College students scramble for affordable housing


The end of summer is always stressful for Jordan Hubbard as he tries to find accommodation for the upcoming semester. This year is even worse: the military benefits that helped pay for his tuition and housing at New York University ended this spring. He needs the money he makes from two jobs this summer, as well as a stipend for his role in student government, to pay for his tuition.

He knows some people whose parents can help them rent housing in neighborhoods near their classes at NYU, but he knows that many low-income students are crammed into apartments a long subway ride from campus. “All I see on my Instagram feed is…who’s, sublet, Who’s looking for roommates? “, he said.

It’s scary, Hubbard said, shortly before the start of his senior year. “I have no way to pay for any type of accommodation.”

Soaring rental costs and increased demand for traditional campus life after pandemic disruptions are having students at some universities scrambling to find accommodation. At schools struggling with long waiting lists for university accommodation, efforts to accommodate students have led to unusual solutions.

Rents are rising everywhere. See how much prices are up in your area.

Housing “is a beast right now,” said Ron Hall, a senior who leads student government at NYU. Sometimes, he said, “students can’t come to school because of housing costs.”

The ability of colleges to attract students and their surrounding markets varies widely, and some schools are struggling with declining enrollment. But on some campuses and in some regions, housing problems are acute.

In California, the state is pumping money into building new student housing at public universities after shortages and legal battles escalated in some college towns. A lawsuit claimed that enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley and the resulting demand for scarce housing was straining neighboring neighborhoods and forcing longtime residents from their homes, leading to a court order to limit registrations which was later overturned by heads of state. Berkeley also had to deal with multiple starts and stops of a project at a park near campus that would include more than 1,000 beds for students.

“The university has faced legal challenges over nearly every housing project it has launched in recent years,” spokesman Dan Mogulof said.

College students: Are you having trouble finding accommodation this year? Share your experience with The Post.

Meanwhile, some of the state’s community colleges, traditionally suburban schools for students juggling jobs and classes, are now planning to build dormitories. The University of California, Los Angeles has promised that all incoming freshmen, beginning this fall, will be guaranteed on-campus housing for up to four years.

The urgency is hard to overstate, said Alex Niles, 21, a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is government relations president for the University of California Student Association. Last year, he says, “There were students living in illegal sublets and garages, far too many students sleeping in cars parked on the street or couchsurfing. It’s very common to have 13 students in a house,” he said, with bunk beds crammed four or more students into a room. “The rents are exorbitant.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, Sabeeka Khan, senior, said many people are struggling to pay their rent, using their student loans to cover it and worrying towards the end of the year when the loan money runs out. dried up. Some students cannot afford to live in safer neighborhoods in Richmond, she said.

At Florida Atlantic University, many more students are asking to live on campus now than before the pandemic. The biggest factor, said Larry Faerman, acting vice president of student affairs at FAU, is the cost of rentals in the area: He said they’ve roughly doubled in the past year or so. of the last 15 months. The cost of driving has also increased.

The school had a waiting list of more than 800 students hoping for on-campus housing in the spring who had to seek alternatives. “I don’t know how many of them will choose not to go back to school if they can’t find accommodation,” he said.

They also found that more students than usual were keeping their on-campus housing for the fall. This year, the school has about 175 more students who have signed contracts than it can accommodate. The FAU will provide these students with rooms in local hotels – at the cost of student housing – and provide transportation to and from campus.

The school also plans to offer more online classes, he said, to allow students to learn off campus.

They overcame poverty to go to university. Then they saw housing costs.

At the University of Utah, the housing waiting list topped 3,500 students this spring.

University officials are planning new residential buildings, but took several interim steps this summer to close the gap. They are subletting an apartment building owned by nearby Westminster College and plan to use nearly 300 rooms in an on-campus hotel for students this year.

They are also launching a pilot program to connect students to graduates up to 45 miles from campus. who are willing to provide housing. The university will charge students a flat fee of $5,000 per semester and pay alumni for rooms or apartments in their homes — or direct them to a scholarship fund, if alumni want to donate. That’s significantly less than the typical rate for a studio near campus, said Bethany Hardwig, director of special projects and outreach at the Office of Alumni Relations.

Housing is so badly needed, Hardwig said, that a graduate told him that within an hour of posting an available apartment, 100 people had filled out a form in response. “It felt really unmanageable to me,” she said.

Linda Dun, who has multiple ties to the university, has extra room in his house several miles from campus – but had been hesitant to rent it, nervous about having a stranger in her home. The university’s safeguards reassure her. “My neighborhood is very beautiful,” she said, right next to the mountains, minutes from canyons and hiking, and half an hour from several ski resorts.

Even in expensive housing markets like Washington, some students are finding solutions.

At American University, Henry Sprouse, senior, said he found an apartment near campus fairly easily and shared the two bedrooms with two friends. He will pay $950 a month for his half of a room.

Her father, Scott Sprouse, said the process was not as difficult as he had feared. Last year, his son’s rent for a 700 square foot apartment was more than the mortgage payment for the family’s 3,400 square foot home on an acre and a half just outside Nashville, he said . “But when I looked at the market, it was a fair price. And when you get a roommate, it helps with that price.

At Howard University, Cynthia Evers, vice president of student affairs, said she has seen an increase in demand for on-campus housing this year and has worked to make more beds available on and off campus.

With enrollment surging, Howard University braces for housing shortage

Last year, Jomi Ward helped organize efforts for fellow Howard University students who struggle to find affordable apartments. This year, Ward is happy to be able to live on campus, where she applied to be a Resident Advisor.

“The last year is my only opportunity to really experience the housing life on campus, to develop bonds with other students and to enjoy the university,” she said as she packed her bags. for the fall semester. “This is my last hurray.”

Meanwhile, in New York, NYU officials have seen higher-than-usual demand for on-campus housing and fewer cancellations, according to spokesman John Beckman.

Hubbard, who is a student leader on campus, said NYU administrators have been very supportive and helpful and he is grateful for that.

A program for students to donate unused meal “shots” from their dining cards to help others eat has also been extremely helpful. “I literally survived on ‘Swipe it Forward,'” for lunches and dinners this past semester, he said.

He has kept a record, since sixth or seventh grade, of NYU admission requirements. “It’s always been my dream,” he said. School officials are working with him to help him stay enrolled despite the costs, he said.

For now, with the school year starting in a few weeks, he still doesn’t know where he could live for the last year. But, he said, “things look hopeful.”

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