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  • 612 Hillsborough St Apartments
    Pros
    – Within walking distance of campus (15-20 min.)
    – Reasonable price
    – Close to Root Cellar, Flyleaf Books, Lucha Tigre, Hunam Chinese, and Bolin Creek trail
    Cons
    – Bad cell service
    – Parking lot is prone to flooding; limited visitor parking
    – Apartments are less than immaculate
    Transportation
    – T, A, NS, NU bus routes at a stop directly across the street from the entrance
    – One parking spot included with rent; can pay extra monthly fee for a second spot
    Recommend: Y
  • Kingswood Apartments (1105 W NC HWY 54 BYP)
    Pros
    – Good square footage for the price
    – Close to Merritt Trail
    – Free parking for residents; ample guest parking
    – Quick with maintenance requests
    Cons
    – Thin walls
    – Can be noisy if your apartment is close to the highway
    – Some apartments have limited overhead lights
    – No crosswalk for the highway, which can make taking the bus tricky
    – Not within easy walking distance of campus, shopping, or bars/restaurants
    Transportation
    – J bus route right outside (requires you to cross the highway if you return by the J)
    Recommend: Y
  • Laurel Ridge Apartments (1100 W NC HWY 54 BYP)
    Pros
    – Free parking for residents
    – Community pool in complex
    – Quick with maintenance requests
    Cons
    – Can be noisy if your apartment is close to the highway
    – No crosswalk for the highway, which can make taking the bus tricky
    – Not within easy walking distance of campus, shopping, or bars/restaurants
    Transportation
    – J bus route right outside (requires you to cross the highway to take the J to campus)
    Recommend: Y
  • Carolina Apartments (401 HWY 54)
    Pros
    – Within walking distance of Carrboro (20 min.)
    – Quick with maintenance requests
    – Bus stop both ways is on the near side of the highway
    Cons
    – Infrequent bus service on weekends
    – No recycling
    – Office sometimes makes mistakes with billing
    Transportation
    – J and CM bus routes nearby
    Recommend: Y
  • Canterbury Townhomes (HWY 54, across the street from Royal Park)
    Pros
    – Quiet area
    – Good square footage for the price
    – Quick with maintenance requests
    – Can have parking permits for two cars; ample parking space
    Cons
    – Infrequent bus service on weekends
    – New renovations are causing rent to rise
    – No community facilities/amenities
    – Not within easy walking distance of campus, shopping, or bars/restaurants
    Transportation
    – J and CM bus routes outside the complex
    Recommend: Y
  • Driver's License & DMV
    • – When getting an NC drivers license for residency, try to do so as early as possible. There will be a huge line at the DMV right before the Fall semester starts. Mid-week is the best time to go.
    • – You can make an appointment online to visit an office. The Carrboro office is the closest to campus but may be booked up to eight weeks.
    • – Be aware that NC requires driver’s insurance before they will issue you a license. You must present proof of liability coverage with your paperwork.
      • – If you don’t currently have a driver’s license from another state, you will be able to get liability insurance without a license, but you need to talk to an insurance agent that specifically works in the state of North Carolina. Insurance representatives from other states will not be able to help you, because they are generally unaware of NC law.
      • – If you don’t have a car, a state ID will work just as well for residency purposes.
    • – If surrendering a license from another state, you may be asked to take a written exam or do the road sign test. Study guides are available at the DMV, so ask for one while you wait in line.
    • – There are 2 types of DMVs – one for your Driver’s License, and one for license plates. Be sure that you are going to the correct one.
    • – Be prepared to pay state taxes on your car when you get the plates. This is normal and helps with your residency because it shows that you began paying state taxes early.
    • – If you want a Real ID, you will need to present two proofs of address. A voter registration card and a copy of your lease or utility bill will suffice.
  • Voting
    • – Make sure you are registered to vote in North Carolina. You will have the option to register at the DMV when you get your driver’s license. Vote as soon and as often as you can, even in small local elections: it will help with residency.
  • Proof of Residency
    • – Save a copy of your lease and any utility bills (wi-fi, heating, etc.). Water/sewage/trash bills are particularly useful because they are registered with the city.
    • – Other kinds of proof can include membership cards for bars and co-ops; membership to a church, the Chapel Hill Library, etc.
  • Appealing a Denial
    • – If you are denied, call the residency office to figure out why you were denied. More often than not, denials are issued for small problems with your application (e.g. you clicked the wrong bubble or filled something out incorrectly). The resubmission process isn’t too difficult.
      • – Both Nick Bolig and Ryan Baldwin were denied on their first attempts, so you may contact them if you have any questions.
  • GSHIP (NC Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Options UNC-CH RA/TA)
    • – Make your online BCBS account as soon as you have the information from your insurance plan (your card will be mailed in August or September). Completing simple tasks on their website (e.g. “read this info about COVID” or “verify your contact info”) will qualify you for gift cards. Some of the online activities are available to complete yearly, and some students have earned up to $100-150 in gift cards over several months.
    • – Your BCBS online account is also very useful for keeping track of your deductibles and claims, and viewing your Explanation of Benefits (EOB).
    • Benefits info
  • Primary Care
    • – Internal Medicine at the UNC Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) is decent, and they do take our insurance. Wait times can be long, but care is good.
    • – Our insurance covers 100% of a basic annual physical exam under preventative care, so it’s a good idea to set up with a primary care provider when you get to town and take advantage of covered yearly checkups.
  • Eyes
    • – Our GShip covers a yearly eye exam and will reimburse your glasses up to 100 dollars with a mail-in rebate.
      • – Double check with your optometrist’s office that the visit is being billed as your annual check-up. Some procedures are not covered as preventative care, so you will have to pay out of pocket (20% after deductible) for those services. Often your provider will let you know if a service is not covered, but it never hurts to double check.
    • eyecarecenter Chapel Hill – takes GSHIP, friendly staff, discounts on first pair of glasses.
    • – 20% off UNC employee discount on frames and lenses at UNC Kittner Eye Center optical shop.
    • Carrboro Family Vision – takes GSHIP, has affordable package deals, friendly.
  • Dental
    • – GShip does not cover dental, but you can pay for a dental plan through BCBS if you are able to.
    • – UNC Adams School of Dentistry Clinic – a free dental clinic; works on a lottery service, but you are guaranteed care.
    • Milltown Family Dentistry offers a yearly dental plan for those without dental coverage.
  • OBGYN
    • – GShip covers 100% of a yearly check-up, but does not cover other services.
    • Chapel Hill OBGYN
  • Mental Health
    • – The student health center has both walk-in hours and multiple ways to make pre-planned appointments.
    • – On-campus options are free with our insurance.
      • – CAPS – for therapy referrals in town to people who take our insurance; also for prescriptions on anti-anxiety/depressants/etc.
        • – CAPS offers short-term counselling and medication management on campus, as well as referrals to external providers. Referral counsellors will work with you to make sure you have options that are covered by your insurance.
        • – CAPS also runs group therapy throughout the year, including a group for graduate students.
      • – Women’s Health in the student health center is good for getting birth control prescriptions quickly and easily. Graduate students have had mixed experiences there, but mostly agree that this is a fine place to go. If you have questions about a specific health issue or want to have an in-depth discussion with a healthcare professional, you may want to look elsewhere.
      • – LGBT Center staff will meet confidentially with staff and students to refer them to support for LGBTQIA+ issues. They maintain a list of resources in the area for LGBT-inclusive healthcare, and also run several support groups.
  • Vets
    • Four Paws Animal Clinic: Used by a lot of graduate students. Good grooming services. Ask them about their student discount.
    • Durham Referral Animal Hospital: A little farther away, but cheaper than the closer emergency options.
    • – 24-Hour Emergency Vet: Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas (VSH) has locations in Cary, Durham, and Raleigh. Recommended; they also treat small animals in addition to cats & dogs.
  • Vegan-friendly Restaurants
  • Grocery Stores
    • Food Lion is great for cheap local fruits and veggies. Store brand dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, etc.) are also cheap and good. Sign up for their MVP rewards program.
    • Harris Teeter also has a student discount (5%) and their stores are generally nicer than Food Lion. You can have the discount applied when you sign up for your VIC (membership card), but you will have to renew every year by going to customer service and showing them your ID.
    • Weaver St. Market has frequent deals for members and yummy breakfast/warm food bar and coffee. Great pecan sticky rolls.
    • Sprouts and Aldi in Durham are both very cheap and affordable. While a further drive, we get most of our meat and produce at these places at a cheaper rate than in Chapel Hill. They are also good for alternative products (oat milk, etc.).
    • Trader Joes! (Being from California this was huge for me and where I do most of my shopping) Their cheese is always like half the price of Harris Teeter. Also due to state law, they do not sell hard liquor (bummer if you are from CA) but do sell their wine and beer (so improvement from CO).
    • – There is rumor of a student discount at the Fresh Market (expensive), so be sure to ask at checkout and provide UNC ID.
    • – Note: all of these stores have weekly ads. Be sure to check them out weekly to find out what is cheapest and where.
  • Banking
    • – We are technically state employees, so you can set up with the NC State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU). Branches and ATMs all over NC, with multiple in Chapel Hill/Carrboro.
      • SECU Summer Cash account for NC system teachers who are paid 9/10/11 months out of the year lets you set aside a portion of your paycheck each month with a pretty good interest rate. You can choose to get the money all at once or in two payments (split in half) over the summer, deposited directly into your checking account. You can either tell SECU a dollar amount you want taken out of each paycheck or (recommended) use the UNC direct deposit portal to set up contributions yourself, since we’re not paid as much in August and May as in other months. You can reuse the account the next year, no need to set up a new one.
        • – We DO qualify for this account, even if some SECU employees can be difficult about it. Try Chris Little at the Pittsboro St. branch (if he’s still there), who has for sure set a Classics grad up with one of these.
    • Coastal Credit Union (Carrboro)
  • – The TransLoc app covers GoTriangle, GoDurham, GoRaleigh, UNC, Duke, and NC State bus systems with real-time bus tracking.
  • – Go Triangle buses are a good option for travel to downtown Durham if you don’t have a car. Both the 400 and 405 bus routes have stops along Franklin street or on campus. They typically leave about every 30 minutes and cost $2.25 for one way. It takes about 40 min to get to Durham Station, which is a 5 minute walk from Main St.
    • – Very reliable, but also very slow on the highway during rush hours.
  • – The Robertson Express (RSX) goes between Duke West Campus (Science Drive, near Bryan Center, near the Chapel) and UNC Morehead Planetarium in about 20 minutes with no stops. Great if you need to be on Duke’s campus, but also good for getting to downtown Durham, if you don’t mind walking a bit once you’re there.
    • – $1 each way with UNC ID.
    • – Used to be possible to buy a bunch of rides ahead of time at a discounted rate, but unclear if that’s still possible.
    • – Leaves every 30 minutes Monday–Friday from 7:30am–10pm. Leaves UNC on the hour, Duke on the half hour on Saturday and Sunday from around 12–9pm.
    • – Sometimes the last bus just never shows up at UNC, be warned.
    • – ONLY RUNS WHILE DUKE IS IN SESSION!
    • – The RSX is currently shut down because of COVID, but will hopefully be up and running again in the future.
  • – Carpooling to Duke is the easiest option, especially if you are taking an art history class (there is a free lot next door). If you are headed to main campus, the garden parking lot is your best bet. It is paid, but people typically take turns paying.
  • – Once in Durham:
    • – You can bus from Duke west campus to east campus (on Main Street) for free on campus buses (C1: East-West, ca. 7 minutes).
    • – SWS: Swift Avenue Shuttle will also get you onto Main Street and then you’re in downtown Durham. From there, it is about a 5-10 minute walk down Main to Brightleaf square.
    • – While you’re on Duke’s campus, you might as well get a really good lunch at the Div Cafe (used to be Refectory) to the right of the Chapel. Lots of vegan and vegetarian options.