Changes won’t aid housing battle

University of Minnesota leaders are planning to renovate on-campus housing in order to expand its availability and compete with off-campus housing options, the Minnesota Daily reported last week. 
 
Among the upcoming projects are a renovation of Pioneer Hall and an improvement of the Superblock’s dining facilities. 
 
Additionally, by this fall, the University plans to have two pilot programs that will reach out to private operators who manage off-campus apartments. These programs may install community advisors in certain off-campus apartment complexes. 
 
While we are excited by the modernization of Pioneer Hall and the Superblock, the residential reform plans do not seem to address housing costs. Many students renounce on-campus housing because it is substantially more expensive than off-campus options. 
 
For example, in the 2015-16 academic year, students who live in the cheapest on-campus housing and purchase the cheapest required dining plan will pay a total of $3,681 per semester, or approximately $920.25 per month. Many off-campus houses and apartments are far cheaper, even when taking food costs into account — especially when one lives with roommates. 
 
Moreover, we doubt the appeal of a University partnership with off-campus apartments. Many students find off-campus housing options to be attractive precisely because they offer freedom from University control. Students living in off-campus housing managed by the University would enjoy neither the convenience of living on campus nor the freedom of living off campus. 
 
Ultimately, while we are glad the University is addressing an important issue, we feel that the changes leave some of the most pressing challenges unresolved.