One of the fastest growing costs of college education is not just tuition but student housing. Average cost of tuition at public colleges tripled between 1990 and 2018 to $10,270. As a result, average student debt has increased from about $11,000 to about $35,000 in that time.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “housing costs [are] likely a significant portion” of that individual student debt.
At the University of Texas at Austin, for example, the median annual rent in neighborhoods closest to campus is about $11,000. That according to an analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek. That exceeds the annual in-state tuition and also does not include expenses such as meals and utilities.
The trend has come about by national real estate developers seeing areas around universities as growth opportunities. These companies replace aging buildings with sleek, new “luxury” apartment buildings they hope appeal to affluent parents for look safe, convenient housing for their new college student.
But critics say the trend is having unintended consequences. Aside from the increase in student debt, the expensive living arrangements force less well-to-do students to live further away from campus. Longer commutes can hurt students’ grades and opportunities for graduation, according to research conducted by HUD.
Photo by Texas A&M University