Housing prices cause students to consider alternatives
Graphic courtesy of Peter Soucy / The Hofstra Chronicle
The cost of on-campus housing increases annually at Hofstra, and some students cite this as a contributing factor as to why they opt to live off campus. On average, housing prices increase between three and four percent according to the Office of Residence Life. Some complexes and rooms experienced higher increases for the 2018-2019 academic year than anticipated.
Jon Butterworth, a senior math and education major, moved off campus a year ago in response to the increased costs of living at Hofstra.
“[The cost] was definitely a factor, because living in this house, even though it’s still expensive, it’s cheaper in the long run than paying to live on campus,” Butterworth said. He lives off campus in Uniondale, about two blocks away from Hofstra, with five other people and pays $800 per month.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, the average increase in housing prices was $506, which is well over a four percent increase of $440. The price of a tower quad for the academic year grew $2,240 – about 26 percent – from $8,640 last year to $10,880 this year. The University attributed this spike in pricing to a reevaluation of the quads, determining that they “were undervalued for years and [this] brought them to a comparable rate.”
Victoria Conway, a senior journalism major, lives off campus in Uniondale, less than two miles from the University. “I wanted to have some more freedom and have more space,” Conway said. “It’s actually cheaper than living on campus. That was a big factor. I’m saving almost $8,000 living off campus, and I just have more space.” Conway currently pays $800 a month for her room.
After talking with multiple students who, like Conway, live off campus, typical rent is about $800 per month for 12 months, or $9,600. Students reported that their utilities for one month are about $50. Additionally, a renter may be asked to pay one month’s rent as a security deposit. With these numbers taken into consideration, the average cost for an individual to live off campus in a single room are estimated to be about $11,000 for a full year (12 months).
In comparison, living on campus in a tower single costs students $13,740 for an academic year (nine months). Many students, however, choose the cheaper option of sharing a room in a tower double for $10,880. It should be noted that these prices include the $120 Residence Life Fee, but do not reflect a meal plan. The University requires on-campus residents to purchase one of at least $963 per semester, or $1,926 per year.
Christian Santos, a senior English major, lives on campus in Constitution Hall in a single. “It’s not like [the housing is] any less than any other college. That being said, I don’t think it’s particularly affordable. But I don’t really think it’s that bad compared to other colleges of similar price,” Santos said.
When compared to nearby private universities with similar tuition, Adelphi University and Hofstra remain relatively equal. At Adelphi, a single room costs $13,120 per academic year and a double is valued at $11,550, according to the University’s website. At Hofstra, a single room is $13,740, and the double rate is $10,880.
A tower single increased from $13,180 to $13,740 – $560 at a four percent increase. At just over six percent, the rate for a tower double increased $660 from $10,220 to $10,880. Inversely, the rates for a suite single and suite triple both decreased for this year.
The Office of Residence Life said in a statement, “Price increases reflect rising operating and maintenance costs, for example the cost of heating and cooling, as well as costs associated with regularly replacing furniture and appliances. Other factors affecting price increase for residence spaces are public safety, custodial and plant maintenance costs.”
A number of students have determined that living off campus is more cost-effective for them and are willing to give up some of the benefits that on-campus living offers – like Wi-Fi, 24-hour security and easy-access to campus facilities.
This was the case for Santos, who said, “For me, the way that my money works, it’s just more affordable for me to be on campus.”