In a city this large, you can find everything from four star accommodation to people willing to rent out their couch for a weekend. At the higher end of the scale in Stuttgart are the Althoff Hotel am Schlossgarten, Kronenhotel, Waldhotel Stuttgart and the Hilton Garden Inn Stuttgart-Neckarpark. These are four and five star rated hotels that provide ever amenity you can imagine. At the lower end of the spectrum are the hostels like Hotel Suedtor, Hostel Alex30 and the Hotel Le Village. The difference in prices can be from €140/night at a high end hotel to €33/night at a hostel. Hostels can provide just as good an experience as a hotel stay, but it is very different.
For students, most Universities do have some on campus housing available but many students prefer to live off campus as it allows them to lead a life that gives them a break from their studies. Stuttgart has 5 inner city residential districts and 18 outer city ones. Some of the districts are very affordable and some not. As with Berlin and many other cities, the closer the residential area is to the nicer things in the city – such as parks, vineyards and landmarks – the more expensive the apartment will be.
You can expect to pay between €700 and €1200 for a one bedroom apartment in the city. This does not include additional costs for utilities and services although some landlords that cater to students and long-term visitors will make the rent all inclusive. If you are planning on keeping a private car, it will be rare to find parking included. It is easier to find parking in the outlying districts than the districts near the city centre.
Fortunately, because the Stuttgart public transportation system is extensive and reliable, it can be very reasonable to live in one of the more affordable outer districts and commute into university than in other cities. If you are on a tight budget, you will want to look at the total monthly cost of transportation to get from your apartment to university, market and your weekend enjoyments to make sure that you understand the total cost of living in an outer district. The difference between the savings in rent of an outer residence versus one in the inner city districts may be evened out when you add in transportation costs.
One last thing to remember is that what is considered a standard apartment in Germany is different from what is considered standard in other parts of the world (e.g. America). There are landlords and agents who specialize in renting to people from America who expect dishwashers and laundry facilities, as well as refrigerators and other options that may not be included in a standard German apartment. There is one caution you should be aware of, if you are an American, most people will assume you are in Stuttgart as part of the US Army and it is common to charge the military and their civilian employees one and a half to two times the normal rent. It can pay to have someone who is local do your negotiations for you.