Settling In

Housing Information

The following information may be helpful to you in finding housing in Austin. You may also want to contact your sponsoring department to see if they are able to provide housing assistance to you. Unfortunately, there is no temporary on-campus housing available for exchange visitors. You may want to consider living in a hotel for the first few days after your arrival, until you are able to find housing that suits your needs.

Hotels (in order of proximity to UT campus):

Apartment Locator and Housing Placement Services:

Simply International: Simply International is a local housing placement company that can assist international students and scholars with housing and settling-in needs, including housing placement and set-up of utilities. For more details, sign up for an account or fill out the inquiry form on their website.

Many J-1 faculty and scholars live in privately owned apartments within walking distance of campus or on the UT shuttle or city bus routes. Depending on the apartment complex, you may be able to rent an apartment before you arrive in Austin or in person upon your arrival. The following list includes some apartment locators that can assist you in finding housing. There is no fee for using these services.

More resources for locating both short and long-term housing can be found on on our Housing page. Please note that some options, such as dormitories and University Apartments, are only available to students.

Note: You must inform your Responsible Officer if you change your address or telephone number, or complete or withdraw from your program early. Doing so assists your sponsor in reporting current information to the U.S. Department of State. If at any time during your J-1 program your address or telephone number changes, please update your profile in Workday within 10 days.

Living Expenses

Depending on your lifestyle, living expenses in Austin range from $1,450 to $1,800 per month or higher. The estimate of $1,450 per month is for a single visitor with a very frugal lifestyle. Visitors with dependents should be prepared for increased living expenses - at least $750  per month for your spouse and $320 per month more for each child. Please consider the following factors (plus any individual needs) while preparing for your expenses as an Exchange Visitor at UT Austin:  

  • In Austin, you can expect to pay a minimum of $950 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. The legal occupancy limit for a one-bedroom apartment is 2 people; thus, a family of three would only be eligible for a two-bedroom apartment.
  • You will need to purchase medical insurance for yourself and any accompanying family members if you are ineligible for UT Employee Medical Insurance or another qualifying insurance plan. Supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation and repatriation is also required for you and your family during your entire J-1 program.
  • You may not accept employment that is unrelated to the objective of your Exchange Visitor Program. Therefore, you should not expect to obtain U.S. funding in excess of that indicated on the enclosed DS-2019.
  • If your funding is coming from UT Austin, there may be a delay of up to one month before your first paycheck is received. Visitors are advised to arrive with at least $3,000 to cover initial expenditures and deposits. A bank draft or cashier’s check in U.S. dollars (payable to yourself) is a convenient way to bring money to be deposited with a local bank. Since the bank draft or check will not clear for your use until 15-30 days after deposit, it is recommended that you bring part of this amount in traveler’s checks or cash.

Estimated 2019-2020 Cost of Living

Base Estimate (12 months) $18,500
Spouse + $9,500
Each Child + $4,000

Getting Involved

For more information on ways to meet people and get involved, such as Scholar Social Hour, Texas Excursions, the Friendship Program, or Language Circles, see our Programs and Events page.

Public Schools

The public schools that your children will attend are determined by the location of your housing in Austin. Exceptions are based on individual circumstances. Immunization records are required to enroll children in Texas public schools. School transcripts are also helpful (though not required) for placement of children into appropriate grade levels. For details regarding the public school schedule for registration and classes, contact:

Austin Independent School District

Student Records Department

1111 West 6th Street, Austin, Texas, 78703

Child Care

UT offers childcare for UT students, faculty, and staff through the University Child Development Center.This service is not free. There is often a long waiting list for placement, based on the date of application. Additionally, there are numerous qualified childcare facilities in the Austin area. A licensed childcare facility must be a well- managed, accountable organization with adequate supervision that provides a safe and healthy environment and activities geared toward specific age groups.

Five Steps for Choosing Quality Child Care:

  1. Look: Visit several different child care homes or centers. Think about your first impression(s) and take notes. Always visit a home or center more than once and stay as long as possible to get a good feel for what the care will be like for your child. After starting care, continue to visit from time to time and talk with the owner if you have any concerns. If you are not welcome to visit at any time, you may want to find a different provider.
  2. Listen: What does the child care setting sound like? Are the children happy and involved? Do the caregivers’/teachers’ voices sound cheerful and patient? If the facility is too quiet, it may mean there are not enough activities available. If it is too noisy, it may mean there is a lack of control.
  3. Count: Count the number of children and caregivers/teachers who care for them in each group. The fewer the number of children for each adult, the more attention your child will receive. Especially for babies and younger children, it is important to have a small child to staff ratio that meets or exceeds minimum standards.
  4. Ask: Quality care providers and teachers should be happy to answer your questions about their child care background and experience. It is important for you to know that the adults who will care for your children have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the attention they will need. Also, ask about any special training they have and whether the program is accredited.
  5. Be Informed: Is your provider involved in efforts to improve the quality of child care in your community? How can you get involved?

To find out if there have been any valid complaints and/or other pertinent information about any of the programs you are considering, contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).