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From the Hub, to the Radian and Domus, Penn students have more and more variety in their off-campus housing choices. Credit: Yian Huang

While Penn undergraduates crowd around housing on or near campus, graduate students primarily live off campus and tend to reside across the city.

According to Corbett Brown, second year nursing doctoral student and chairman of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, 700 graduate students live on-campus in Sansom Place East and West — only about 6 percent of the approximately 10,000 graduate students at Penn.

Second-year post-baccalaureate graduate student Sandy Barbut chose to live in Sansom East because it is the only graduate housing offered on campus.

“Security is incredibly strict here,” she said. “For living in West Philadelphia, it is something important to me.”

She continued to rave about Sansom East, describing the building’s location as “ideal,” and that she “can be anywhere on campus in 10 minutes and come home for lunch.”

Most graduate students, however, live off campus, explained Emily Joy Rothchild, first-year music doctoral student and GAPSA vice chair for student life.

To aid students who are looking for housing, GAPSA publishes a Landlord Survey each year, Rothchild said. The report discloses information on student satisfaction for various landlords and housing options.

According to the Landlord Survey’s 2009 report, off-campus housing residences rated Locust on the Park, the Wellington, Lofts at 1835 Arch, 1930 Chestnut, and Domus as the top 5 buildings to live in. Only Domus, which does not lease to students under 21, is located in University City; the rest are in Center City.

In addition to the Landlord Survey, the Office of Off-Campus Services also provides a search option for housing and descriptions of prices for most local housing options, Brown added.

Second-year East Asian Art graduate student Miki Morita lives in an off-campus apartment in West Philadelphia.

Morita initially wanted to live on campus, but after finding out that the rent for Sansom does not “correspond to the room’s space and equipment,” she decided against living there.

While her apartment is not very close to campus, the 20-minute walk gives her “a good opportunity to warm up [her] body in the morning,” and she is able to enjoy a “more spacious room with lower rent,” she said.

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