Off campus housing options pictured


Understanding Madison's Unique Geography

All student housing is centrally located

Madison’s unique geography means that campus, downtown, and off-campus student housing are all located in the same area. This is part of what makes Madison a very walkable city that’s tremendously bike-friendly. Additionally, there are campus circulator buses that run frequently, meaning that you’re never too far from the action.

Off-campus student housing isn’t far away??
No! We understand that many VISP students hear “off-campus” and picture something far from campus, with no other students nearby, and cut off from the campus community. But that’s not where our students are living. Many off-campus student housing options offer:

  • Proximity to campus, with some actually closer to your classes than many on-campus dormitories
  • Students as residents
  • Optional social events
  • Roommate matching
  • Furnished apartments
  • Semester* or academic year leases

*See additional information about fall-only leases below.


City & Campus Map Showing Popular Housing Options

The heart of campus is the area surrounding Bascom Hill towards the lower right-hand side of the map. Most students will not have classes as far west as the Lakeshore Residence Halls area.

Map of UW-Madison and surrounding neighborhoods with on-campus and off-campus housing areas highlighted.

Additional Housing Suggestions

Off-campus housing search engines

In addition to the highly-recommended Campus Area Housing Listing Service which is run by UW-Madison, there are a number of other property management companies that are unaffiliated with UW-Madison including:

Steve Brown Apartments
Madison Property Management
Mullins Apartments
Saxony Apartments

Looking for fall-only housing?

Many apartment buildings do offer a limited number of fall-only leases each year, but otherwise most leases will be offered for 9 (or occasionally 12) month contracts.

Fall-only students may have to sign an academic year (9 month) lease and then find a sublettor to take over your lease for the remaining months. While this has not historically been an issue for our VISP students over the years, you would want to read your lease contract carefully to find out what you are agreeing to do by signing. Our departing fall students are welcome to advertise their housing to the incoming spring student group. Many apartments also keep lists of their residents wishing to find a sublettor to take over their spot.

If you do not want to sign an academic year lease then you could switch to our spring semester, when there are many semester-only lease options available. Contact your VISP advisor if you have questions.

Renter’s Insurance

Consider purchasing renter’s insurance for your time here in the US to protect your belongings in cases of fire, theft or other disasters. It is available at a low cost from numerous insurance companies.