‘Upscale’ complexes paradox to college life

High-priced loft-style apartments near campus are unrealistic for college students.

By the middle of the summer most returning University students have made housing arrangements for the coming school year. Some students choose to stay within the University housing system, but many choose off-campus rental units in neighborhoods surrounding the University. Off-campus living can be cheaper and can provide more personal space than living in the dorms, but many properties are promising students a luxurious lifestyle at an extreme cost. This growing trend seems problematic to the student experience and sets up students for unrealistic expectations about their current and future standards of living.

The Northstar at Siebert Field is the newest of these higher-end apartment complexes marketed toward University students. The building’s Web site boasts loft-style units, flat-screen TVs in bathrooms, European-style cabinetry and exercise facilities.

Two years ago, 1301 University opened completely filled with student renters. The complex’s Web site lures students with “sexy spa-like bathrooms,” tanning, designer interiors and track lighting.

Many students convince themselves, or their parents, that the “security” of these complexes is worth their prices. However, rental houses or apartment units can be just as safe. They are located in the same neighborhoods as other rental units.

It is easy to be attracted to these units. However, paying near $700 a month or more for a private bedroom is a paradox to the college experience. With the average graduate leaving the University with a $23,000 debt, it seems students should be looking for ways to reduce their spending on housing and personal costs.

It is unrealistic for students to live an “upscale” or luxurious lifestyle while in college. If a student can afford to pay more than $700 a month toward rent, they should be looking at real-estate options to purchase a condo or house. At least they would be putting their money toward something real.