Justine Meccio

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Why Everyone is Moving to Austin - An Infographic!

Posted by Justine Meccio on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 03:59 PM

Frequently cited for its friendly people, progressive thinking, and laid-back lifestyle, it's no secret that Austin is an attractive place to live.

Outdoor concerts, farmers markets, and numerous street festivals preserve a small-town feel, while the thriving business sector and bustling downtown generate genuine metropolitan excitement. This vibrant combination has many folks moving to Austin.

Check out the infographic below for a detailed look at all that the city has to offer. Enjoy!

Why Everyone is Moving to Austin

Infographic Credit: Complete Web Resources


Topics: Austin, Austin rental market, moving to Austin

Moving to Austin: The Austin Rental Market

Posted by Justine Meccio on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 @ 02:39 PM

Austin Rental Market
Moving is no small feat - finding a place to live, packing up your belongings, recruiting helping hands, finding a friend with a truck, tying up the pieces at your old place and remembering all of the little details for getting settled in smoothly at a new home. It is no wonder that moving is often considered to be one of the most stressful events in life!

Austin is a rapidly growing city with much to offer new residents. Depending on how far you are moving (i.e. across town vs. across the country); the process of finding a place to live may be different. No matter where you are starting from, the following insights will help you stay organized as you navigate the Austin rental market.

What to Consider When Searching For a Place to Live:

Consider Your Exact Move-in Date

Knowing your move-in date will help you determine when you need to be ready to sign a lease. Some apartments only list their availability 30 days prior to a potential move-in date whereas others list availability 60 days prior. Privately owned houses, condos, and duplexes usually have openings based on 30 day notices, possibly even shorter times, and are generally looking for quick move-ins.  As a general rule of thumb, it is best to start your housing search 45-60 days before your anticipated move date.

Lease Options

Before starting your search, it’s important to have an idea of what you are looking for. Most apartment communities in Austin offer one year leases. Some properties may offer nine and six month leases, however leases lasting less than six months can be very difficult to find. Many apartment communities charge an up-grade fee for leases shorter than one year, and such fees can be as high as an extra $150 per month. Privately owned properties like rental homes or duplexes almost always offer one year leases.

An alternative option for a shorter term lease is to sublet. Subletting a property can offer a temporary home-base while you explore Austin’s many neighborhoods and search for longer-term accommodations.

Rental Application Fees & Deposits 

When you have found a place you like and you are ready to submit an application, it is important to keep in mind that there will be associated application fees and deposits required. Planning for these fees will help you create a realistic moving budget.
Application fees can range from $35 to $150 and will vary depending on location. These fees are applied to the cost of running criminal background and rental history checks for potential tenants.  

A rental deposit is typically required to be paid to the property owner or management company. Deposit amounts are variable and can range from $200 to $1,000 per unit. Newer apartment communities that offer more amenities typically ask for higher rental deposits. Some apartment communities may include an “administrative fee” as part of the deposit that is frequently non-refundable and may be as much as half of the deposit. However, this type of fee is usually only found in larger, newer apartment communities. Owners of houses, duplexes, and condos often ask a new tenant to deposit the first and/or last month’s rent up front.

With many animal-loving residents in Austin, pet deposits are a very common feature of the rental market. Amounts and specific policies may vary depending on individual properties; though, a typical pet deposit will be around $300 - $500 for one pet. Half of this deposit is usually refundable while the other half is typically a non-refundable cleaning fee. Having more than one pet usually incurs additional deposit costs (often $250 per additional pet), and many communities limit the number of pets allowed to three.  In some cases apartment communities may charge pet rent instead of a deposit. Pet rent is a monthly fee paid in addition to rent and can vary from $15 - $50 per month, per pet. If you have furry friends, it’s important to ask about a property’s pet policies before applying.

Before paying any deposit, it is important to verify with the leasing agent whether a deposit is refundable if the rental application is cancelled, withdrawn, or refused.  Once an application is approved, the rental deposit is no longer refundable.

Qualifying Criteria for Rental Applications

When evaluating a rental application, apartment communities and property owners will consider/ verify the following:

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
  • Previous rental history (broken leases, evictions, lack of rental history)
  • Criminal background checks (any convictions, misdemeanors, felonies, etc.)
  • Credit history (outstanding housing debts/payments, utility or rental payment history, etc.)
  • Whether renter’s insurance is required (many properties require policies for $100,000 worth of rental insurance)
  • Number of vehicles or pets owned (properties may limit the number of each allowed)
  • Current income

When considering a potential tenant’s credit history and income, apartment communities typically expect to see that an applicant’s monthly income is approximately three times the amount of monthly rent. Combined income from roommates, financial aid received by students, and potential co-signors’ income are additional factors that may be considered. Most communities will allow co-signors for applicants that do not meet the earnings criteria. Co-signors are generally expected to own a home and earn five to six times the amount of the unit’s monthly rent. Depending on employment status, applicants may be required to present paystubs, income tax information, bank statements, or confirmation of financial aid eligibility to verify income.

Applicants with less than 6 months of rental history or a low credit-score may be required to have a co-signor on a lease or pay an additional rental deposit.  Factors such as a history of broken leases, evictions, or a criminal background will generally result in co-signors being refused. While apartment communities always perform criminal background and rental history checks, not all private owners do so. New residents should discuss the qualifying rental criteria in detail with the apartment community or property owner during the application process.

Rental Rates

Apartment rental rates are generated based on city-wide occupancy rates, meaning prices can fluctuate frequently. Rental prices will also vary based on the type of unit available (e.g. number of bedrooms, square footage, amenities, etc.) and exact location. In addition to checking rental prices for specific properties online, it is also advisable to contact a property directly to verify the current rate and to inquire about any move-in specials that may be offered. Cost of living calculators can help new residents moving from another city or state to estimate housing costs in Austin.

Getting Help with Your Housing Search

It’s always ideal to visit a potential house/apartment in person before making a commitment and signing a lease. Unfortunately, this is not always an option if you are moving from a different city or state.  Recruiting the help of a leasing agent or apartment locator can help to narrow down your options and find a place that meets your criteria and standards for quality of life. Many apartment locating agents in Austin offer free services to clients looking for housing and it’s important to choose a locator that is responsive, professional, and respectful of your housing needs.

AOMA Apartment Locators List  

  AOMA Apartment Reference Guide

In addition to individual leases, alternative housing opportunities exist including roommate arrangements, house shares, and cooperative living. Check out our next blog post in the Moving to Austin series for more information on this topic!

Article Contributors:

Austin apartment locators

Michelle Gonzalez

Michelle Gonzalez is an Austin-based real estate agent and AOMA student. Prior to beginning her studies within AOMA’s master’s degree program in acupuncture & Chinese medicine, Michelle worked as a full-time licensed real estate agent at Team Real Estate. She has years of experience and expertise within Austin’s rental and home-buying markets.


Austin apartment locators

Jillian Kelble
As AOMA’s Admissions Coordinator, Jillian Kelble works one-on-one with new students to support their transition to graduate school and is the administrator of AOMA’s bi-weekly new student housing digest. In addition to her role within the Admissions Office, she has also worked as a property manager for a privately owned rental property in downtown Austin. A transplant from the west coast, Jillian brings personal insight about the process of relocating to her work.


Visit AOMA and Austin, TX    Take a Virtual Campus Tour  

Topics: student services, Austin, Austin rental market, moving to Austin

AOMA Thanksgiving Food Drive: Nov. 1 -26, 2013

Posted by Justine Meccio on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 09:38 AM

AOMA is holding a food drive to benefit local families in need this Thanksgiving!

CAFBlogo V4C

All donations will given to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. Items will be collected from Nov. 1 - 26, 2013.

Each year, the Capital Area Food Bank provides more than 24 million pounds of food and grocery products to approximately 300,000 people in need. These items serve local non-profit organizations and social service agencies. AOMA's community hopes to make a difference by providing extra goods and meals during the busy Thanksgiving season.

Begining November 1, 2013 - Bring Donations to:

  • AOMA Campus - 4701 West Gate Blvd., Austin, TX 78745:
    • AOMA Admissions Office (Building C)
    • AOMA Herbal Medicine Center (Building B)
    • AOMA Student Clinic (Building A)
  • AOMA North Clinic - 2700 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757:
    • Clinic Reception

The items most in need are:

  • Healthy, non-perishable foods
  • Canned vegetables & fruits
  • Canned meat like tuna, white meat chicken, chili or stews
  • Pasta & pasta sauce
  • Whole grains (brown rice)
  • Canned, low-sodium soups
  • Beans (canned or dry)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Healthy Cereals
  • Full meals in a can/box

 When selecting items, please choose:

  • Items with intact, unopened consumer or commercial packaging
  • Food with the expiration date printed on package
  • Choose pop-top cans for canned good
  • Items with non-breakable packaging (NO GLASS, PLEASE)

Questions may be directed to

Throughout the years, AOMA has been engaged in many community collaborations. To learn more about other community collaborations, please visit



Topics: AOMA community collaborations, thanksgiving food drive, aoma thanksgiving food drive

Understanding Accreditation and Why it Matters

Posted by Justine Meccio on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

What is Accreditation?

When looking at an educational program of any nature, one important factor to consider is accreditation. Accreditation is the process used within higher education to evaluate the quality of colleges, universities, and educational programs. It is a form of endorsement signifying that a college, university, or educational program offers a legitimate form of education.

Obtaining Accreditation

Schools obtain accreditation by applying to have their institution or curriculum reviewed by an independent accrediting agency. Accrediting agencies are private, nongovernmental educational associations designed to conduct external quality assessments. Each agency sets educational and institutional standards for the types of programs, colleges, or universities it accredits.

Within the U.S. there are many different accrediting agencies that evaluate and accredit programs based on criteria specific to the nature and purpose of each agency, or to a specific field of study. While the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) does not accredit institutions directly, it does determine which accrediting agencies receive official recognition by the DOE.

Institutions may become eligible for federal funds, including federal student financial aid, by achieving accreditation with an agency recognized by the DOE.

Regional Accreditationregionally accredited acupuncture school

Regional accreditation is a form of institutional accreditation that is granted after a school has completed a comprehensive peer review process of all its institutional functions. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes regional accrediting agencies for six geographic regions of the United States. These include:

Because the institutional standards for obtaining regional accreditation are rigorous, regional accreditation ensures a high level of educational quality and effectiveness for students. In general, credits obtained at a regionally accredited institution can be accepted as transfer by other schools, including other regionally accredited colleges or universities.

Regional accreditation may be granted to public and private, nonprofit, and for-profit, two- and four-year institutions.

National Accreditation

National Accreditation is typically granted by an accreditation agency that focuses on a particular type of education. National accreditation agencies are often specific to institutions that offer single-purpose degree programs, occupational, vocational, or professional education and training and degrees. Examples of national accreditors include:  

Many national accrediting agencies are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a private, nongovernmental agency that recognizes independent accrediting agencies, though it employs a different process and criteria for recognition than the US Department of Education. CHEA maintains an online list of accrediting agencies it recognizes.

Specialized Programmatic Accreditationgraduate program in acupuncture and chinese medicine

Programmatic accreditation refers to a type of accreditation for a specialized discipline or field of study offered by an institution, but does not necessarily evaluate the college or university as a whole. Specialized accreditation exists within more than 90 disciplines, encompassing the fields of education, health care, law, the arts and humanities, community and social services, and personal care and human service.

Programmatic accreditation agencies ensure that a program of study offered by an institution complies with current educational standards for a specific professional field or academic discipline. Some programmatic accreditors may require regional accreditation as a foundation prior to granting accreditation, and many specialized programmatic accrediting agencies are recognized by the US Department of Education.

Examples of specialized programmatic accreditors include:

Asking about Accreditation

To determine if a specific college, university, or educational program is accredited consult the school’s website, catalog, or ask the school’s admissions department. The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of recognized accrediting agencies with information about the nature and purpose of each accreditor.

To learn more about AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine’s accreditation and affiliations, please visit For more additional information about accreditation for the field of acupuncture & Oriental medicine, please visit the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)

Download Introduction to DAOM Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master's Program 


Schray, Vickie. "Assuring Quality in Higher Education: Key Issues and Questions for Changing Accreditation in the United States, Issue Paper, The Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education (Fourth in a series of Issue Papers released at the request of Chairman Charles Miller to inform the work of the Commission)" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education, Washington D.C.
"Understanding Accreditation of U.S. Colleges and Universities." Web blog post. Http:// Nelnet, 29 Jan. 2013. Web. <>.
"Accreditation in the United States." College Accreditation in the United States -- TOC. US Department of Education (DOE), n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <>.
Eaton, Judith S. Accreditation and Recognition in the U.S. Rep. Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), 2012. Web. 23 May 2013. <>.
Jang, D. "What Is Regional Accreditation and Why Is It Important?" Weblog post. Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE, 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 23 May 2013. <>
"Types of Accreditation." Western Assocation of Schools and Colleges (WASC). WASC, n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <>

Topics: acupuncture school, regional accreditation, national accreditation, accreditation

WHO Recognizes Acupuncture as an Effective Form of Treatment

Posted by Justine Meccio on Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 04:26 PM

The World Health Organization (WHherbal medicine programO) serves as the authority for health and health care within the United Nations system and is leader on global health matters. In addition to playing a key role in medical research, establishing health care standards and policy, the WHO also monitors and assesses emerging trends in global health.


In 2003, the WHO published a review of clinical trials of acupuncture, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials. As a result of this publication, the WHO recognizes 28 diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which acupuncture has been proven to be an effective form of treatment. These include:

-Adverse Reactions to radiotherpy

and/or chemotherapy

-Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

-Biliary colic


-Dystentery, acute bacillary

-Dysmenorrhea, primary


-Facial pain



-Hypertension, essential

-Hypotension, primary

-Induction of labour

-Knee pain


-Low back pain

-Malposition of fetus

-Morning sickness

-Nausea and vomiting

-Neck pain

-Pain in dentistry

-Periarthritis of shoulder

-Postoperative pain

-Renal colic

-Rheumatoid arthritis




-Tennis elbow











The WHO also recognizes acupuncture’s therapeutic effects for over 55 diseases, symptoms, or conditions, but noted additional controlled trials are needed.


Acupuncture is a system of medical care that originated in China thousands of years ago which has since become widely used in health care systems throughout the world. During acupuncture treatment, thin needles are inserted into the patient’s body at specific points to treat disease, alleviate symptoms, or relieve pain. The application of needles can also be combined with moxibustion (the burning of particular herbs over the skin) to stimulate certain points.


One of the most well-known modalities within Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is often used by practitioners in conjunction with herbal medicine, dietary therapy, Asian bodywork therapies, and mind-body exercise to treat patients.

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture research, efficacy of acupuncture

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