Moving Off Campus Policy & Resources
MIU is dedicated to providing a comprehensive educational experience on campus. We encourage all students without dependents to live on campus so they may receive maximum benefit from university life. It was found in this study that students who lived on campus during their first year have a higher graduation rate than students who lived off-campus. Eligible students who wish to live off-campus are encouraged to live in Utopia Park, a 200-unit community just north of campus.
The following students may live off-campus:
- students 21 years of age or older
- married students
- graduate students
- students with dependents
- If under the age of 21 you can petition to move off campus if you have both:
- lived on MIU campus for at least one year
- have 3.0+ GPA
Undergraduate students may petition the Department of Student Life. (Contact Dean of Students Maggie Ventsias at firstname.lastname@example.org)
A student who meets at least one of these requirements and is vacating a campus room in order to move off-campus must contact the MIU Office of Financial Aid before moving to be eligible for a reduction in housing charges for that semester. Students who move out of the residence halls after they have registered will not be eligible for a reduction in housing charges for that semester, except when charges must be reduced due to University Withdrawal.
To find available Fairfield rentals, students should look at
- Home Share Fairfield — Facebook page
- Fairfield, Iowa Craigslist
- Local board postings
- The Fairfield Ledger or Fairfield Weekly Reader classified ads
Further off-campus resources are available by downloading the MIU App at miu.campusapp.com
US citizens and permanent residents may apply for the following assistance programs:
Southern Iowa Economic Development Association (SIEDA)
- Location: 201 South 23rd in Fairfield.
- Hours: M, T, Th 9:00 – 3:30
- Phone: 641-472-6140
- Applications for SIEDA energy assistance and weatherization programs may be made between November 1st and April 20th of each year.
- SIEDA does not factor in student loan money in the process of approval.
Water Bill Assistance
The Salvation Army
- Location: 725 West 2nd Street, Ottumwa, IA
- Hours: 9:00-11:30 and 1:00 – 3:00
- Phone: 641-682-7597
William is in charge of this program and recommends walking in for assistance.
Emergency Food Assistance
The Lord’s Cupboard
- Location: 54 South B Street
- Phone: 641-472-8457
- Students must be able to verify Iowa residency to qualify.
- Grocery support can be received once every three months.
Mobile Home Park
Utopia Park is a mobile home park on the Northside of the campus. It is around 15 minutes walking distance from university buildings. Mobile homes have 2-3 bedrooms + a living room with kitchen and 1-2 bathrooms.
The rents range from $450.00 – $485.00/month. A $500.00 security deposit is required.
The tenants pay for their own utilities. The units are unfurnished, but twin beds, a kitchen table, and chairs can be provided depending on availability.
There is a coin-operated laundromat available for the tenants.
Renting an apartment or room
When you would like to rent an apartment or room, it is very important to ask for and sign a Rental Agreement. A Rental Agreement is an understanding between a landlord (owner of the property) and tenant (person who temporarily resides on the property). It is suggested to get proof of all agreements in writing (handwritten or email is also acceptable).
Most written rental agreements (leases) are valid for 6-12 months. A student may try to negotiate different terms with the landlord, but the new terms need to be clearly stated in the signed and dated lease.
Security deposit: If a student rents an apartment, under Iowa law, a landlord is allowed to charge a security deposit, usually one month’s rent, though it could be up to two months. The landlord keeps that money to cover the cost of any repairs to damage to the apartment beyond ordinary use caused by tenants or guests. If there is no damage, that money will be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease. If you pay a security deposit, make sure you get a receipt for the amount.
Subleases: If the original tenant of an apartment has to leave before the end of the lease, someone else may take over the lease. This is called a sublease. The terms of a sublease are almost always defined in the original lease agreement. Usually, the new tenant will sign a new lease and the original tenant has no further responsibilities. However, to sublet an apartment the landlord always has to give permission. To make sure that the landlord has done so before you move in, you should get the consent in writing or hear from the original landlord directly.
You can also rent a room from someone who is already a tenant or owner of a property. This option usually means there are shared common spaces (kitchens, living area, bathrooms, etc) with a private room. This option is usually most affordable and typically offers a more flexible timeline for the length of stay. A written agreement is also suggested for this type of rental.
In most circumstances, the tenant is required to pay deposits in order to set up personal accounts with local utility companies including Fairfield Waterworks (water, sewage, and trash pick-up), and Alliant Energy (heat and electricity) and pay those companies monthly based on utility usage bills. Some apartment leases or “rooms for rent” will include one or both utility costs in the rental amount. This may be ideal if you are trying to properly budget and avoid unexpected expenses (such as very high heating bills during winter season).