Students are seen at Lillis Hall on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Ore. on September 30, 2021. Students, staff and faculty at the University of Oregon navigate what in-person classes and events look like in the time of the COVID-19 and the new dangers of navigating the Delta Variant. (Isaac Wasserman/ Emerald)

The University of Oregon has started its first in-person fall term since the beginning of the pandemic, and some students are still scrambling to find available housing off-campus.

The majority of UO students will live off-campus during their time at the university. According to the U.S. News and World Report, 83% of UO students live off-campus, while only 17% live in college owned, operated or affiliated housing.

UO senior Vijay Parthasarathy made the switch to off-campus housing after his freshman year. He said moving out of the dorms was “definitely anxiety-filling.”

The pandemic also persuaded some students to consider living off-campus rather than stay in the dorms. Callum Chadowitz started his freshman year at UO last fall. He chose to take a break in the spring due to the pandemic. Chadowitz’s family lives in Eugene, so he was able to avoid UO’s requirement to live in the dorms for his first year. Instead of living with his parents, Chadowitz had already decided to live off campus. Chadowitz said he made his decision after the pandemic started and was worried about the spread of COVID-19 in the dorms.

“COVID was starting up when I made my decision, and I was like, ‘There is no way I’m going to be in dorms during COVID,’” he said, “because I want to see my parents, and my mom is immunocompromised.”

Living off-campus comes with responsibilities and challenges that don’t exist in the dorms. Students often have to sacrifice certain amenities in favor of a cheaper price.The price of apartments and rooms throughout Eugene are wide and varied. According to Zumper, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Eugene is $995, similar to other college towns in Oregon like Corvallis, which has a median rent of $825 for a one bedroom apartment.

Chadowitz said he enjoys how his current place has utilities like water and electricity for a flat fee. “It’s a balance that you want to check because at my old place that was not geared for students, I had to manage my EWEB stuff, personal internet and trash,” he said.

Nontraditional students like Matt Skeels face their own struggles. Skeels is a student as well as a single parent. “Prices are super expensive,” he said. “You won’t find anything cheaper than $1200 for a two-bedroom.”

For the students beginning the search for a place close to campus, Skeels said he recommends Spencer View.

Both Chadowitz and Parthasarathy had roommates when they first moved off-campus. “I got pretty close with my other dormmates, so I had a good amount of people who wanted to find an apartment together,” Parthasarathy said. Chadowitz said having reliable roommates helps get rid of a lot of stress.

“Finding a roommate, especially in non-fixed rent places, is almost essential,” Chadowitz said. “It can really help you.”

As UO progresses further into the fall term, most returning students have had their own places secured.

“For me I waited pretty late until May and June, and at that point it gets pretty scarce,” Parthasarathy said. “The availability goes down a lot so being late to the game makes it a lot tougher.”