Students seek more affordable housing

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Photo Credit: Jesse Hanna

A new housing complex funded through a partnership with the city of Austin aims to provide more affordable housing options. 

The Mueller Affordable Homes Program is a project that strives to give families more reasonably priced accommodations. The program, however, does not address the financial needs of full-time students and only applies to young families, working couples, single parents and older adults, according to KXAN. 

Radio-television-film senior Dana Summers said finding a balance between affordable living and convenience is still a challenge for UT students. Students should not have to compromise quality or accessibility for cost, said Summers, who has lived in Taos Co-op housing in West Campus for the past two years. 

“Where I live is affordable, but it’s not ideal for me,” Summers said. “That’s why you see posts on the UT Austin Sublets/Roommate Finder Facebook page, where people are splitting the rent of a two-bedroom apartment between four people because it’s difficult to even afford the rent of having a room to yourself in West Campus.” 

Economics sophomore Olukayode Jaiyeola said he thinks living in Riverside is a more manageable option.

“I didn’t have to take out loans to pay in advance,” Jaiyeola said. “I could work on campus and pay my rent as each month came along. It also made it easier for my parents to support me with their monthly income.”

Jaiyeola said although he enjoys the cost effectiveness of Riverside, the location’s 30-minute commute from campus makes it less desirable.

For those not wanting to spend $900 or more per month for their own room in an apartment in West Campus, Riverside and complexes far away from campus are really the only option, Jaiyeola said.

“In order to get anything affordable in West Campus, you’d better be prepared to take out a loan or take on a job,” said Eric Hunt, supply chain management sophomore.

Summers said she believes tuition costs and housing to be equally important issues for college students.

“Honestly, during the presidential debates where people are talking about making tuition free or more affordable, all I can think of is how a person still might not be able to afford to go to college — not just because of the tuition, but because of housing costs, which costs just as much, if not more, than tuition,” Summers said.