Frequently Asked Questions

Commuter Basics

Who is a “commuter” student?

  • A “commuter” student is a student who does not live on university-owned property. Students that live in the residence halls, fraternities, sororities, University Terrace or University Village are NOT considered commuters.

Where do commuters usually live?

  • At URI, we typically have two kinds of commuters: those who live “down the line” and those who live “at home.” “Down the line” students rent summer homes and apartments during the months of September through May. The most popular locations to rent such homes include Bonnet Shores, Eastward Look, Narragansett Pier, Scarborough Beach, Point Judith, Wakefield, Peacedale, South Kingstown, Matunuck, and Charlestown. “At home” students are students who live with their families or live off-campus year-round. Some students commute from as far as Coventry, Warwick and Providence.

Are there more commuter students at URI than students who live on-campus?

  • There are an average of 5,200 students living on-campus out of 14,500 total undergraduates at URI. This means that over 8,000 students do not reside on campus. Usually, first-year students and sophomores will either live at home or live on-campus; juniors and seniors tend to leave campus grounds and move “down the line” for their final years at URI.

Housing and Living Off-Campus

How do I find housing off-campus?

  • The Commuter Affairs office refers students and visitors to to search for current off-campus housing options. Some individual students search for one-bedroom properties while others search for two-, three-, four-, five-bedroom properties or more. In addition, students have had much success contacting area realtors. A list of commonly used realtors is available in the Commuter Affairs Office.

Where can transfer students find housing?

  • Often times transfer students are not able to receive on-campus housing. Many transfer students use the Roommate Database to search for potential roommates and/or create a self profile. There are typically many other transfer students who are in similar housing situations as well as current URI students in need of roommates. Many transfer students report wanting to meet new people when entering URI and often report feeling nervous about not knowing anyone at the university. Using Roommate Database is a great way to begin meeting other students.

Besides the properties listed on the Commuter Housing web site, what housing options are available to graduate students?

  • Graduate students are encouraged to search Off-Campus Property Listing for available properties as well as the Roommate Database. Many graduate students request to live on-campus in an apartment. Graduate students who are interested in living on-campus must call the Office of Housing and Residential Life at 401-874-4151 or go to Also, the Graduate Student Association lists properties on their web site that are available to graduate students at

Are there any specific housing options available for visiting professors?

  • Although our office does not offer a specific off-campus housing service for visiting professors or staff members at the university, many landlords prefer to rent their properties to faculty members or graduate students. Landlords may indicate on their listing that they prefer to rent to members from these groups. Search the Off-Campus Property Listings or contact your department office.

I’m an international student and plan to live off-campus. What information do I need?

  • Depending on your needs, search for off-campus housing using the Off-Campus Property Listing, Roommate Database, and/or contact area realtors. In addition, many international students have concerns regarding transportation to the university. Students who do not have automobiles are encouraged to take the bus. Some of the properties listed on our site are on a bus route. For detailed bus information, please visit, and be sure to read the answer to our frequently asked transportation questions below. If you wish to purchase a car when you relocate to the URI area, you may wish to contact automobile dealerships such as Mike’s Auto at 401-294-4379, or Hal’s garage and Autobody at 401-783-0818.


I need a roommate. Where can I find other students looking for roommates off-campus?

  • The roommate database at assists students looking for roommates off-campus. Students can create a profile for themselves as well as search the current database of student profiles.

When students are sharing a property how do they divide the utilities?

  • Paying your bills on time is a necessity. Roommates should talk about dividing bills prior to moving-in or very early after, and how the division happens depends upon how you and your roommate/s feel. Many students feel it is easier to have one person put their name on all the utilities and collect a check from each roommate every month. Many other students find it easier to divide the utilities between the roommates, so each person an account in their name and has something they’re in charge of. Regardless of what you choose, it is often still important to have one person in charge of determining who owes who what each month.

Parking and Transportation

Where can I park on campus as a commuter student?

  • First, you need to get a URI commuter student parking permit. These are obtained online at the Parking Services web site: You can explore parking on-campus and any other options that may be available. Please see their website for up-to-date parking fees.

I’ve had difficulty finding parking, where in the world can I park?

  • Generally, if you arrive on-campus after 8:45am there WILL NOT be parking in the lots closest to where your classes will be (e.g., Fine Arts Lot, Church lot, or along Flagg Road,). However, there is usually ample parking available in the Plains Road Lot furthest from the upper section of campus. Rather than to searching for parking in the other lots, students generally find it faster to park in Plains Road Lot or the Keaney Lot and walk or take the Rhody Shuttle.

Where can I get bus schedules or train schedules?

  • You may get bus and train schedules from the Memorial Union Information Desk, located on the second floor, or you may search bus routes at There are four bus routes that URI students commonly use: the 66 URI/Galilee (previously Providence/URI) route, the 64 Newport/URI route, the 14 West Bay route, and the 210 Kingston Connection.

What discounts are offered to URI students who take RIPTA Buses?

  • URI students, staff, and faculty may receive a 50% discount on an unlimited ride monthly pass for $35.00 and a 10-ride e-Ticket for $10.00. These discounted passes may be purchased at the URI Bookstore in the basement of the Memorial Union. Be sure to bring your student ID.

How do I get to the train station?

  • Students can take either the 210 Kingston Connection Bus or the 64 Newport/URI RIPTA bus. Please visit the Memorial Union Information Desk, located on the second floor, visit to view the 64 bus route, or visit the parking services web site for the 210 Kingston Connection schedule:

What do I do if my vehicle breaks down or if I’m stranded because of bad weather?

  • Try to make arrangements with a friend in a dormitory, fraternity, sorority or a nearby home so that you can stay with him or her in an emergency. If your car breaks down while on your way home, pull to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and raise the hood so others will know you have broken down. Try to avoid walking to a phone. If another driver stops to help you, ask him or her to contact the police or call for assistance. Lock yourself in the car and do not get out of your car for anyone other than the police or a service truck. Also, be familiar with emergency roadside assistance programs offered by your insurance company or auto manufacturer.

What are some things I should keep in my vehicle?

  • Jumper cables, a bucket of sand (in case you get stuck), a shovel (for the snow you get stuck in), an ice scraper, deicer, a box of tools, a flashlight, flares, blankets, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, spare eating utensils and a change of clothes (in case you get stuck on-campus).

The weather outside looks frightful! How do I know if classes have been canceled?

  • Snow storm and emergency campus closing information is available by calling 874-1000 or 874-SNOW (7669).

Campus Services and Resources

Where and what is the Commuter Lounge?

The Commuter Lounge in Memorial Union Room 310 features a casual atmosphere where students can relax or eat lunch away from the hurried pace of the Ram’s Den. A microwave and refrigerator are available. A TV is also available. The Commuter Lounge is open 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Where can I eat on campus?

There are many options for dining for commuters on campus. You’ll find a variety of restaurants and stores at the Kingston Emporium, a quick walk to the top of campus by Upper College Road and Fortin Road. Also, special dining plans for commuter students are available through Dining Services. For more information, contact 874-2055. And remember, if you bring your own food, a microwave and refrigerator are available in the Commuter Lounge. Take a look at the Kingston Campus Map for directions.

As a commuter student, can I get a meal plan?

Commuter students are encouraged to consider having a meal plan but are not required to have one. Off-campus students or commuters can get a Flex Plan. For more information on that, check out the dining services web site for their commuter meal plan:

I need to use a computer. Where do I go?

Several computer labs are available on campus, including facilities in the Chafee, Tyler, Quinn and the Library. If you need to buy a computer, visit the Ram Computer Store on the first floor of the Memorial Union.

I need to get my email address.

A free campus email account is available to all students. To get your email account (and instructions on how to use the email system), go to the ITS Help Desk. Bring your student ID.

I’m not feeling well. What do I do?

Health Services, located on Butterfield Road, is available for all of your medical needs. Whether you need cold medication, a physical, a gynecologist, a nutritionist, STD testing or a referral, Health Services has a variety of services available. Please call 874-2246 for more information.

What recreational services are available on campus?

A variety of recreational facilities are available on campus (you pay for these services as a part of your student fees). The URI Athletic Complex includes pool facilities, aerobics classes, a weight room and more. Call 874-4343 for the Rec Services Hotline or stop by Mackal Field House for more information.

I’m interested in student organizations. Where can I find information about existing organizations?

For a list of all recognized student organizations (as well as information on how to start your own organization), go to the Student Senate Office, Memorial Union Room 210.

Where can I find out about campus policies for students?

The URI Student Handbook covers all student policies. Copies of the handbook are available in the Commuter Housing Office or the Office of Student Life.

What legal services are available to students?

For a lawyer referral, click here.


Where should I get my mail sent to?

Commuter students are required to provide URI with a local address on e-campus. If you are renting a house, it is recommended that you use the address of your rental for this purpose.

How do I set up utilities?

In most cases, utilities are not included in the monthly rent. Therefore, students should ask their landlord or realtor who the utility companies are prior to moving in and should set up accounts with the various companies. For example, a student must determine the heating method such as, gas, oil, or electric and contact that company.

Will I have to sign a lease?

All landlords or realtors will have everyone living at the residence individually sign a lease. In addition, most realtors and landlords will require that you have a co-signer – like a parent or a guardian.

What questions should I ask when viewing potential properties?
Try to ask anything you can possibly think of to make the best possible decision when deciding where to live. Some common and important questions are:

  • How is the house heated, what was the average heating bill last year, and is the house well-insulated?
  • Who responds to maintenance calls and how quickly?
  • Who do I call if I get locked out?
  • How many students live in this area/neighborhood?
  • What’s included in the rent ‘“ utilities, snow or trash removal, lawn care?
  • What are the parking regulations for this street?
  • Can I contact any of your previous renters as a reference?

I am having trouble with my landlord. Where can I get help?
Legal guidelines for tenants and landlords in Rhode Island can be viewed in the Landlord Tenant handbook.

My lease has ended and I haven’t received my security deposit. What should I do?
You can refer to the security deposit section of the Rhode Island Landlord and Tenant Act here. There you can see the rights you are entitled to. For legal advice, see above.

Rental Scams

Watch out for the following signs as they may mean you are being scammed:

  • The same property is listed on other sites with different rent or contact information.
  • The address is not disclosed.
  • The deal seems too good to be true: the rent is very low compared to other similar types of units in the same area.
  • They ask you to wire money or send money using an app or want your credit card information right away.

Ways to protect yourself

  • DO NOT pay any deposits or rent until you are certain you have signed a valid lease with someone who has the right to rent the unit.
  • DO NOT wire money or send money using an app OR share your credit card information right away.
  • DO avoid situations where you feel pressured or uncomfortable.
  • DO search the address of the property online to see if it is offered elsewhere with different contact information or rent.
  • DO screen your landlord. Ask them questions and search their name online. Read online reviews of the property and check public records for complaints, foreclosure status, and criminal activity.

Courtesy of

For more information, visit and


Learn about resources and activities at URI that can be helpful to you as a commuter student!

Did you know URI students, faculty, and staff are offered Public Notary Services at no charge?

Did you know you can store your things in lockers at the Memorial Union?. To reserve a locker for the semester, go to the Building Manager’s Office, next to the front desk on the second floor, and fill out a Memorial Union Locker Form.

Where are the study spaces on campus available to all students?. Some places to study are the commuter lounge, the library, and study rooms in building such as Beaupre and CBLS.

Did you know that the University library has a number of resources that might be helpful and fun? They feature a 24-hour study room, movies rental, group study rooms available for reservation, phone charging lockers, printing, computers, and white boards available for use across the building, including study rooms?

Did you know that Campus Recreation provide access to Anna Fascitelli gym, intramural sports, club sports, group exercise classes, wellness programs, paddle boards and kayaks, amongst many other things?

Did you know that Health services offers a full range of medical treatment and services including nutritionists, general medicine, gynecologists, pharmacy, lab, counseling, and more?

Did you know there is a commuter lounge in the Memorial Union that is a comfortable place where you can relax, eat, or study? It is equipped with a fridge so you can store your food, a microwave, a TV, couches, and phone charging stations.

Did you know you can reserve a space at the Memorial Union for events or meetings or studying?

Did you know that URI has lots of spaces for students to be in between classes? Along with spaces like the commuter lounge and the library, lots of students like to hang out on the Quad, or you can go to the Rose Garden, when the weather is nice. You can also play pool at the Memorial Union, or you can relax at the greenhouse where they have pond with fish, a turtle, and a little waterfall!

Did you know there is always something fun to do on campus? From lectures to fairs to community engagement events, there are a ton of events on campus! Click on the link to go to the event calendar and check out what’s happening at URI!