VCU is fairly decent sized University
with a population of approx 29,000 and growing. It has many
nationally ranked programs on it’s two campuses: Monroe Park
Campus and the Medical Campus. Monroe Park Campus aka
Academic campus houses School of Engineering, Business,
Arts, Basic sciences etc. While School of Medicine,
Pharmacy, Dentistry, Allied Health are on the Medical campus
located in the downtown. You can see these details in VCU Campus Map.
Richmond is pretty hot in summer and
cold in winter with occasional snowfall too. Summer
temperatures range from 20°C to 31°C
and winter temperatures range from -2°C to 7°C. There is no
rainy season like we do in India. It rains almost throughout
the year. Average annual precipitation is ~ 110 cm. Check
weather.com website for more information.
VCU also runs the CAMPUS CONNECTOR or
the Campus Shuttle between the Academic and Medical
campuses. One of the unique features at VCU is the
(Greater Richmond Transit Company) bus pass offered by the
University. The local buses take us to major malls, grocery
stores, cinema hall etc.
Indian students prefer to live in high-rise apartments or
houses in the Downtown/ Fan area that is very close to
academic campus. Students usually share an apartment. The
rent for a double bed apartment ranges from $750 to $950
depending on location. So on a 4/2-bed apartment occupancy
the rent per head is somewhere between $200-250. This
usually, but not always include gas, heat, electricity,
garbage disposal etc.
Once your Visa is stamped you can send
email to this group for your accommodation needs. Usually
someone will house you for a week or so and during that
period you can look for apartments. During Fall, many new
students arrive, some graduate. So there’s lot of
permutation and combination going on.
If you have financial aid you are well
placed. Otherwise you will have to look for an On-Campus
job. You are allowed to work for 20hrs/ week when the school
is in session and 40hrs/ week when the school is not in
session. Here they pay from $6.00- 12 per hour depending
upon the job. Jobs range from working in Dining Hall,
Computer labs, Gym, petty lab work, library etc. Jobs in
Dining hall are with hard work, stuff like cleaning and
others. Its hard to get a easygoing job at your first
semester. If you feel indignity in doing hard-work jobs you
will never find a job at VCU unless you are fortunate. But
students do find On-Campus job that help them to take care
of living cost and also the tuition fees to a small extent.
Apart from your tuition fees, part of
your monthly expenses are: rent (~$200); utility viz.
telephone (~$45), internet (~$30), electricity (~$50),
groceries (~$50-75), health insurance (~$50). The figures
will obviously vary depending upon your food habits and
preferences. Some of the utilities like telephone,
electricity are shared among room mates so might cost less.
This depends upon which department you
join and your degree level i.e. MS or Ph.D. Try to contact
students in your department. They are in a better position
to answer this question. The general trend was that students
usually landed with funding but this was before the economic
slow-down. The current situation is bad, if not worse.
Remember, speak to the students and faculty members.