The main types of student housing are summarized below. Longer descriptions are available at the provided links.
Universities in the US typically offer students housing within campus premises, usually called “residence halls.” These housing units are owned and operated by the university, with students signing a housing contract and paying “room and board” fees to the university to occupy the assigned room for the duration of the academic term. In this respect, students are tenants, and the universities are the landlords. Campus housing types differ from each university and range from traditional dormitory-styled buildings to student apartments. More on on-campus housing.
Off-campus housing typically refers to housing that is not owned, operated, and provided by the university, not served by university staff, and not within the area owned by the university. Most off-campus housing is located immediately outside of the campus area, usually within the range of several miles. Off-campus housing may be residences owned by private individuals or those owned by a property leasing company. More on off-campus housing.
“Home-stay” is a general term referring to any program that place foreign students with American host families living in homes near the students’ campus. Participation in such a program by the student is voluntary. Home-stay programs are sometimes organized by the campus housing office, while other times they are organized by local community organizations in partnership with the university. There are also other times when home-stay programs are not organized by any particular organization and merely consist of families offering their homes to students. More on home-stay.