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I wonder about the costs of living and quality of life in West Lafayette. I am single and considering to enroll in a doctoral program at Purdue. Can someone post a quick comment regarding whether it's better to live or to eat on or off-campus? I will appreciate any other comments about this city. Thank you.

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I just received the details about Purdue's graduate assistantship offer. They offer $16800 per year, minus tax, minus $2033 in various university fees. Let's assume that I am in the 15% federal tax bracket (can someone confirm the validity?). I don't even know what Indiana's state income tax is. Then I will end up getting about $1020 per month. The cheapest on-campus graduate student housing option is about $445 per month (this includes electricity, local-area phone, etc). Let's assume that I will spend $15 per day on average on meals, coffee, and groceries. Then, I will be left with about $125 for all other possible kinds of expenses (cell phone, car insurance, clothing, etc). So, I am a little confused about how I am gonna live on this stipend. Perhaps my assumptions about food costs or other expenses are wrong?

(shocked a little after earning near $30K/year on my half-time job for the past few years.. but those moneys were already spent on undergraduate education and graduate application fees)

How does this compare to other schools. Should I be expecting a similar package at IUB and MSU (if any..)

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I haven't started graduate school yet, so I can't comment on lifestyle, but I'd say your food costs are high. I'm from Indiana and the cost of living is about as low as it gets around here (I'm from Indianapolis, WL is even cheaper) and that stipend is a little higher than I've seen in a lot of packages. If you ate for around $8-10 a day you'd gain around $150/mo. Good luck!

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Thanks. What about the life in West Lafayette area in general? Does it feel very isolated?

What are the recommended housing options for a single graduate student (attending a business school PhD program tentatively)? I could bring a car, just in case there are better options within driving distance.

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I'm going to visit in a few days, pretty excited!

Just a couple of questions: Is there enough to do there? I don't really require much, but a variety of restaurants and bars would be nice.

Where do people live? Especially if you perhaps want to rent a house not adjacent to loud college kids.

Ummm....do you like it???

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i visited Purdue this weekend. They are serious when they say that there is not much to do. Chicago is your closet bet to a full fledged city life if that is what you want. Else the place had a decent number of bars and restaurants. Football can keep u sane. You wont find a dunken dough nuts there! There were a couple of places away from undergrads and it seemed like some of the bars were more grad ppl oriented.

I havent made up my mind if I like it or not yet~~ just answering your query!

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I never attended Purdue, but I did an REU there one summer, so maybe I can shed some light. Most of the areas immediately around campus seemed fairly undergrad-ridden, particularly Chauncey Hill. Some of the other interns and I subleased an apartment from Basham Rentals. I would recommend them, they were very prompt in responding to maintenance requests and the girl we subleased from said that Basham was one of the better landlords in the area. Unfortunately I think most of their properties were in the aforesaid undergrad-ridden areas. It was fairly dead in the summer but I imagine when school is in session and 40,000+ students are there it's very different. I know some grad students do live just across the river in downtown Lafayette. You might want to look into renting a house with other grad students, too. Housing prices are very affordable and some of the grad students said they could even buy a house out in the suburbs.

My undergrad university was in a VERY small town, so I didn't think West Lafayette was all that bad in terms of things to do. A lot of the other interns seemed to hate it though, especially the chick from Miami...Indiana in general is quite rural and not all that diverse, so some people don't like that aspect of it. If you love urban areas and need a constant supply of new fun things to do, it's not for you. Hoosiers do like their food though, so there are bunches of tasty restaurants around campus and across the river in Lafayette, and you can actually get some decent ethnic food too. We always used to go to Hookah on Thursday nights for salsa dancing. WL is the last place on earth you'd expect to find a hookah bar, but it's a fun experience even if you're like me and hate cigarette smoking.

If you want to get away, Indianapolis is only an hour's drive on the interstate. If you're a music lover, it seems like a lot of major acts come through Indy. If Indy is still not urban enough for you, Chicago is a 2-3 hour drive, making for a convenient weekend getaway.

People may try to take you to Harry's Chocolate Shop when you visit. It's sort of a campus institution, but I hate super-crowded bars where I'm pressing against 500 sweaty strangers, so I found it highly overrated. Wabash Yacht Club is another enormous dive bar beloved by undergrads. Do go to Triple XXX and eat their breakfast - it's great! (The Triple XXX is a reference to root beer, not exotic dancing.)

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I just received the details about Purdue's graduate assistantship offer. They offer $16800 per year, minus tax, minus $2033 in various university fees. Let's assume that I am in the 15% federal tax bracket (can someone confirm the validity?). I don't even know what Indiana's state income tax is. Then I will end up getting about $1020 per month. The cheapest on-campus graduate student housing option is about $445 per month (this includes electricity, local-area phone, etc). Let's assume that I will spend $15 per day on average on meals, coffee, and groceries. Then, I will be left with about $125 for all other possible kinds of expenses (cell phone, car insurance, clothing, etc). So, I am a little confused about how I am gonna live on this stipend. Perhaps my assumptions about food costs or other expenses are wrong?

(shocked a little after earning near $30K/year on my half-time job for the past few years.. but those moneys were already spent on undergraduate education and graduate application fees)

How does this compare to other schools. Should I be expecting a similar package at IUB and MSU (if any..)

I cannot sugar coat this for you, I'm sorry. As a person who spent a year working in the video game industry before going back to school, I feel your pain. You won't have the disposable income that you had in the work place. However, your stipend seems reasonable (I get about that in Southern California). There are (I know this sucks) loans that you can take out if the stipend is not enough (I've done this myself), as well as the option of working part time.

The good part is (hopefully) you get to do what you love to do. Something that comes with that is being able to keep your own hours, and your own work schedule.

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I would advise anyone who is considering Purdue, specially for PhD, to visit the town first just to make sure you like it here. (unfortunately, the current weather does not do justice to the aesthetics of campus. it is really nice architecturally in my opinion). I am a beer and food kind of person, and since someone asks about this, I'll post my 2cents. The food scene is decent, including various kinds of ethnic food. But first, let's get one thing straight. This is not the West Coast, so don't expect top L.A.-grade avocado sandwiches, kabobs, sushi, or Korean BBQ here, but we have a little bit of every type of restaurant in this town for both casual and fine dining, and new restaurants are opening all the time. I believe just in the last couple of months a new Vietnamese restaurant opened nearby, another Hookah bar (Egyptian, they serve food too), some mexican food place, noodle eatery, etc. There are some good dining options across the river in Lafayette (I just discovered Arni's Loading Dock themed restaurant there, yum).

Regarding bars, there some nice bars in downtown Lafayette. Lafayette's historic downtown, a 15 minute walk away from campus, is well preserved and is a home to many restaurants, antique shops, bars, etc. Among them there are two bars with regularly scheduled live music events, the oldest officially registered bar in Indiana (Knickerbocker Saloon), a microbrewery with damn good brews (Lafayette Brewing Company), and a bar that offers over 50 different types of beer from all over the world on tap (Chumley's). The only problem with some of them is that smoking is still allowed indoors in Lafayette (but I think this is not going to last for long), unlike in West Lafayette. Before crossing the bridge, on the West Lafayette side, there is a bar called Scotty's Brewhouse which again has something like a couple dozen different brews on tap. There is also an Irish pub that serves a variety of Irish beers. As you get closer to campus, things get trashier and dirtier. The Chauncey Hill area has something like four bars which are packed on weekends with (often drunk) undergrads who sip cheap macrobews. I don't really like places where my shoes stick to the ground because of spilled beer, so I don't go there that often.

I actually _like_ living near Chauncey Hill area. Food, shopping, movie theaters, campus, everything is close from there. I like being a 10 minute walk away from my office. I lived in Crestview apartments 2 and 3, and there is a large number of graduate students there. If there are some neighbors that get too noisy on weekends, just complain to management or police. Yes, this is no Chicago or Berkeley, but at least you won't get mugged near campus, and you can spend only about $450/month on shared 2-bedroom with utilities.

There is a huge mall in Lafayette, Best Buy, Borders, Barnes and Noble and whatnot. Purdue Convocations brings very good cultural events to campus (so next week we have Spanish Flamenco dancers). There are about three decent state parks a car drive away. Chicago is 2 hour drive away.

On the downside, of course there is not as much to do here as say in Chicago and there is less culture. Being here over the winter break can get very boring. It gets cold but there is not one decent skiing resort within 500 miles (Indiana is flat). If you're single, finding a significant other will be difficult because most people come here only for the school then leave as soon as they're done. Things get kind of spread out as you get away from campus, so having a car is nice. There are several grocery stores but they're all at least two miles away from where I live and there isn't one upscale store like Whole Foods.

On the neutral side, this place is not significantly worse or better than a typical Big 10 college town. Besides Evanston, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, and Madison, all Big 10 university towns are probably more or less the same. I have visited Bloomington and East Lansing and talked to people who lived in Urbana Champaign, and those cities didn't strike me as being significantly better or worse than the Greater Lafayette. Any differences among them are only marginal.

PS: Yes, it is possible to live on graduate student stipend and even save money for things like a nice vacation once a year. Tip: share an apartment and watch your spending. Make your own food at least once per day. Make friends with $1 spaghetti box and $2 spaghetti sauce can*.

*Certainly add some healthy foods to this mix or you will get sick.

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Can I consider living as far as wabash shores? See the following link to Google Maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=village+manor+west+lafayette&ie=UTF8&ll=40.45178,-86.903572&spn=0.031089,0.079994&z=14

Can I get decent transport to the university from here? Whats the student population in this area like? Would you recommend looking for apartments in this area (some of them look pretty nice to me compared to the ones nearest to the campus like Chauncey Hill), considering proximity to say grocery shops, restaurants etc?

Where would you suggest start looking? My current source is only Boilerapartments... any other good source where I can possibly find roommates as well?

Thanks,

~S

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As someone who foolishly waited until December to find an apartment, I can say that most if not all of the good deals offered by the big apartment rental companies are probably gone by the end of January (which I define as nice, clean, 2-bedroom, short walk from campus, $800 or less). However, you might find someone who sign up for a lease and is now looking for a roommate to share the cost. Ask the graduate program staff in your department about people who look for roommates. The best time to look for an apartment is early November or so. The 1-bedroom apartments sell out less quickly but they're more expensive per person and probably mostly gone by now too. If you don't find an apartment consider spending a year or so at Hawkins Hall, the graduate student dorm. It reasonably priced and is right on campus (maybe be 10 minute walk from Engineering buildings).

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There is plenty of housing within walking distance from campus. The West Lafayette blocks adjacent to the east side of campus are very compact and urban. You want to live there if you want to just walk to campus. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in that area, specially near the Chauncey Hill area. You don't need a car to get around there. The only possible issue is finding house or apartment with the least number of noisy, constantly partying undergrads.

The grocery stores are probably a couple of miles from campus. The bus system is very good here and you can get to any part of West Lafayette or Lafayette by bus. There are buses going to the grocery stores, the Mall (in Lafayette), etc. The rides are free with student id. Certainly, having a car here is useful and could make things easier, but you can live without a car just fine.

Check google maps for "Walmart", "Marsh", and "Payless". Those are the only grocery stores in the area, and all three have a store in WL.

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I didn't go to Purdue, but I grew up in West Lafayette. If you want to stay away from undergrad mania, I recommend living downtown! Downtown Lafayette (which is just across the river- less than 5 minutes from Purdue) is a fantastic place to live. The architecture is lovely. It's pretty quiet, but there are a couple terrific bars/restaurants/coffee shops ( I especially recommend The Sparrow on Main and 2nd, McCords, the Java Roaster, Chumleys, Kokoros, Brewing company). You shouldn't have much trouble finding a nice place, and the cost of living is very reasonable. Good luck!

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Hi,

I was wondering about the smoking law situation in Lafayette/West Lafayette. I know this makes me sound like an effete east coaster, but I've grown quite used to not smelling like smoke and coughing up a lung every time I want to grab beer. Am I just going to be miserable about this if I live in Lafayette? I know West Lafayette is smoke free, but that's mostly an undergraduate scene, right? Lafayette seems to be the place where graduate students live and hang out (when they have the time to hang out). Unfortunately, (for me) it seems the town still permits smoking in bars. Please correct me if I'm wrong, though.

I read on here someone thought that would be changing soon. Is there any truth to that comment? And before you judge, this isn't my primary concern when looking at a grad school, but it is something I'm curious about.

Thanks for any information.

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Most grad students do not live in Lafayette downtown, but it's an option. West Lafayette is effectively smoke free (except for the hookah bars) and the bar scene is indeed terrible, very undergrad oriented, except perhaps for 9 Irish brothers. However, Lafayette allows indoor smoking in the bars and so naturally they all allow smoking indoors. My understanding is that there is a big push right now at the state level to ban indoor smoke in all public places, so this might stop being an issue eventually.

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Nine Irish Brothers is smoke free indoors, smoking is allowed only on the patio. I also heard that a city wide indoor smoking ban was in the works.

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Thanks for the info. I've read about a smoking ban of some kind being in the works -- perhaps even statewide. That's good to hear about Nine Irish Brothers, Chris.

I'm definitely headed to Purdue this Fall now. I made my commitment this Friday. So if any one has any advice on renting an apartment I'm all ears.

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If you're looking to rent an apartment, I would consider living downtown in Lafayette. Lafayette has a beautiful, historic downtown that's not overrun with undergrads. Main, Columbia, or between 3rd and 9th street.

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Thanks, Chris. I probably will try to find a place downtown. Have you ever used the website boilerapartments.com? It seems like a nice database.

Tugboat: I am going to be in the MFA program there. I wish I could tell you whether or not the incoming class was full yet, but I honestly don't know. Best of luck.

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A note for anyone looking for apartments on craigslist: be careful posting in the housing wanted section. I posted an ad there, and so far I've received nothing legitimate, just a bunch of housing grant scams.

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Hello, I hope someone out there could help me, I'm kinda lost regarding stipend vs cost of living in West Lafayette. I think that a single person would be able to live on a TA stipend but I'm planning to get married soon and taking my wife with me as an economic dependant. Will it be possible? Do you know someone that was able to pull this off?

I'd really appreciate an answer. I'm going out of my mind trying to figure it out.

Thank you!

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