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Is anyone going to Berkeley as well? I am wondering how much would it cost at a very economic level. I may have to fund myself there if nobody declines its offer. My field is political science.

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Luckily, there's craigslist, but I want to solicit opinions on how liveable an 18K academic year stipend will be. I'll be sharing a rental with a boyfriend and a dog, if that helps any...

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Guest

Berkeley can be a bit expensive, but sharing an apartment is the best way to mitigate the cost. You should be fine on an 18k stipend while sharing with your boyfriend.

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Guest keejo

I'm pimping for the co-ops today! usca.org is a bunch of student run co-ops, some grad student only, which provide an amazingly fun, cooperative, communal environment. I lived in them for three years and would do it again. it's currently $728 a month, but that includes rent, food, utilities, various house ammenities... certainly worth checking out if you're trying to live on a budget. There are also apartments, which run from about $430-$700 a month and don't include food.

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Guest former coop dweller

Nice plug for the coops. I lived in one for a while several years ago. Be sure to visit the coop before agreeing to it though. I lucked out and got a good fit by accident, but some of the coops are really dirty because people don't do their chores (as a poli sci person, you'll enjoy the collective action problem implications...) and some can be very loud and not grad student friendly. Also, factor in that if you don't do your chores, they fine you (at least it used to be that way). If you're squemish about nudity or drug use or disgusting bathrooms, check around before signing a contract. Coops can be very different in character and vary from extremely wild to mellow. Choose wisely!

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Can anyone share a little bit about transit in Berkeley? Will I need to bring my awesome car (a 1998 blue Ford Taurus)? It is a total babe magnet, but if I have to leave it behind, I shall.

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i would definitely bring your car! the east bay is kind of spread out and would be difficult without one, for things like shopping and trips across the bridge to SF (BART stops running early!). i'm not sure about the parking situation though... when i lived in SF i paid $150/month for parking! but i'm sure you could find an apartment with parking, especially if you're in grad student housing.

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oh and to add to what i just said about a car, there are so many wonderful day and weekend trips in the bay area (redwoods, monterey, yosemite, tahoe...) that i think you'd really miss out by not having a car. then again, maybe you'll be too busy with school!

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Guest Guest

My friend has been at UC Berkeley for 5 years now and has never had a car. He lives one block from campus and walks everywhere. The only draw back has been grocery shopping which is about a mile away. The bus system is excellent, as is the student shuttle. If you want to go to the city they have a Bart station at the bottom of the campus. So if you live by you do not need a car. Now with that said, parking is definitely an issue. Some appartments include parking, but some do not and you would need to by a parking permit to park at one of the lots by the campus.

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Guest flamesniper

Berkeley is fine without a car, given that you get the "Class Pass" - a bus pass covering AC Transit's route. The BART (subway) is the best way into San Fran and is easily accessible from campus. The only kicker is that if you live on campus, the BART doesnt run till very late. So if you wanna go into San Fran for a night on the town, be sure to catch the BART before midnight. Otherwise the cab costs about $37 one way between the Mission district and campus.

As for the housing co-ops. These are the undergrad housing co-ops:

Letsee, from personal experience, they are much cheaper than campus residences. However, be prepared for rats (yes we had 2 rats and I was in the CLEANEST co-op). Also be prepared for some shitty workshifts i.e. 5 hrs a week of toilet scrubbing, house meetings, rules etc etc. Fine if you're going for undergrad, but I didn't fancy it much (I stayed there in my senior year during an exchange program). DEFINITELY check the houses out first. If you are a relatively tidy girl, stay in the girls' housing co-op cuz some of the co-ed ones are just plain disgusting - that's by my nominal standards!

Also be prepared to be in a hierarchy in which you are at the bottom of the chain. Co-ops operate by "points" - those who live in the co-ops longer than you accumulate more points, which is the basis for room selection etc. So, you could just as well end up in a corner room with a freshman on the first floor above the tv lounge (i.e. noise galore). Of course this is a worst case scenario.

If you find a buddy you can get a place off campus within biking distance for a decent price.

I dont know about the apartment co-ops which are usually reserved for graduate students and are much less noisy and dirty, those I've been told are much better.

Otherwise the Berkeley area isn't too bad, especially with San Fran just a hop skip and jump away. I also have to add that the Berkeley movie theatres tend to have a good selection of movies - it would be my highlight to go once every week or so as a study reward!

Also, beware of housing on the SOUTHSIDE of campus - lots of homeless people and "iffy" neighbourhoods. Unfortunately this may be where you get your off campus housing if you opt for that.

Good hunting.

PS - Berkeley campus is very HILLY. Make a good investment in some running shoes :)

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Guest twosday

northside is a quieter and less sketchy part of town, but also a bit more expensive. further north on shattuck -- at around rose st. -- is pretty cute, and walkable to a grocery store, bookstore, cheese board [yummy pizza!], chez panisse [if your stipend so affords], etc.

rent can get even cheaper if you look for housing a bit farther out in el cerrito to the north, or some of the north oakland neighborhoods just south of campus. rockridge -- the area right around the BART station -- is really nice. really, anything along college ave. south of parker gets quieter and a bit less sketchy.

the car -- take it if your housing has parking. it'll be nice for grocery trips, late nights in sf, and the tahoe/wine country/pt. reyes weekends. berkeley itself is walkable with a pretty good bus system.

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Guest detail-oriented

I was told that two things are generally expensive in Berkeley: public transportation and housing.

Would anyone be willing to break down what they pay each month, i.e. in terms of rent, food, utilities, media, leisure?

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I'm pimping for the co-ops today! usca.org is a bunch of student run co-ops, some grad student only, which provide an amazingly fun, cooperative, communal environment. I lived in them for three years and would do it again. it's currently $728 a month, but that includes rent, food, utilities, various house ammenities... certainly worth checking out if you're trying to live on a budget. There are also apartments, which run from about $430-$700 a month and don't include food.

after going to the visitation day, a current student did not recommend the coops as he said they were really dirty.

also, how are the grad coops? are people respectful to keep the noise down so you can actually study?

I was told the undergrad coops are not a place for serious grad students.

--------------

well, I guess I should have read some more of the comments first.

it seems like it is agreed upon that the coops can be pretty wild & dirty at the undergrad level.

though I applied for the grad ones only. I didn't get a chance to look at the places when I was there last week though.

So if any of you know about

Hillegass (I think that is it)

or the Convent

please keep the info coming.

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I've applied for the University Village graduate student family housing in Albany... any one know anything about these accomodations? is albany far from berkeley? how is the transportation b/w the campus and university village? can you live there without a car? is there a supermarket close buy....grrr, the tight housing market in berkeley is a pain in my behind!!

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$20,000 stipend for the school year, $4,000 for the summer. is that really enough to live off of in Berkeley?

Depends on how far you're willing to commute and how many people you're willing to live with. As you probably know from a minute's research, the Bay Area has one of the highest costs of living in the country (probably world). However, it's also extremely varied, and with BART you can commute from a very wide range of areas. If you live in Concord/PH/WC area it's a fairly short commute and you can rent rooms for $650-900. If that doesn't sound like a bargain to you, the Bay Area is probably not a good idea. Berkeley itself, at least the areas you can walk safely through at night, is more like $1000-1250 (again, this is rooms, not apartments). It's possible to find stellar deals anywhere, of course, but if they're properly advertised, you'll be looking at stiff competetion for them.

If you post areas in Concord/PH/WC I can tell you if they're decent or not. I know the neighborhoods here like the back of my hand. Berkeley itself I'm not as familiar with on a detailed scale.

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Depends on how far you're willing to commute and how many people you're willing to live with. As you probably know from a minute's research, the Bay Area has one of the highest costs of living in the country (probably world). However, it's also extremely varied, and with BART you can commute from a very wide range of areas. If you live in Concord/PH/WC area it's a fairly short commute and you can rent rooms for $650-900. If that doesn't sound like a bargain to you, the Bay Area is probably not a good idea. Berkeley itself, at least the areas you can walk safely through at night, is more like $1000-1250 (again, this is rooms, not apartments). It's possible to find stellar deals anywhere, of course, but if they're properly advertised, you'll be looking at stiff competetion for them.

If you post areas in Concord/PH/WC I can tell you if they're decent or not. I know the neighborhoods here like the back of my hand. Berkeley itself I'm not as familiar with on a detailed scale.

You're exaggerating a bit. Though there are a lot of pricey apartments, you can easily find a room in a two bedroom apartment for $600-800 in a relatively nice area. $20,000 for nine months is more than enough; I've been living comfortably off of 17K for the whole YEAR.

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You're exaggerating a bit. Though there are a lot of pricey apartments, you can easily find a room in a two bedroom apartment for $600-800 in a relatively nice area. $20,000 for nine months is more than enough; I've been living comfortably off of 17K for the whole YEAR.

That's good news then. I lived there growing up, then moved away from 2000 to 2004, then left again in 2006. I never had a car and so restricted my living to areas with easy access to BART. It was expensive enough that moving to Manhattan actually allowed me to pay a bit less than I had been, and that's not something many places in the world do.

Edit: I should rescind my participation here actually. Comparing living in a city as a regular person and living there as a student is virtually impossible. Please ignore my post above and go with what Phonologist said from the perspective of a student and more recent resident.

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There's a very high chance I'll be going to Berkeley next year--

It's a long time from now but I'm getting excited and curious already about actually living there.

Where in town (or just out of town, as the case may be) would a person live on a humanities fellowship?

I can be kind of a misanthrope, so have had bad experiences with co-ops and large shared houses. Or rather, co-ops have had bad experience with me. The ideal would be a studio apartment or having just one or two other roommates. I don't drive, either.

I have a friend in Oakland who works at UC Press, and we're talking about becoming roommates when his lease is up. He's attached to Oakland--would a short commute from Oakland be doable as a full time student?

PS I don't have a problem living in seedy neighborhoods or anything

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I have a quick question... my wife has been accepted to a PhD program in Berkeley. We currently own a washer/dryer, is it possible to find affordable apartments in the North Berkeley area with washer/dryer hookups?

Thanks!

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My friend/possible future roommate in Oakland just sent me an epic email about the city, if anyone is interested I'll post an edited version of it

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