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International students and scholars have several housing options available. New students and scholars may need temporary housing for their first few days at Penn before securing more permanent on-campus or off-campus housing. Most undergraduates live in university residences known as College Houses. Graduate students and scholars can rent apartments and houses near campus.
Accommodations are typically in high demand in late August and early September, so it is advisable to confirm your housing early. Temporary accommodations may be found at nearby establishments listed below or at one of the various bed and breakfast establishments in the area. Numerous student organizations also coordinate programs that assist new international students with temporary housing or help with the search for an off campus residence.
Housing for the Academic Year
The majority of other students are able to choose where they want to live. Some choose to live in residences on-campus, while others choose to live in non-University-affiliated housing off-campus in nearby neighborhoods.
There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing your home-away-from-home: proximity to campus, costs, security, personal and family lifestyles, and transportation. It's also important to note that both on-campus and off-campus housing can be difficult to obtain in the few days just before the beginning of the semester.
Individuals new to Philadelphia and the University often prefer to spend the first year or two in University housing, and living on-campus is a University requirement for First-Year students. Penn facilities are conveniently located in the heart of campus and are frequently patrolled by Penn Police to help ensure a safe and secure living environment.
Single or double suites are offered in most Residence Halls with up to six bedroom suites in select facilities. All rooms and apartments are furnished, but the occupant will have to provide sheets and towels and the necessary kitchen utensils. On-campus housing availability is limited, pricing may vary by location, and rates may be subject to yearly increases. Also know that some buildings are closed during the University's winter break between the end of December and early January.
Applications for on-campus housing should be submitted well in advance of arrival at Penn. Housing cannot be assured without written notification from the Assignments Office. One must sign a lease agreement to obtain on-campus housing, which obligates the occupant to pay rent for the full term of the lease unless he or she withdraws from Penn.
Within the University City area housing varies greatly in price, convenience, location, condition, and type of accommodation. In selecting off-campus housing, one must consider all these factors and evaluate the relative safety of the property neighborhood. It's also worth noting that pricing for residences in the Center City area is typically higher than comparable spaces in surrounding West Philadelphia.
Sharing a house or apartment with other students or renting a room in a house are common ways of economizing on housing costs. Single rooms are sometimes furnished, while efficiency, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments typically are not, though these options usually include kitchen facilities.
Tenants often assume responsibility for payment of all utilities (electricity, gas, phone) except water. Tenants must be prepared to pay three months of rent by check or money order (security deposit, and first and last month's rent) when they sign leases for off-campus housing as credit cards are not accepted. By signing a lease agreement - typically a one-year term - the tenant is obligated to pay rent for the full term, regardless of his or her academic status at Penn.
Assistance with housing options is available through Penn Residential Services. Visit their link below for more information.