46nyc wrote:Can any current students elaborate on how easy it is to stay within the budget set for financial aid? Especially if you're signing a one year lease at your apartment. I guess I'm worried because I'd really like to have a one bedroom to myself, at least for the first year, and I feel like all of the apartment complexes start one bedrooms at $950/month not including utilities, but the total budget for rent/utilities/food is $11750, which if you have to spread that over a 12 month lease is $979/month. Then where does money for utilities/food come from? Any explanation would be really helpful. Thanks!
It's not so bad if you're under 26 and you can stay on your parents' health insurance plan. UM allocates $2,000 for health insurance costs. In addition, they give you $3,000 for what they call "personal expenses," which is just eating out and going to bars, and the bars are very cheap (we're talking 2 or 3 dollars for a beer at many places). I'm actually consistently floored at how cheap things are here, I'm from a more metro area and so the lower prices are always a nice surprise.
They also give you lots of money for books, about $1,000 when they really only cost about $500 for the whole year if you get them used (most people do). So basically they give you $17,978 to live on, with the caveat being that you probably won't get a paid internship for the summer and funding is scarce, so you have to consider (worst case scenario, meaning you find neither funding nor a subletter) the cost of leasing your apartment over the summer plus the cost of living wherever your 1L internship is.
$950 is on the upper end for a 1 bdrm. The complexes the law schools reserved for the 1Ls are def. not the cheapest housing around. Ann Arbor has a lot of free standing houses that are split up into separate apartments and leased by property companies. I rent a 1bdrm two blocks from the law school for $700/month, and my rent includes gas (aka heat) and water which are the bulk of my utilities. It's a small place but it's nice, and it's a 1bdrm and not a studio which I like. It wasn't that easy to find though, cheap places go fast. What you need to do is go to the property companies' websites and see what they have available.
This website lists some of them: http://www.johnwcooper.com/annarbor/off ... chigan.htm
, but there are like 15 more that people just don't know about. Just google/yelp variations of "Ann Arbor Property Management" and you'll probably find them all. Sometimes they don't have online listings so you have to call.
In lieu of that, you can always try craigslist. I actually found my place there because my landlord only owns one building so he doesn't have a website.
You probably would have to choose between a car or a roommate, but having your own place is definitely doable.