Research on Student Housing in the United States

Our lives are returning to normal after two years of COVID limitations, distance learning, and closed campuses. It entails not only returning to college classrooms, but also to college campuses, for students. We at EduBirdie were curious in how many students are returning to their normal living arrangements, how they select housing, and what their primary criteria are.

Principal findings:

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78% of students cannot visit campuses and engage in offline studies at the same rate as before.

19 months is the average length of time a student rents and resides in a single apartment.

Location is the most crucial aspect of a place to reside for sixty percent of students.

27 percent of respondents reported security issues, 6 percent were victims of break-ins, and 30 percent would be willing to pay more rent for 24-hour protection.

With an average rent of $640 per month, the average student receives $384 per month from their parents or other family members.

37% of students told us they have difficulty paying their rent, and 45% believe this negatively impacts their mental health.

Overall, 77% of students rated their accommodation as a “4” or a “5” and 77% of students believe that their housing is worth the cost.

Students’ comments:

Due to the high pricing in my region, this is literally one of the few decent flats we were able to locate.


When searching for a rental, we paid close attention to the apartment’s building. This one is a keeper!


Since I do not wish to borrow from my parents, I am forced to remain in my too-small and too-expensive apartment.


My parents agreed to help me purchase an apartment if I work and save money as well. So here we are, living together while I save for my future residence.


The location is pleasant, however it takes forever to get things corrected.


It seems as though we reside in a distant galaxy far from any college. A crowded bus takes around an hour to reach the destination.


My roommates make it feel like a 24-hour party, despite the fact that I am pleased with my residence. It is laughable.


Where do they reside?



With COVID-19 imposing less restrictions than in the past, we sought to determine how it affected where students live, how many have returned to offline education, and how long it takes them to reach college.


In 2021/22, 78 percent of students reported that they are unable to visit schools and engage in offline studies at the same rate as in the past, while 29 percent are limited to online education only.


According to the data obtained, 55% of pupils live with their biological or step parents. We hypothesize that distance education caused students who were living separately to move back in with their families or first-year students to never leave their homes.


Only 28 percent of third- and fourth-year students reported living with their parents or relatives.


The remaining 22 percent of students reside on their own property, while 12 percent rent flats and only 5 percent reside in university housing. Students also noted the homes of friends and other relatives.


Due to campus lockdowns and closures, the data reveals a significant exodus from university housing. The potential of remote learning has provided students with new opportunities, notably in terms of housing.


The average commute time to college for students who still attend classes in-person is 28 minutes.




28 percent of pupils had no plans to relocate this school year. Moreover, 31% of those staying with parents or relatives until the end of the year intend to move out. 56% of students who plan to relocate do so to improve their access to offline education.


Students who intend to relocate often begin their search for new housing prior to November.




The majority of students (37 percent) reported having moved twice, and it appears that this is sufficient for the majority of people to find a place to stay and not wish to relocate. At the same time, nearly the same proportion of respondents (22 percent and 20 percent, respectively) indicated that they had moved once or never at all. In addition, 10% of the students moved their seats three times and 11% more than that.


Among the reasons for the change in lodging were:


Not suitable for location – 32%

Moving to a better location – 34%

Moving in with a significant other – 16%

Unsatisfactory living conditions – 9 percent

Problems with neighbors – 7 percent

There might be a 57 percent increase in the number of third- and fourth-year students who move to a better living situation. Students cited a rise in their income since the start of their education as one of the primary drivers.


19 months is the average length of time a student rents and resides in one apartment.


How do college students choose where to live?



According to the poll results, the location of a home is the most essential aspect for the majority of students (60 percent). Sixty-eight percent are seeking housing near their university or college, while thirty-six percent are seeking housing near their place of employment. 72 percent regard travel times of up to 40 minutes acceptable to reach their study place.


52 percent of students were affected by overall cost, while 45 percent cited value for money as an essential aspect. Facilities (32%), quality of accommodations (28%), and included utilities (28%) are nearly of similar importance to tenants. In contrast, reviews (8%) and brand familiarity (2%) are the least significant criteria. In addition, students told us that they consider the quality of the entire building, not just the apartment.


Before deciding on university housing, 32% of students stated they strive to get to know their neighbors, while 36% evaluate the number of potential employment opportunities nearby. 22 percent of respondents indicated that they rarely cook for themselves and require a solid food infrastructure if they move into university housing.




The vast majority of rented apartments have essentials such as water (82%), electricity (68%), gas (57%) and heating (53 percent ). Internet is included in 50% of the dwellings, while furnishings is only included in 33%.




Still, renters have some difficulties. Forty-five percent of respondents indicated they do not confront these issues. The first concern is security. 27% of student renters possess it. In addition, 20% of students deal with a shortage of water or heat, 18% with mice or pests, and 17% with insects. Students highlighted Internet and air conditioning problems as “other” issues.




The good news is that 35% of students do not have additional housing concerns. However, 36% of respondents are dealing with rowdy roommates, and 15% have noted food theft. 20 percent of respondents have disturbing building work, and 18 percent have inappropriate landlord visits. In addition, kids have told us that “it takes forever to get things mended” in their homes.


Safety is an additional concern for the students. 28 percent of respondents indicated that they do not feel entirely protected in their residence, and 6 percent were victims of break-ins.




As indicated previously, Internet access is available in fifty percent of student accommodations. A similar proportion of respondents (48%) would willing to pay more for faster WiFi. Although just 15% of students indicated that the quality of furnishings influenced their choice of housing, 38% would pay more for a larger bedroom and 32% would pay more for a better bed. The 24-hour security would be advantageous for 30% of individuals. Notable is the fact that 27% of students reported having security difficulties at their residences. Approximately one-fourth of respondents wished for more natural light, cleaning services, or a nicer view.


Over 23 percent of respondents indicated that they are willing to pay more for nearby parking spaces. 42 percent of car-owning students have trouble finding parking nearby. The average time for these kids to reach their vehicle is six minutes, but it can take as long as twenty.


What is the cost of accommodations?



The average cost of housing for students is $640 based on a calculation of all the housing costs they incur. While some students were able to secure a room for $300, rates can often reach $4,000. The most costly locations are in the states of New York and California.


43 percent of students who plan to move will be relocating to more costly housing, while 39 percent will be seeking for less expensive housing.


32 percent are concerned that the rent will increase this year, and 28 percent anticipate having greater difficulty paying the existing cost.


52 percent of respondents said their bills increased over the past year, and 45 percent believe their bills would continue to rise until the end of the year.


The average student power and water expenses are $84 and $71, respectively. The average monthly cost for Internet access is $57.


Among non-private housing options, university housing is typically the least expensive, while renting from a private landlord is typically the most expensive option.




The fact that 87 percent of student renters read their contracts before signing them is a positive development. 28 percent of these 87 percent requested modifications to the contract with the property owner.




For living expenses, fifty percent of respondents rely on income from paid work, twenty-seven percent on savings or loans, and seventeen percent on bursaries or grants.


40% receive financial support from their parents or guardians, 15% from their partners, and 7% from other relatives. A typical student receives $384 a month from their parents or other family members.


In addition, students noted government support and rent subsidies.




More than sixty percent do not have difficulty paying rent, which corresponds to the number of students who claim they do not need to borrow money for rent expenses.




38% of students do not feel financially secure and able to support themselves without assistance.




And if they need to borrow, 83 percent of students turn to their families. 26 percent rely on credit cards, while 13 percent utilize overdrafts or payday loans. 22 percent of respondents borrow from universities, while 4 percent borrow from friends or employers. In addition to other alternatives, students mentioned government aid.


Even if there is no need to borrow, however, many students must nevertheless make sacrifices to fund their living expenses.




47 percent of students save money on takeout and dining out the most. Three additional common categories are shopping (42%), travel (37%) and socializing (30 percent ). In addition, 27% cut back on presents and holidays, and 22% on groceries. 15 percent fewer students chose electronics and health, and the least popular category was learning materials (8 percent ).


Only 15% of students do not require any savings to cover their rent and costs.




Almost half of students, or 45 percent, believe that paying rent affects their mental health. Thirty-two percent of renters experience anxiety on occasion, based on a variety of circumstances such as college performance, increased expenses, and so forth. In this circumstance, many feel the need to seek assistance.




59 percent of students seek assistance from peers, while 52 percent turn to family. 15 percent of responders are affiliated with universities and legal professionals. 11 percent seek assistance online, whereas 8 percent do not require assistance with this issue. In addition to other possibilities, students highlighted rural homes.


Percentage of pleased individuals



No student selected the alternatives “0” or “1” when asked to rate their accommodations on a scale of 0 to 5. 75% of respondents scored their dwellings as “4” or “5”, while 25% selected options “2” and “3”. These numbers connect with how students perceive the value of their housing.




Overall, 77 percent of students responded that their schools are worth the cost, while 23 percent responded negatively.



The information was gathered in May 2022. We administered a cross-sectional online survey to 1,250 college students across the United States. The weighed sample is composed of 59.6% females and 40.4% males.

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