The university should lower apartment rates to be closer to a semester’s worth of off-campus rent to keep students on-campus and involved in the TU community.
TU could keep students in campus housing and better foster a campus community by lowering apartment housing rates to be closer to market value.
Searches on forrent.com and apartmentguide.com reveal that 12-month leases for most local two-bedroom apartments range from $400 per month at the lowest to about $900 per month at the highest. This amounts to a rent cost of between $1600 and $3600 per four-month semester; split between two students, that amounts to anywhere between $800 and $1800 for rent before utilities.
denTU housing rates for two-bedroom on-campus apartments cost $3,214 at the least (US South, US West and Norman Village) and $3,449 at the most (Lorton Village Townhouses) — per person per semester.
Based on the most expensive off-campus rate calculated above, $1800 for a semester, a stut could save at minimum $1,414 by living off campus. If they pick an apartment on the cheaper end of the spectrum, they could save $2,414. That’s not chump change.
The West Park apartments are an exception at $2,691 per semester, but they’re a) off campus and b) still significantly more expensive than the most expensive off-campus two-bedroom apartment.
There is a similar discrepancy in the rates for one-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
TU does its best to keep students living on campus. It’s a good priority — it helps foster a community, something that is certainly attainable on our already tight-knit campus.
However, the cost of on-campus apartment housing may not be affordable for many students, which drives them to seek more reasonably priced off-campus housing.
I understand that it may not be feasible for TU to lower its housing rates for whatever reason, but making the rates more competitive with market value will allow more students to maintain their ties with the campus community, as well as provide them the convenience of living near their classes and extracurriculars.