Indiana Daily Student

Off campus blues

As an IU student, I spent one year in the dorms and, like many others before me, decided one was enough.

I moved off campus for my sophomore year and entered a market completely rigged against me.

Any IU student living off campus can agree the living conditions in which we find ourselves are very rarely ideal. Our options are either very poor and close to campus or passable and very far.

Most rental houses surrounding campus are old, falling apart and cut up into multiple misshapen ?apartments.

Renovations are rare, as most would require taking the house off the market for a year, so many students live with failing pipes and inadequate insulation.

We suffer through frozen pipes in the winter and basement crickets in the summer, only to get stiffed on the deposit. No one can help the abundance of old houses in the surrounding neighborhoods. The real problem with the real estate market in this town is the prices for students.

While personally hunting for off-campus housing I found that places within a mile of campus ran for about $600 a month, accomodating three to four roommates, apiece. That’s about as much as the average one-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis.

It seems that those who live out by the stadium have much more affordable housing but much less access to Bloomington’s many amenities. They are far from campus, far from the bars and restaurants and still not exactly living in mansions.

Rates of apartments and houses closest to campus seem to become less affordable each year.

Students need a place to live, so they are forced to pay rent far past what their living situations are worth just to have a roof over their heads. We take on this expense plus the mountain of debt that college itself heaps upon us.

Many students find themselves in these positions because, in spite of the unfair rates, living off campus is actually cheaper.

The cheapest dorm room, according to Residential Programs and Services, is $3,043 for the nine months that a student will live there, plus the required meal plan. The standard is another $3,200, which for many students won’t even last the full period. Even the economy packages of on-campus living are not economical for most students, which forces them to move off campus into a jungle of overpriced ruins and apathetic landlords.

This town is taking advantage of students at their most financially unstable. We are forced to put up with it because we have nowhere else to go. This does not necessarily just affect students. With rates this high year-round, this affects Bloomington residents as well, people with kids and bills who need to have access to affordable, well-maintained housing.

Bloomington needs to get a handle on rent control before our apartments cost more than our degrees.

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