Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Housing Heartbreak on Capitol Hill

    Finding a place to live for an affordable cost is a source of stress for students every year, which is why Housing and Residence Life at Seattle University is currently looking into expanding on-campus living.

    Many students have found that moving off campus for their sophomore, junior or even senior year has been a burden, with renting prices on Capitol Hill continuing to rise.

    At the same time, many sophomores have been unable to get into a larger living space, such as the Murphy or Douglas apartments, and have been forced to live in a residence hall for another year. Simultaneously, efficiency triples have had freshmen crammed into two-person rooms with three roommates, in order to accommodate for the high number of students living on campus.

    High prices surrounding Seattle U apartment complexes have also kept students from moving off campus, and any affordable housing fills up quickly. But can Seattle U provide more accommodating, affordable housing close, or even on, campus?

    “That is the $64,000 question,” according to Tim Albert, the associate director of housing services and operations.

    To better accommodate students’ housing needs, especially those who want more space than a dorm room, Seattle U is considering expanding on-campus housing, with the potential of new buildings being purchased or renovated on Broadway above Campion, or further east of campus.

    “The university right now has some consultants that they’ve been working with,” Albert said. “[They] ended up meeting with a group of students here sometime last quarter but they also have been looking at data [from housing surveys] to make a recommendation.”

    Albert is in contact with contractors, one of whom he said is a Seattle U alumnus that is looking to build in the area with college students in mind.

    When applying to rent housing for a school year, students care most about factors such as affordability and proximity to campus. But when apartments that are close by are renting for $1,400 a month or more, students will look for housing further away from campus.

    Albert said that he is hoping in the near future that rents will begin to stabilize in the area, or even go down. Unfortunately, with Seattle’s rapid growth, rent prices have been increasing steadily over the past decade. According to population estimates released by the Census Bureau, Seattle had a growth rate of 2.8 percent in 2014, making it the fastest growing big city in the U.S. Plus, with large corporations such as Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft hiring tech employees with high enough salaries to live in the area, building contractors don’t have to worry about housing college students.

    Albert said that covering basic living needs could get in the way of a student finding affordable housing, since monthly rates are so high.

    “[If I’m a student] do I live close, and then I don’t have enough money, or do I live farther and then have a 30 minute commute?” Albert said.

    That particular issue has kept students from finding accommodating living spaces, since what they can afford is often too far from campus that they choose to live on campus for another year.

    Living on campus isn’t necessarily cheap either, with the average monthly rate for a double in the Campion, Bellarmine or Xavier residence halls costing $746 a month. However, that rate comes with all the advantages of living on campus. If a Seattle U student were to find similar housing rates in Seattle, they would most likely have to make a lengthy commute to school each day.

    However, with Seattle U having a two-year on campus living requirement, many sophomores find themselves not upgrading to the Murphy or Douglas apartments, but instead choose to remain in the dorms. According to Kathy Glesser, the resident director of Bellarmine Hall, there are roughly 150 sophomores living in Bellarmine.

    The housing department stresses the importance of living on campus and stresses that living on campus a second year benefits students’ academic performance. National data have consistently found that students who live on campus do better in school. But with Seattle U located in a heavily populated area, and with rent prices continually rising, the need for more on campus housing is something currently on the table.

    Chaucer may be reached at [email protected]

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