Opinion: Living far off campus disconnects student from campus community

Living at apartment complexes miles away from campus as a student can negatively affect one’s social life, and isn’t worth the price.


Courtesy of: University of Iowa Off-Campus Housing

Krystin Langer, Columnist

As many students can attest, living in Iowa City can be expensive. For a tiny one-bed, one-bath apartment near campus, students can find themselves paying upwards of $1,000, and for more decent accommodations, the price rises. These outlandish prices have caused students to look elsewhere to find a place to live.

Apartment complexes such as the Quarters and Hawks Ridge seem to offer students a solution to this problem offering accommodations at a fraction of the cost. However, there is a catch. While these offers may look good on paper and the appeal of living in “luxury housing” is tempting, they are also located a ridiculous distance from campus.

I know this because I lived in the Quarters last year. I was originally drawn to the opportunity to live somewhere that not only had a large bedroom and living space but also had free residential parking. The majority of residents seemed to be students, and at first I didn’t feel a sense of isolation from campus.

That changed when classes began. Since the Quarters is located miles from campus, I never heard the commotion of students making their way to morning classes, and so the temptation to stay home and skip class grew. After all, the bus that the Quarters offered to take residents to campus only came every hour and was a 15-minute ride. Due to my location right off Highway 6, there was absolutely no way for me to walk or bike to campus, again requiring me to rely on the bus system.

I began to spend my weekends and weeknights spending time in the club house game room instead of going downtown with friends. With my only connection to campus being the Quarters bus,  distance between me and downtown Iowa City continued to grow after a few months of living there. The feeling of home that I had while living on campus as a freshman had dissipated, and I eventually decided to move to an apartment near the hub of the university to try to regain that atmosphere.

It may seem strange to some that the prospect of living only a few miles from campus had such a big impact on my social and academic life. However, this is the case for many other students who have been in my situation.

Reviews on the Quarters Facebook page brazenly bash the complex for its inability to make tenants feel like part of a community. In one post, a former tenant describes the housing option as the worst in Iowa City and cites her reasons as difficulties in being able to get to campus.

“It’s far from campus and the bus is regularly late so don’t count on [getting to campus],” the post said.

While the draw to living off campus may be appealing, the disadvantages of being disconnected to University of Iowa’s campus far outweigh the allure. The experience of being able to walk to class and downtown is definitely worth living in a smaller apartment. 


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.