International Studies & Programs


Once you receive your DS 2019, you can arrive in USA up to 30 days prior to program start date printed on your DS 2019 or up to 20 days after program start date. Choose the date that most convenient for you in consultation with your program coordinator. Try to avoid arriving in weekends since housing offices are usually closed on weekends and you won't able to check in apartments you have pre-arranged. Here you will find useful information to prepare yourself to come to MSU, including housing information, how to secure health insurance, the costs of living at MSU, and the VIPP Participant Handbook. Please be sure to carefully read through the information to ensure that your journey to MSU goes as smoothly as possible.

Where to Live? Local Community Information

You will find from this map where MSU is and communities you will choose to live. Many participants choose to live either at Spartan Village, southwest of campus or East Lansing, Okemos, or Haslett. The maps below show both MSU campus and the surrounding communities.

MSU Campus

Local Communities

Housing Options

There are several housing options around MSU and these are most popular choices for our visiting scholars and students. 

Spartan Village Apartment 

Read Chinese instructions here.

Spartan Village is an MSU on-campus apartment. It is located at the southwest corner of MSU campus. Most of our program participants choose to live there. It is 35 minutes’ walk away from campus, however participants can also choose to ride a bike or take a bus to get to campus.  Since there are limited apartment units provided by Spartan Village, please complete the application as soon as possible once you make the decision to live there. Application and payment must be made by scholars directly to the Spartan Village Housing Office. VIPP cannot do it for the scholars.  

Step 1: Decide the house type you want to live in

Spartan Village provides one or two-bedroom apartments. Apartments are furnishedwithdining room table & chairs, couch, coffee table, desk with chair, bed and dresser. Apartment rates include utilities: heat, water, electric, cable, Ethernet and trash removal. Below is the monthly rate of 2017-2018 academic year for F1 and J1 student visa holders (Rates subject to change).

For F1 student visa holder

  • One Bedroom - Renovated: $723
  • Two Bedroom - Renovated: $864

For J1 student visa holder

  • One Bedroom -Renovated: $903
  • Two Bedroom - Renovated: $1,079

Step 2: Fill the Spartan Village Application Form and Pay Application Fee

The Application form can be downloaded at There are some general information required in the application form. You may select the house type and request for a roommate in the application. 


  • You may see a number of Apartment Preferences in the application form, just choose Standard Furnished.
  • If you have a roommate already, you should fill his/her information at the roommate request part, and he/she should fill your information in his/her application as well.
  • Department Contact Name should be your program coordinator.

There is a $40 nonrefundable application fee, you could pay online. The payment link is in the application form, just click and pay. The U.S. billing address is Spartan Village Leasing Office, Michigan State University, 49 Middlevale Rd, Room 180, MI 48823  

Step 3: Send the application form to Spartan Village.

Email the finished Application From to UAinfo(at)

Step 4: Pay for the first month Rent

Once you get the email response from Spartan Village, you can pay for the first month rent via the pay method provided by Spartan Village to complete the apartment reservation. Spartan Village will NOT reserve the apartment without receiving the first month rent. The rent deposit is refundable if you decide not to come to MSU. 

Additional Notes: 

  • Spartan Village’s check-in times are Monday – Friday 8am-5pm. The leasing office is closed for national holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. If you arrive outside their business hours or on weekends, you will have to stay in a hotel. VIPP can book a local hotel for you at your own expenses. We will take you to SV the following morning for check-in and to sign the lease. 
  • SV provides basic furniture. Sheets and towels are provided but not pillows, blankets or duvets. You may want to consider bringing these with you or purchasing your own locally upon arrival. VIPP will arrange a shopping trip on the day of your arrival or the next day.  
  • Parking: Residents are required to register motor vehicles, mopeds, and bicycles with the MSU Police Department during the duration of their residence in MSU facilities. The cost of parking is not included in the rental rate.

Central Park Apartments 

Central Park Apartment is located in Okemos, MI, 20 minutes away from MSU's campus by car. Central Park is close to everything you need - from shopping, restaurants to parks and recreation. They offer 1, 2, & 3 bedroom apartment homes. You can choose from spacious floor plans with fireplaces, private balconies, walk-in closets and additional storage space. Apartments start at roughly $740 per month and vary based on size, amenities, etc. For more information please visit their website

Knob Hill Apartments 

Knob Hill apartments in Okemos, Michigan are just minutes from Michigan State University and offer 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments for rent. Their apartments feature large balconies and spacious closets, as well as new kitchen appliances, new flooring and custom cabinetry in select homes. Take a dip in the sparkling pool, work-out at the fitness studio, enjoy a game of sand volleyball or take a stroll on our scenic hiking and biking trail. Knob Hill is in the coveted Okemos School District and close to shopping, restaurants and entertainment with easy highway access and close to shopping and restaurants, with easy access to I-96. Floor plans start at roughly $790 per month and vary based on size, amenities, etc. For more information please visit their website

Club Meridian Apartments

Club Meridian Apartments in Okemos, Michigan offers 1, 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans. They are close to shopping, golfing, and a variety of entertainment. Club Meridian is in the Okemos school district and is close to MSU. Every home comes with covered parking so no need to worry about scraping your car in the winter. Enjoy coming home to a picturesque setting, surrounded by nature preserves. For more information please visit their website

Meridian Meadows Apartments

Meridian Meadows in Okemos, Michigan, offers convenient living in a truly unique park-like setting that boasts beautiful and mature landscape. You can choose from five spacious floor plans to suit your specific needs including loft and townhome styles and some with private entry and basements. Within biking or walking distance, our residents can enjoy great shopping, dining options and entertainment, while still savoring the serenity of our neighborhood. Visit their website for more information. 

Health Insurance

Federal law requires all J-1 and F-1 visa holders to carry health insurance. When your MSU student ID is activated upon your arrival, you will be automatically enrolled in Blue Care Network (BCN) of Michigan ( and the insurance premium cost will be charged to your Student Account. With this coverage, you’ll have access to quality health care through hospitals, physicians and affiliated health care professionals in the Blue Care Network of Michigan provider network. Providers can be located on the BCN website at BCN health insurance premium charges for a year or a semester can be found at MSU Human Resources Page. For VIPP participants, international tuition-billed students charges will apply. 

If you'd like to choose another health care option and remove the BCN Health premium charges, your own insurance policy must meet MSU's waiver criteria. Each year waiver criteria changes; download 2017-2018 MSU health insurance waiver criteria (PDF). 

Unless staying for a whole year, purchasing daily MSU Blue Care Network insurance is the most convenient option for VIPP participants. Costs vary depending on how many people are covered and the length of your stay. You can download a BCN health insurance daily enrollment form here. The following figures are from MSU BCN insurance's day-by-day rate. 

Monthly (31 days) MSU Blue Care Network Health Insurance Cost (based on $6 daily rate per person)

1. Participant only: about $ 186
2. Participant + Spouse/Domestic Partner: about $ 372
3. Participant + Spouse/Domestic Partner + One Child: about $ 558
4.Scholar + Spouse/Dom. Partner + Two or More Children: about $744

For more information on health insurance such as a member guide book and summary of benefits, visit MSU Human Resources Page or consult with your program coordinator. 

Please note that before you arrive in US you must make a decision on your health insurance choice, sign this form and send it to us: 

This video below teaches international students how to prepare for their arrival in the US, how the US healthcare system works and how students should seek medical care appropriately if they become sick or injured:

Living Costs/ Financial Responsibilities

All VIPP programs are fee-based. We cannot provide any financial aid to applicants at this stage. When you apply for admission to a VIPP program we will process J-1 non-degree student visa for you. In order to receive J-1 visa, you must prove you have enough funding to cover your study and living expenses for yourself and/or any accompanying family members (restricted to your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) as legal dependents.

To be eligible J-1 non-degree student visa, at least 51% of total cost of your study (including VIPP program fee, living expenses, family expenses and health insurance premium) should be supported by your sponsor - your company, government, or other external agency. A sponsor's official letter of support must to be submitted along with other application materials for us to process DS 2019 for yourself and any accompanying family members. 

How to calculate the total cost: For 1 year-long program - Add program fees (fees vary depending on program type) + living expenses ($21,393) + Family expenses (spouse: $5,000: each child add $3,000) + Health insurance ($2,172). For 6 month-long program - Add program fees (fees vary depending on program type) + living expenses ($10,697) + Family expenses (spouse: $2,500: each child add $1,500) + Health insurance ($1,086). 

Living Costs  

Living costs vary depending on family size, the housing you choose, your transportation decision (whether you decide to buy a car or use public transportation), and your general lifestyle during your stay. However, a minimum of $21,393 per year is required for a participant alone as a living cost, excluding the health insurance premium. Add an additional $5,000 per spouse and $3,000 for each accompanying child for your total living cost. This means that approximate monthly living cost will begin from minimum $1,964 if you are here alone. If you are here with a spouse and one child, the minimum financial requirement will be 2,631. Even if you plan to save, this is the minimum requirement needed to apply for a visa. Every family has a different lifestyle. So plan accordingly.  

The following figures are an approximate estimation in each category for your reference and should not be an absolute guideline to determine your living cost. Travel and leisure cost are not considered here.


The cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the area ranges from $700 - $900 monthly depending on location, quality, and apartment amenities. Two-bedroom apartments range from $800 - $1,300 monthly depending on location, quality (including number of bathrooms), and apartment amenities.


If you plan to purchase a car, you'll need to set aside the price of the car as well as registration fees. You should anticipate paying monthly auto insurance premiums, which would range from $50-$150 depending on the coverage you select, the type of car, your driving experience, and other factors.

Other living costs

Expect that you will have to pay for utilities and other services: electricity, gas, water, cable, garbage and phone. Some apartments cover utilities or cable. Groceries are relatively cheap in our community.

Arrival Information


Our most recommended way of getting to MSU is to fly to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and take the Michigan Flyer to campus or fly to Lansing Region International Airport (LAN) via Chicago (ORD) or other major US cities.

If you fly to Detroit 

After arriving at the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) and picking up your luggage, you will use the Michigan Flyer bus to travel to East Lansing. East Lansing will be the last stop the bus makes after leaving the airport. There are two Michigan Flyer stops at DTW: McNamara Terminal and North Terminal. It is very important that you know which terminal you are arriving and find out the correct pick up time in that terminal. 

You can find this information in this PDF. Airlines-by-DTW-terminal.pdf  Or visit Detroit Airport website for further information. For example, if you are flying with Delta Airlines, you will be arriving at McNamara Terminal. Locate Michigan Flyer's stop in the McNamara Terminal below and find out exact pick up time. If you are flying with United Airlines you will be landing in North Terminal. Find Michigan Flyer's stop and the pick up time in the North Terminal below. 

You can save money by pre-paying and booking online in advance. You don't have to print the ticket. When you arrive at the terminal, go to the bus stop, and just tell the driver your name. They will check you in electronically. If you choose to pay with cash, the fares are slightly higher and you will need exact change. It is best to pay in advance online through the link above. Make sure to arrive to your terminal before your departure time to ensure you don't miss the bus. For more information and a departure timetables, refer to the Michigan Flyer schedule.

Below is pickup information according to the Michigan Flyer website. Again, it is very important that you know which terminal you are arriving and find out the correct pick up time in that terminal. You can find this information in this PDF. Airlines-by-DTW-terminal.pdf  Or visit Detroit Airport website for further information. For more information about the Michigan Flyer, please visit their website.

At McNamara Terminal, Michigan Flyer stop is located at the south end of Ground Transportation/Public Transit parking garage Level 4. 

After you pick up your luggage, follow the signs for Ground Transportation/Public Transit. Cross the bridge walk and take an elevator or escalator down to the Ground Transportation Center. 

At North Terminal, Michigan Flyer picks up passengers in the Ground Transportation Center (GTC). Once you come down the stairs or elevator to the GTC, exit the door to your left and proceed to Stall #1. Look for the small Michigan Flyer/AirRide sign.

For more information about the Michigan Flyer, please visit their website.

View Chinese Instructions

Managing Student Information

Once you are admitted to our program, we activate your MSU student account prior to your departure. Our program coordinator will send you your MSU net ID and temporary password information. Then you should login to to change your password, update your current US domestic address (if already known) and your emergency contact information.

Follow instructions below: 

1. Click "Other" tab on the upper right corner. 

2. Click "Addresses" 

3. Update "Current Address (the address at which you reside while in attendance at MSU)"

4. Below your Student Number and Name, you will see this phrase

You may update your emergency contact information in the Emergency Contact System. 

5. Click "Emergency Contact System" 

6. Update contact information 

7. For domestic emergency contact, you may use your program coordinator contact information if you don't anyone in local areas. For international, make sure to include your immediate family member or close friend that should be contacted in the case of emergency. 

8. Change the password. Make sure you regularly check your student account to see if there is any hold or charges. 


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