College Housing Shortage Prompts Request for Professors' Help


September 4, 2018 4:21 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Hundreds of colleges are short of space for housing students and some are already turning study lounges into dorm rooms, doubles into triples, and triples into quads. Others are being forced to house students in off-campus apartments and hotels and offer discounts to anyone willing to live in a more-remote dorm.

Hundreds of colleges are short of space for housing students and some are already turning study lounges into dorm rooms, doubles into triples, and triples into quads. Others are being forced to house students in off-campus apartments and hotels and offer discounts to anyone willing to live in a more-remote dorm.

Due to regional growth, enrollment surges at state flagships and more-selective schools; and more out-of-state and international student enrollment, colleges face serious challenges in landing adequate housing accommodations for their students. Small institutions are also working to keep up with the demand – even struggling to find beds for students. This "housing scramble" is causing public-private partnerships - also known as P3s - to build housing on or next to campuses. Commercial student housing is a $9.8-billion market and many P3s offer retail elements such as restaurants, coffee or gelato shops. The University of California at Santa Cruz is so desperate that they are "asking faculty and staff members to consider offering rooms in their homes for rent to several hundred students without housing guarantees."

On the other hand, schools with "sagging enrollments" are demolishing buildings with "major deferred maintenance, concentrating students in newer dorms"; converting some buildings into "specialized living spaces for adult students 25 or older, military veterans, and graduate students with families"; or turning spaces into commuter-friendly lounges.

With the cost of college being as high as it is, other college costs can go overlooked - especially the cost of room and board or off-campus living. The cost of on- and off-campus housing will depend on which college you attend and in which college town you are living. When it comes to paying for college, be sure to look beyond tuition and fees as the cost of college housing in itself can be expensive.

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