Public transport exists in small pockets only and people depend on their own cars for transportation. Some Universities have their own fleet of buses which cover the University campus and the surrounding areas. While deciding on your apartment location, make sure it is not very far from the campus and is on some bus route. Find out if there is a bike (bicycle) friendly path to the campus.
Biking can be the best way to commute for the students. For those who have never seen show or experienced sub-zero temperatures, biking can be a challenge during the winter months. Bicyclists are required to follow traffic rules.
More info on Biking in the USA
Buying a car
It is possible to get very cheap cars for $1000 - $2000. But those may be in bad shape. Every car in the USA has a unique VIN number and all the history of the car, including accidents, salvage etc. can be accessed from carfax.com. Never buy a car without checking the facts at carfax.com. After you buy a car you need to decide on the insurance coverage for the car. The insurance premium of a few years is comparable to the cost of a used car. Before buying any car, find out what would be the insurance premium - then think if you can afford the car, the insurance payments and the gasoline prices.
Renting a car
It is possible to get a rental car on the basis of your International driving permit, but it is easier if you have the local U.S. driving license. Car rental fee itself is affordable but the insurance cover to protect the car and the passengers is expensive. For a rough idea, rental fee for a small car like Ford Focus may be approx $30 per day and the insurance cover may be $60 per day. Sometimes there is a big discount on weekend rentals. Never drive a rented or any car without proper insurance cover.