is an email group that allows international students to contact each other easily.

Many current students need roommates or need to find someone to move into their apartment/house when they leave. This is a very good way to find a place to live before you arrive.

Step 2:

Contact our international student ambassadors. These are current international students who can give you advice about living in Macomb. They can tell you how they found their apartment/house and advise you on the things you need to check before you sign a lease.

Step 3:

Contact the apartment companies in Macomb. 

Step 4:

Consider these important questions before signing a lease.

  • Do you want to rent a house or apartment?
  • How long is the lease--6 months, 10 months, 12 months, or per semester?
  • When is the rent due?
  • How much is rent each month? *Usually a landlord (apartment/house owner) will make you pay three things before you move in: rent for the first month, rent for the final month, and a security deposit that is usually equal to the cost of one month's rent.
  • Does the rent include water, internet, gas, and/or electricity or will they be paid separately?
  • What other deposits or fees will you have to pay (such as application fee, etc.)?
  • What do you need to do to get a refund when you move out?
  • Is there a penalty for late payment?  Is there a grace period for late payment?
  • Will you have renters insurance?
  • What happens if you lose your key?
  • What are the reasons for which your landlord can break your lease contract?
  • Are there any penalties for moving out of your apartment/house before the lease ends?
  • Is subletting permitted?  Is there a fee for subletting?  (Subletting means someone else takes your place on the lease.)
  • Who is in charge of repairs?
  • When can the landlord come into your place?
  • Are there any rules concerning conduct, quiet hours, etc.?
  • Who will you live with?  How many people can live with you?  What about family and visitors?  What happens when one roommate leaves school or becomes ill?
  • Does the place need furniture such as television, computer, beds, couches, etc.?  Who will bring furniture?
  • Are pets allowed or will anyone have pets?
  • Does anyone have special needs?
  • How many rooms will be needed?
  • Where will you wash your clothes?
  • Is there parking available? 
  • How far from campus is the apartment/house? Is there a bus stop near?

Lease Information

Below are important terms to know when you rent an apartment:

  • Lease - a legal contract you sign before you move into your apartment 
  • Tenant - the person who lives in the room or apartment
  • Landlord - the person who owns or takes care of the room or apartment
  • Sublease - when you find someone to move into your apartment to take your place, this is a sublease (also called subletting) 

When you rent an apartment, a room in a house, or a dorm room, you will sign a legal contract. This means you promise to live there for a certain amount of time and you promise to do and not do certain things. If you live off-campus, the contract is called a "lease." If you live in a university residence hall, the contract is called a "housing contract."

If you are not yet in the United States but want to find an apartment before you arrive, the apartment companies are willing to send you a copy of the lease for signing.  Contact them with the specifics; for example, number of rooms, number of bathrooms, etc. 

Almost all of the apartment companies in Macomb have international students living there. They are used to some of the special needs international students have and understand that sometimes there are language or culture issues. They are willing to work with you if you have any problems.

The lease says:

  • How many months you will live in your apartment and how much money you will pay.
  • What you can and cannot do in the apartment.
  • Who can and cannot stay in the apartment with you.
  • What problems the building owner can fix for you and what problems you have to fix.

This contract is VERY important. If you do something that is not allowed in the contract, you might have to pay a lot of money. So you need to read the lease or housing contract very carefully. 

For example, you sign a lease in January for your apartment for one year; this means you will live there and pay rent for the whole year (12 months). That means you promise to live in the apartment from January to December.

If during the summer you decide you want to move to your friend's apartment, you are "breaking the lease." You will have to pay a lot of money to your landlord because you promised to live in the apartment and did not. Be very careful when you sign a lease.

In the lease, you are called the "tenant." The person who owns or manages the apartment is called the "landlord." If you live in a residence hall, you will be called the resident. You will not have a landlord, but you will sign a contract with the university. 

When you sign a lease, you legally agree to EVERYTHING in the lease. Make sure you understand it before you sign. Get help if you do not understand.  It is very important to keep a copy of the lease.

READ ALL of the lease before you sign it. If you need help understanding your lease, please contact the Center for International Studies.

Security Deposit

The "security deposit" is money you pay when you move in. If you break something or damage the apartment, the landlord keeps the money to fix the damage. But you can get your security deposit back when you move out if your apartment is in the same condition as it was when you moved in. If you live in the dorms/residence halls, you won't pay a deposit when you move in, but you will have to pay if your room is damaged.


Breaking Your Lease

As with any contract, you could face a penalty (have to pay a lot of money) if you break your lease. If your lease is for a fixed term (such as a year), as leases usually are, it means you've agreed to pay rent for the entire term. The fact that you only pay your rent month by month doesn't mean that you don't have to pay the rest of the money if you decide to move out early.

  • Talk with your landlord to see the possibility of breaking your lease.
  • Give as much advance notice as possible.
  • Give good reasons why you want to move out.
  • Offer to help by looking for a replacement tenant yourself--this is called "subletting".  It is often the ONLY way that you can break your lease without paying a lot of money.

Renters Insurance

Personal property is not covered under University or landlord insurance. If you have valuable personal possessions that would be difficult to replace or have extreme sentimental value, it is strongly suggested that you have personal property insurance/renter's insurance. If something happened to your apartment, your landlord is not responsible for that and his/her insurance will NOT cover your personal belongings. You can often buy rental insurance from the same company where you buy your car insurance. 

VIew a list of insurance agencies in Macomb.

Before You Move In

Step 1: Look over the area

In order to get the maximum amount of your security deposit refunded when you move out, it is suggested that you do the following:

  • Before you move in make certain to go through the entire place thoroughly, documenting ANY damage. If you do not properly document existing damage, the landlord can charge you for the damage at the end of the year.
  • If there is anything that needs to be replaced make sure and state that to your landlord. Ask for those repairs to be made before you move in or within a reasonable time, and write that into your contract before you sign it. Examples include:
    • Screen door has no glass in it, window lock is broken, etc.
    • Cracks in walls, discolored paints, dirty carpet, etc..
    • Dripping faucets, lack of hot water, broken locks, non-functional appliances, absence of or non-functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Photograph or videotape the place (highly recommended) so you have a record of what damage was already there before you came.
  • Document the condition of the place as early as possible to show the true nature of the unit before normal wear and tear occurs throughout the school year.

If your landlord does not want to give your security deposit back when you move out, and you disagree, you can use the pictures/video to help your case.

Step 2: Set up utilities (water, electricity, internet, ect.) a week before your arrival if possible.

*Note: If you are not in the U.S. yet, it is a good idea to ask your landlord to do this for you. If a landlord is taking care of your utilities make sure that he/she has turned your utilities on before you move in.

Call electric and gas companies:

  • Ameren CIPS (800) 755-5000
  • McDonough Power (309) 833-2101

Set up cable/internet

  • Comcast Communications (800) 266-2278

Macomb Waterworks requires $100 deposit to turn on your water service.

  • Macomb Waterworks (309) 833-2031

Step 3: Consider buying renters insurance

If your place is damaged, broken into, your landlord is not liable for any damage done to your property due to fire, flooding, vandalism, or theft. You could lose everything and have no way to recover it.

Some insurance policies average between $100 and $150 per year. Please consult an insurance agent for further information about prices and liability issues. View insurance agents in Macomb.

Apartment Issues

Insect and Animal Problems

  • If living in a home, you are responsible for the problem.
  • If living in an apartment and yours is the only one with the problem, then you are responsible.
  • If living in an apartment and ALL apartments have the same problem, then the landlord is responsible.

Broken Appliances (Washing machine, oven, etc.)

  • A landlord must repair and maintain all appliances that they own.
  • If the landlord provides appliances such as stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and laundry machines they must fix them.

Plumbing (water) Problems

  • A landlord must take care of the plumbing and make sure that it is safe and comfortable.
  • All apartments must have a room, separate from other rooms containing a flushing toilet, bathtub or shower, and a sink.
  • All apartments must also have a kitchen sink as well.

 Electrical Problems

  • All habitable rooms should contain at least two separate working outlets.
  • One outlet and one light fixture shall be provided in every bathroom and laundry room.
  • Every kitchen should have at least two outlets and one light fixture.

Heating Problems

  • Landlords must make sure that there is heat for all rooms at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). The heating period lasts from November 1st - May 1st.
  • Landlords must make sure there is hot water in the apartment, in every kitchen sink, bathtub, shower, and laundry facility at all times. 

Fire Safety

A landlord must provide a smoke detector at the following locations:

  • Each room used for sleeping purposes
  • Each floor including the basement
  • At the top of common stairways
  • Smoke detectors should not be placed in the kitchen

Noise

  • Noise from any apartment should not be so loud that the neighbors can hear. Try to be respectful of your neighbors and report problems if your neighbors are too loud.

Alcohol

  • You must obey all alcohol laws
  • You can't sell alcohol at your house
  • No one under 21 can drink alcohol, even in a private apartment

Parking

  • Only park in the spaces that are for your apartment.

You cannot park:

  • On a public side walk
  • In the front yard area, except in designated paved driveways
  • On any private property without the consent of the owner
  • Blocking any driveway entrance
  • On any street longer then 24 hours

Security Deposit

Most of the complaints that we receive from students happen to be at the end of the school year. They all involve the return of security deposits.

  • If your landlord does not give your security deposit back, he or she must give you a paper that says why. 
  • If you don't agree, contact International Student Services and we will try to help you. Don't cash the check! Cashing the check is acceptance of the charges and nothing can be done.
  • This is why we suggest you photograph or videotape your unit. It helps keep disagreements to a minimum and can help you disprove any false claims by the landlord.

 

University Housing & Dining Services

Seal Hall, First Floor
Phone: 309-298-2461
Fax: 309-298-2122
Email: housing@wiu.edu

 

Quick Links

Apply to the University

Once you're admitted 

Living on Campus

Residence Halls

View a copy of the Housing Contract

University Housing Policy

Roommate Matching

Summer Housing

Meal Plan

Housing & Dining Rates

Cost of study

Contact Center for International Studies

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corbin olson