By Bella Liffick
There are many options related to where you can live as a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. You can choose to live on campus, off campus, or even to commute from home. Here at Where the Buffs Roam, we were curious if the stigmas that are attached to where you chose to live were the biggest deciding factors or if there were other aspects that students put into consideration when looking where to live on and around campus?
Typically, when people think about living on campus, they think freshman. This is due to that fact that being in the dorms is a requirement for incoming freshmen. Thanks to this requirement, students often say it’s “easier to make friends” and “find your community” because of close quarters and culture of the resident halls. Some new buffs can’t even consider this style of living an option because it’s additional $7,209 price tag, that isn’t covered by financial aid or the vast majority of scholarships. Minorities are among the students who are denied access to this amenity because of the financial weight it carries, but even when living on campus is an option, it can still be difficult to find your community because inclusivity Residential Academic Programs (RAPs) are being removed . “...multicultural leadership scholars from 2000 to 2017 was actually a residential academic program so students could live together in a leadership RAP that was called the ethnic living and learning community but the curriculum that was taught was a leadership perspective but that program was abruptly closed at the end of last year and now we don’t have any residence halls where we can house this” Krishna Participa, the director of diversity and recruitment at the University said during a press meeting.
According to The University’s Housing and Dining Services, there were 8,692 students who lived in the halls in the 2017-2018 school year; but according to the school’s fall census from the same year, 33,246 students were enrolled. Which creates the question, where did the other 24,554 people live?
The two main alternatives to living on campus is to live with roommates near the University or to live with their parents and make the drive to campus for class.
Boulder was ranked the happiest city to live in by National Geographic in 2017, but living in the happiest city in the country certainly has its price. The average cost to live in a 820 square foot home in Boulder is $1,850 a month. So let’s assume a full time student also works a full time job (40 hours a week) at the Boulder County minimum wage of $10.20. Said students would only make $1,224 which wouldn’t be close to cover the cost of one month’s rent let alone food, utilities, tuition, and textbooks. Because of the financial responsibilities students in Boulder often have no choice but to live with multiple roommates once they move off campus.
In addition to the homes near campus being incredibly expensive, they are often managed by companies that students on the social media site, Reddit, call “...awful and difficult to deal with…” Boulder Property Management and FourStar realtors have nearly secured a monopoly on one of the most popular places for students to live; the Hill. When we spoke to Janele Williams from Fathom Realty, she informed us that “most people don’t rent to students.” Creating very few options for who students can go through to find their new home, making them to rent from these agencies time and time again.
The other alternative to living on campus is to commute. For many students , this can be a smart financial move since they’re parents typically don’t make them pay rent. But, this style of living doesn’t come without a price. Among the small amount of stigmas that do exist, commuting is one of the most stigmatized. According to Senior Aabriti Shrestha, “People usually think I’m a deadbeat because I still live with my parents at 20. But I pay for everything I need, I even pay for my own groceries.”
While certain stigmas do exist around where students live while they attend CU, they aren’t as large of a factor as one might think. Just like many places across Colorado, the cost of living in Boulder continues to go up. Because of this, students base many of their living arrangements on what is reasonable financially. For students, it is important to keep in mind that there are many resources available to students regarding having a place to live whether it be on or off campus.