Higher Ed, Renting, Student Life

The Effects of Increasing Off-Campus Populations

With increasing student populations, particularly at state schools, it can be difficult finding housing for everyone.  This is why many students, especially upperclassmen, decide to make the move off-campus.  However, while the increase in population can have major effects on the universities, it can also have major implications for the cities and towns near these universities.

For many cities and towns, it can be difficult to find enough space for the students and long-term residents to live.  One example of this can be seen in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill near the University of North Carolina.  In an article by the Jenny Surane of the Daily Tar Heel, she explains 500 of the rental properties in the area are student-occupied, and students account for about half of the population.  However, in a historically low-income neighborhood with only limited space for residents, both student and long-term, the town is put into a difficult place:  Do they allow new developments into the area, or keep the area as it is?

Others problems with increasing off-campus populations are the noise and other disruptions generally accompanied with increases in student residents.  In an article by Jonathan Morris of the Minnesota Daily, he explains the St. Paul City Council’s decision to implement a new ordinance to limit off-campus housing as a result of overcrowding, excessive vehicular traffic, limited parking, and noise and nuisance complaints.  While St. Thomas University (the university primarily effected by the ordinance) has not chosen to contest the ordinance, it will have significant effects on both long-term and student residents as the ordinance may force students to move elsewhere.

Increases in off-campus populations can have a major effect on an area, not in just in traffic, but also in the resources that are available to both student and long-term residents.  It is important for universities to consider the ways in which they can assist their off-campus students to make informed decisions about where and how they live off-campus.  For while living off-campus may just seem easy for students, there is certainly more to it than meets the eye.


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