Living in Saint Louis

A City with a Welcoming Personality

Consistently ranked among the United States’ most affordable and best places to live, the Saint Louis area offers many opportunities for students who choose to live On Campus or off.

Interested to know how much it costs to live in Saint Louis as compared to other International and U.S. cities? Do a Google Search for “cost of living comparison.”  There are several cost of living calculators they will help you plan and budget. You will find that Saint Louis is a very student friendly cost of living city!

All information provided below is included as a guide only. The inclusion of material in no way constitutes or implies endorsement or recommendation by Fontbonne University or the Office of International Affairs. 

On-Campus Living vs. Off-Campus Living

Where and with whom you live definitely influences your university experience, for better or worse.

Whether you’re an undergraduate student or graduate student, the Office of International Affairs strongly encourages new international students to live On Campus their first year at Fontbonne University.

However, some students will find off campus living is a better fit for them. Before YOU make that decision, please consider the following questions.

  1. How much can you afford to pay for monthly rent and utilities such as gas, electricity, water, Internet, cable/streaming services? Most places in the United States are not all inclusive, each bill is the renter’s individual responsibility.
  2. Do you have enough money for first month rent, last month rent, and a deposit to pay upfront?
  3. Do you have enough money for fees associated with establishing utilities?
  4. How much is renter’s insurance?
  5. How far will you commute to campus and what form of transportation are you willing to use?
  6. If it is a far commute, how much is public transportation daily? Do the lines run regularly or only sporadically during the times you need to come and go from campus?
  7. How much will purchasing, licensing, paying sales tax (once) and personal property tax (yearly), and insuring a car be? How much will you spend on gas for the commute?
  8. Will you be dependent on someone else with a car? Do they have a similar school schedule to you?  Are they involved and interested in the same things you are On Campus?
  9. How suitable is your housing for daily life – grocery shopping, public transportation, entertainment, distance from university, et cetera?
  10. Can you afford to buy furniture and household goods? How will you transport them to your apartment if you do not have a car or truck? Most off-campus housing is not furnished.
  11. Where will you launder your clothes? Some apartments provide a washer and dryer but most do not.
  12. Are you willing to maintain the property? For example, if you rent a house, you may be expected to shovel the snow or mow the lawn.
  13. Do you (or any of your potential roommates) have a social security number? Most landlords will want to do a credit check prior to approving your application to rent an apartment.
  14. Do you feel safe in the neighborhood you are thinking about living in?
  15. What is the maximum occupancy of the dwelling you and potential roommates are thinking about living in? Many students think it is okay to have many people living in a cheaper place, however, if occupancy rules are violated, the students could end up with very large fines and be evicted from the dwelling.

Getting Around Saint Louis

Public Transportation

Saint Louis has a good public transportation system called Metro Transit with a bus (Metro Bus) and light rail system (Metro Link).

To plan a trip anywhere that Metro Transit goes, please use the Trip Planner and plan your trip by what time you need to ARRIVE. The planner will tell you how to get from your starting location and what time you have to leave in order to get to your ending location at or before the time you need to arrive.

Fontbonne’s nearest Metro Link stop is Blue Line-University City/Big Bend.

Fontbonne’s nearest Metro Bus route is the Red Line #2 stopping on Wydown Boulevard.

Owning a Car in Saint Louis

International Driving Permit (IDP)

International students can drive in Missouri using a foreign license for up to six months if they have an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a driver’s license from YOUR HOME COUNTRY. Please Google for more information on how to obtain the IDP BEFORE you leave your country.

The International Driving Permit (IDP) must be obtained BEFORE you leave your home country.

After six months, international students on an F-1 Visa are legally required to obtain a Missouri Driver’s License even if they have an IDP and a driver’s license from their home country.

Non-Driver State ID and Missouri Driver’s License

All international students are recommended to obtain a Non-Driver Missouri State ID OR Missouri Driver’s License to use for everyday identification purposes as soon as possible.

Documents Needed

  1. Letter from the Office of International Affairs (Letter valid 30 days ONLY)
    • You can request this letter from the Office of International Affairs 10 days after your I-20 has been changed to Continued Attendance
    • This will happen AFTER you register for classes at Fontbonne University
  2. Letter from the Social Security Office stating you do not have a Social Security Number
    • You can only obtain this letter after you obtain the letter from International Affairs
  3. Original Form 1-20
    • Initial or Transfer Pending and Continued Attendance
  4. Copy of I-94
    • Go to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov and follow directions
  5. Passport
  6. Visa
  7. Proof of residency
    • Any type of letter that was mailed to your apartment
    • If you live on-campus, bring your Fontbonne Student ID that says RESIDENT

Owning a Car in Saint Louis

Car Insurance

You are REQUIRED BY LAW to have car insurance and must have proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times.

Most companies charge a monthly payment or a large payment every six months.

Costs range from $600 every six months to over $1,200 every six months.

Registration

Your vehicle must be licensed and title registered in your name.

Please check with the Missouri Department of Revenue for more information: http://dor.mo.gov/motorv/fees.php

Taxes

There will be initial sales tax associated when you purchase your vehicle and then a yearly personal property tax.

Please check with the Missouri Department of Revenue for more information: www.dor.mo.gov.

Parking on Fontbonne University’s Campus

To park your vehicle on campus you must have a Fontbonne University Parking Tag.

Driving in Saint Louis

Car Insurance

You are REQUIRED BY LAW to have car insurance and must have proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times

Most companies charge a monthly payment or a large payment every six months.

Costs range from $600 every six months to over $1,200 every six months.

Registration

Your vehicle must be licensed and title registered in your name.

Please check with the Missouri Department of Revenue for more information: http://dor.mo.gov/motorv/fees.php

Taxes

There will be initial sales tax associated when you purchase your vehicle and then a yearly personal property tax

Please check with the Missouri Department of Revenue for more information: www.dor.mo.gov

Parking on Fontbonne University’s Campus

To park your vehicle on campus you must have a Fontbonne University Parking Tag

Where To Look For Off Campus Housing

Saint Louis is a large city and there are many opportunities for a variety of living spaces in and around the city at a variety of cost points. If you choose to live off campus, we cannot recommend specific accommodations but we do recommend that you look for a dwelling very near to campus and before committing to a specific place, please reach out to a FIRST LEADER or member of the OIA Staff to see if the space is in a safe and convenient location in regards to the Fontbonne University Campus.

How Far Is It from Fontbonne University?

Please use Google Maps to see the distance from the housing you are considering to Fontbonne University:

Fontbonne is located at 6800 Wydown Boulevard Saint Louis, Missouri 63105-3043.  Use this address when searching for off campus accommodations.

Zip Codes Near to Campus

  • 63105 – Clayton
  • 63117 – Richmond Heights
  • 63144 – Brentwood
  • 63143 – Maplewood
  • 63139 – Dogtown
  • 63130 – University City
  • 63119 – Webster Groves and Shrewsbury

Saint Louis International Student Network

Connect with other “International Students in Saint Louis” on Facebook

Looking for a place to get started? Visit Saint Louis Regional Chamber: Relocation & Housing.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact the International Affairs office at internationalaffairs@fontbonne.edu.

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As we continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 and guidance from the CDC and St. Louis County, Fontbonne has implemented health and safety precautions for a return to campus.Learn more on our Griffin Return page.