UAF's Physics Graduate Student Association

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Fairbanks Housing

Options: On Campus or Off?

On Campus

Options: Dorms, Apartments, Townhouses

  • UAF dorm, shared (1 roommate, maybe 3 suitemates) ~$450/month
    If you choose a Wickersham double room, you will have 3 suitemates that share a toilet/sink and small common room; kitchens and showers are shared by entire floor. All other dorms: 1 roommate, toilets and showers are shared by the entire floor; kitchen shared by entire building.

  • UAF dorm, single ~$550/month
    Showers and kitchen shared by entire floor. Wickersham singles get their own toilet/sink.

  • UAF dorm/apt, Cutler, ~$600/month. These are just behind Reichardt (where your TA office will be). The other UAF apartments listed below are further by about ~10 minutes walking.
    You can choose whether or not to have a roommate (extra cost). Rooms are moderately bigger than the dorms. Each apartment has a large living room, kitchen, bathroom. Laundry facilities are shared by the entire apt complex (so yes, people walk their clothes outside in the cold).

  • UAF graduate apartments, 'Garden Apartments' (your own room. 1 roommate in the apartment. The apartment also has its own kitchen, toilet, shower, washer/dryer, large living room, storage closets) ~$650/month

  • UAF graduate apartments, 'Harwood Hall' (your own spacious apartment, kitchen, toilet, shower, living area. Shared building laundry facilities), ~$750/month There are also options where you can have 1 roommate.

  • UAF family housing is only for families, see UAF website for details. These townhouse options have 1 or 2 bedrooms, living room, kitchen. Some units are 2 storied. Not sure about laundry. No garage.

  • UAF houses (there are about 10 of these townhouses). Some have garages. Each has 2 bedrooms, washer/dryer, kitchen, large living room, great closet sizes, ~$1200/month

UAF dorms vs UAF apartments:
--Winter break: Dorms charge ~$500 to stay on-campus over winter break. Cutler and all other UAF apartments don't have that cost.
--Summer: Everyone in dorms (including Cutler) has to move to the summer dorm (usually a freshman dorm building). Apartment dwellers don't have that worry.
--Time limits: UAF apartments have a 3 year contract limit. After 3 continuous years, you have to reapply if you want to continue to live in your building...(your application will go to the end of the waiting list). There is no such restriction for the dorms.

*If you are interested in campus housing, definitely apply as early as possible! Apartment spaces and single rooms are very limited; you may still end up on a waiting list for a while


Off Campus

The situation for off campus apartments and houses in town is about what you'd expect coming from anywhere else in the country. On the other hand, the cabin situation is pretty unique to Alaska, and deserves some explanation. Cabins are 'wet' or 'dry', and this refers to whether it's hooked up to a water line. A dry cabin will have no hookup to city water; you'll be carrying water home in jugs, using the restroom in an outhouse (or possibly composting toilet indoors), and showering at school. 'Damp' cabins have a central water reservoir that feeds sink/shower, but you have to call the water delivery truck to fill it up. Wet cabins are hooked up to a water line. The rent difference is such that you should expect to pay a premium of $200/month or more to be hooked up to a water line.

If you're wondering what it's like to live in a dry cabin, I (Jason) live in one ~10 miles northeast of town, and I love it. I usually have to bring two 5 gallon jugs of water home with me about once a week (this costs 25 cents in town or free at Fox), and there are free showers in the Wood center, gym, and the GI. You can always plan to do your business in the restrooms at school during the colder months; but even in the middle of winter, the outhouse is not so bad, really! There's a laundromat in the shopping center at the university entrance for laundry. I'm surrounded by solitude, woodland critters, and I can see the aurora most nights when the sky is clear and dark, when people in town are foiled by light pollution. Personally, I would not trade that for a toilet that flushes.

When looking at cabins, consider whether you'll be paying for heating expenses, and how well insulated it is. I spend around $800/year on heating oil, but my place isn't particularly well insulated. Consider the outhouse: These can be anything from a three sided shack to a full enclosed space with electricity and heat. Lofts are nice, as they stay warmer than downstairs so it's easier to keep your sleeping area warm. Good places to look are the News-Miner website ( and Craigslist ( You can also join the UAF graduate school email list to be notified about rental places they know about: . Places rent quickly near the beginning of the semester: It's not uncommon to call within hours of an ad going online, and it's already been rented.

*Dry cabin residents can take showers and do laundry on campus in the Wood student center. The gym showers are true locker room showers, no individual stalls. There is also at least 1 place in town to do laundry and shower; it's just across the street from campus ($5 for a shower I believe).

Here are some rough estimates on cost from 2011 (please verify today's numbers for yourself before making any decisions)
  • Off-campus: your own apartment with running water ~$800-$1300/month+utilities+heating
  • Off-campus: your own cabin, no water ~$350/month or more + electricity and heating oil
  • Off-campus: rent a room [in a house], usually ~$350or$400/month+utilities. A lot all have running water.
    • There is a place just across the street from the university that is nice: $565/month (includes heat, water, wireless internet, and garbage collection.) I've been told utilities cost around $100/month. See Pictures at 

Transition Housing


The Fairbanks Hostel is $25/night, I've never stayed here, but it looks okay.

Some Notes and Opinions

"I personally live in a Wickersham single. The price is perfect for what I need. I keep strange hours so I really don't like living with a roommate. I never eat on campus so being near the dining halls isn't important. I have my own fridge and microwave so I don't have to worry about my food being stolen from the community kitchen (huge problem in the other dorms). The community kitchen is always empty if you keep a good cooking schedule. I only need to shower once a day so the community shower isn't a big deal. I have my own toilet/sink so I don't have to worry about locking myself out of my room in the morning. I don't have to worry about filling up jugs of water like people in dry cabins do, nor do I have to worry about my car not starting in the winter. I go home over winter break so I don't need the winter housing options of Cutler or the apartments. I don't need a pet, so being on campus is no big deal.
The only downside about Wickersham is moving to the summer dorm. However, I save ~$1200 a year compared to the Garden Apartment people. I spend about 8 days a year moving (4 days in May, 4 in August). $1200/8=$150 which is way more than I make in 1 day, so to me, Wickersham is worth it." - Christina

Will you be bringing a car to Fairbanks?
The Fairbanks bus system is pretty good and free for students. There are plenty of students in dry cabins that depend on the bus to get to UAF. A lot of on-campus students don't drive and the bus is a reliable way to go grocery shopping.

We have physics graduate students doing all housing options listed; let me know if you'd like more information or pictures.

Definitely keep the PGSA informed of when you'll get to town. We're here to help if you need assistance moving/a ride from the airport/etc.