Written by: Henry Okaro, MS in Finance ’24
When planning on which school or institution to attend for graduate school, a key factor to consider is the living spaces or accommodations available. Often, we tend to ask ourselves these questions:
1. Are there housing units in or near the school?
2. Are they conducive and affordable?
3. How far are they from the school area?
I am here to help you answer these questions if you are thinking about studying at the University at Buffalo (UB).
When I applied to the University at Buffalo School of Management it was out of interest to study at one of the schools I consider good in academic standing as well as promoting adequate support for a culturally diverse society. At the time, I was living in Lagos, Nigeria and had not visited the US before.
I was admitted to UB and I enrolled for my studies without any knowledge of the city of Buffalo and its environs. I had no clue where to stay. I read about the North and South campuses, and I was keen on getting a living space in or around the North Campus since the School of Management was located there.
Since I had no contacts in Buffalo, where to live seemed like a pretty tough decision to make. Finally, I decided to rent a space on Airbnb for a few days to allow me to know the city and aid my decision in finding the right living space. Based on my experience, I can answer the questions stated in this post.
HOUSING UNITS AVAILABLE
There are a lot of housing units in or near the school. When I was going through the onboarding process online, there was so much information that UB provided that it seemed very difficult to keep up with the number of details I was getting. So, I can say a few information emails may have slipped through the cracks such as accommodation details.
It is important that you start the housing search early, especially if you intend to live on campus. I started my search in June as I was enrolled in the Fall semester. I realized that I had missed the deadline to express an interest in a Campus Living space (e.g., Goodyear Hall, Clement Hall).
There are numerous private apartments in Buffalo. There are large unit apartments such as Axis 360 on La Salle Avenue and Collegiate Village on Affinity Lane. There are also private housing blocks in Buffalo that provide apartments for students. The availability of living spaces should be the least of your worries.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS
When considering how much to spend on an apartment, you may come across the term “BHK and BA” while interacting with house owners or students.
BHK stands for Bed, Hall & Kitchen whereas BA stands for Bathroom. These acronyms are used to measure the number of rooms in a shared apartment space. For example, 3 BHK means that there are 3 bedrooms that share a common hall and kitchen in the apartment. 1.5 BA means one bathroom has a bathtub, sink and toilet unit while another bathroom only provides a sink and toilet. Understanding these parameters may help you make the right choice about how much to spend depending on the level of privacy you want to achieve in your living space.
It is also very important to consider the utilities that are available in the living space. The more services you get, the higher your rent. The basic utilities offered are.
· Parking Lot
Most of the large-unit apartments have private bathrooms in all the rooms. They also offer extra services such as gym, hot bath or pool, school buses, mini conference/guest spaces and reading spaces. The average cost of renting a room is about $750 monthly. This may or may not include some of the utilities mentioned above.
For the single housing blocks, you may want to check in with the landlord to confirm all the utilities that are covered in the rent. An apartment with 4BHK, 1BA, and all 5 basic utilities often goes for an average of $500 monthly per person. Rents are slightly higher in the North Campus area than in the South Campus area by over $100 or more.
Another important detail to consider is the lease terms. Most apartments have a 12-month lease. You pay the first month’s rent and a one-time security deposit (same rate as the monthly rent) before you move in. Some house owners occasionally demand the last month’s rent as well to lock you in on your lease. Confirm these details before making your choice.
DISTANCE TO SCHOOL
UB has three campuses with a great number of students in the North and South campuses. You should not worry about which campus your school is located on when choosing a living space. There is a school shuttle called the UB Stampede that moves from North Campus to South Campus and vice versa, seven days a week. The UB Stampede bus is free and it can take about 40 to 50 students at a time. The time to travel between both campuses is approximately 15 minutes. It’s best for you to set out from your apartment about 45 minutes to your class time if you are commuting across campuses. There are also Express Shuttles and free busses to health centers and shopping plazas. There is a free app to track where the shuttles are, which is very helpful.
I advise that you should take an apartment that is less than 20 minutes of walking distance away from the bus station. You may need to save that energy for class work and when winter comes, you may freeze out in the cold.
In conclusion, the right living space is related to a conducive study environment for most students. You must consider the cost, the distance, the students you will be sharing spaces with and the available utilities in an apartment before you make your choice. However, do not take a lot of time to decide because the best places are filled up quickly.
Henry was born and raised in Nigeria. He was a science major and earned an undergraduate degree in Geological Sciences at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. He worked in a tech consulting firm, Dragnet Solutions Limited, for 10+ years where he managed solutions geared towards screening and selection of candidates for different educational and corporate services. He became more interested in business development and entrepreneurship, and this inspired him to get an MBA degree at the University of Lagos where he majored in Marketing. He co-founded and worked on few startups that bordered around business advisory, talent sourcing, tech-based solutions, travels and tours, social event management, games creation, and logistics. With a deeper understanding of the limitations of some of the ventures he worked with in the past, he was motivated to seek out the Master’s in Finance at UB. He intend to major in Financial Risk Management & Fintech Track. Henry loves to socialize, go on trips, meet new people and learn about different backgrounds. It helps him to focus and channel his energy properly into his career and academic pursuit.
Photo credit: Tom Wolf