What is your picture what kind of college lifestyle is supposed to be, especially college housing? For the past several decades, students squatted in bunk beds, mostly with two to four people in a tiny room, and enjoyed eating ramen or beans and rice as they studied (or even partied) their way through college.
But many student housing units these days seem to mirror – or even exceed – what most American children experience at home.
The New York Times wrote of some of the ways that student luxury housing is overshadowing study in certain off-campus residential complexes in many university cities. The Times stressed the fact that in the face of fierce competition, developers are looking for ways to make their student housing units stand out.
“That led to the construction of complexes with tanning salons; Spas offering manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages; 24-hour training rooms with virtual trainers; and outdoor pools with bars and cabanas. There are washers and dryers that send text messages after a cycle is complete, and exercise machines that users can use to check their email. ” Times written down.
Luxury college housing units on the rise
Where are all of these fancy off-campus housing units?
One of these opened in 2013 in Austin, Texas – the city my daughter is leaving this week to begin her academic year. A private Austin developer called American Campus Communities, who owns or manages nearly 200 properties, built the new 17-story complex called Callaway House.
As I explained in College secretsTo make the facility stand out, the developer has teamed up with a network service provider to equip this student housing complex with Internet speeds of up to one gigabit per inhabitant.
A gigabit is roughly 100 times faster than the average home cable modem connection. This lightning-fast, single-gigabit Internet service is believed to be the first of its kind in a dormitory in the United States.
As a chronicle of higher education The Callaway House also offers an array of other amenities, including a rooftop fitness center, swimming pool, and full-service restaurant. The building has 661 beds in regular suites and 92 beds in penthouse units on the top two floors where students are promised “enhanced interiors”, “stunning views” and “the privacy and lifestyle you deserve”.
Despite all of these convenient amenities, some educators say that there is something distinctly lacking in many upscale off-campus student dormitories: the type of living environment typically found on a college or university campus, including work areas and study spaces – not to mention libraries, halls and auditorium-style meeting places for lectures or lively academic discussions.
In other words, there is often not much intellectual stimulation in a luxury off-campus residential complex.
And with colleges and universities Some parents are increasingly cracking down on underage drinking, believing that certain students only want to live off campus in order to have the freedom to consume alcohol.
Needless to say, my daughter won’t be staying in high-end off-campus excavations. Fortunately, she was accepted into the University of Texas Business Honors program at Austin and will be staying in one of the university’s Honors dormitories.
And yes, she will have a roommate too. You don’t have to (in my opinion) spend unnecessary money on the extra cost of living on your own.
Plush dorms in some locations too
On campus, however, the race also takes place at many colleges and universities that want to build classy dormitories.
These student dormitories may not have the over-the-top amenities that off-campus providers offer – like rooftop pools, on-site restaurants or bars, and apartments with flat-screen TVs and granite countertops. But schools are arming dramatically to capture what they think students and parents want and demand.
Many schools believe it is in their best interest to be one step ahead in the luxury dorm race. Without first class housing or at least very livable modern housing units, schools believe that students will be shut down.
I cannot say that I disagree with this in mind, based on personal experience, talking to students and researching this topic. However, I believe that it is a mistake for students to try to improve their lifestyle when they venture into college. In my opinion, fancy luxuries and upscale amenities should come much later – like in after a college graduate and got a job.
Even so, my teenage daughter was quick to point out subpar dorms on the numerous campus tours we took. It also lit up like a blast when it saw high-end dormitories like the luxurious facilities on Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus.
Fordham opened the doors brand new apartments / dorms on penthouse level in autumn 2014. The dormitories are located in a modern, environmentally friendly residential tower that accommodates 400 students. The new building offers modern bedroom suites, shared living rooms, study, a cinema, a dining room and of course a breathtaking view of New York City. These fabulous digs, as you might guess, come at a high price too.
Double or triple room rates at Lincoln Center’s New Residence Hall, which houses freshmen only, have been set at $ 11,545 for the 2014-2015 academic year. Freshman meal plans ranged from $ 5,350 to $ 6,250 per school year, bringing the total cost of room and board to $ 17,795.
Housing in Fordham’s older Lincoln Center condominium called McMahon Hall, for sophomores, juniors, seniors, lawyers, and graduate students only, has fully furnished two- and three-bedroom apartments with living rooms.
Room rates for the 2014-2015 period alone were $ 14,630 for a double room and $ 17,095 for a single room, making Fordham one of the most expensive residential campuses in America.
Interviewed student preferences
Fordham and other colleges across the country are undoubtedly aware of research into dormitory and student preferences.
A study published by the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers got right to the point. It was found that “poorly maintained or inadequate housing facilities” were the main reason why students refused to enroll in facilities.
With that kind of information back – no, do that foregroundI expect modernized dorms to become more of a trend in the years to come. This is almost certainly the case at America’s leading colleges and universities, where housing fees continue to rise.
For these reasons, families should rethink and demand that colleges have “better lifestyles” like “fancier meals, food courts, and recreational facilities like climbing walls,” says economist and college expert Lucie Lapovsky.
She’s right, especially when students and parents want to help keep college costs from rising.
Think of it this way: It was perfectly fine for Beyoncé to sing “Let me upgrade you”. (I love that song!) But for millions of college students in the US, stop wasting thousands of dollars trying to improve your lifestyle! Instead, it’s time to face the music and sing Another Melody – more like Aloe Blacc’s “I need a dollar”.
After all, college is the time in your life when you are probably already broke.
You don’t have to make a difficult situation even more difficult by spending excessive amounts on housing that you cannot afford.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox is a personal financial expert and co-founder of the free financial advisory site AskTheMoneyCoach.com. Follow Lynnette on Twitter @themoneycoach and Google Plus.