Living in Sonoma County

Roof of housesSonoma State University students live in the local community around the University. Rohnert Park and Cotati are closest to SSU, with some off-campus rentals within biking or walking distance. Santa Rosa is approximately 7 miles north and Petaluma is 5 miles south.

There are many options for living in the local area. We suggest that you start your housing search early, which should make finding a place to live much easier. However, make sure that you check out the information about income requirements and co-signers on this website before seeking any housing in Sonoma County.

Housing In Sonoma County

There are many different types of housing in Sonoma County. Students live in houses, apartments, mobile homes, condos, townhouses, and trailers. The cities of Rohnert Park and Cotati are home to students who want to live close to campus, typically within three miles of the campus. The cities maintain many bike trails leading to the campus and there is a very good local transit system covering all of Sonoma County. The City of Santa Rosa is located seven miles north of the University with a population of more than 150,000. Many SSU students choose to live in Santa Rosa because there is more housing available, as well as more part-time jobs. Other towns such as Petaluma and Sebastopol are located 5 and 10 miles from the campus respectively. Because they are smaller, housing may be harder to find in these somewhat rural communities.

Most apartment buildings in the county have an income minimum requirement of three times the amount of rent in order for an applicant to qualify. With the average two-bedroom apartment running at least $2,600 per month, an applicant would have to make $7,800 per month to qualify. It is difficult for many students to meet this requirement and it may be necessary to have a cosigner to complete a rental agreement. Financial aid, including loans or scholarships, would be considered income.

Average Rental Costs

Rent will vary noticeably from one accommodation to another depending upon factors such as location, size, condition, and special features. Average monthly rents for the Rohnert Park/Cotati and Santa Rosa areas are: 

  • Shared accommodations - $920 - $1,650

  • Studio Apartment - $1,500 - $2,000

  • 1 Bedroom Apartment - $1,800 - $3,800

  • 2 Bedroom Apartment - $2,200 - $3,500

  • 3 Bedroom Apartment - $2,800 - $3,700

  • 2 Bedroom House - $2,500 - $4,500

  • 3 Bedroom House - $3,300 - $5,500

All CSU campuses are required to identify the average rental costs of a one-bedroom apartment in the local area to assist students in understanding the costs of living while enrolled at a CSU. A recent market housing rental survey was completed in November 2023 to determine the average one-bedroom apartment rental rate. The average monthly rental rate in Rohnert Park ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 per month, which includes units within a 3-mile radius of campus. Outside of the Rohnert Park area, rates will vary from town to town depending on square footage, amenities, and location.