LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – In two weeks, Utah State University will welcome students back to campus for the fall semester. However, on-campus housing is full, and many students are scrambling to find a place to stay. And there are many reasons it’s been hard.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Cole Lancaster stated.
“We’ll figure it out,” Ellie Roberts said, wearily.
Cole Lancaster and Ellie Roberts are both seniors at Utah State University. Both still need to find an apartment or room for the upcoming semester.
“About 60 places,” Lancaster told ABC4 when asked how many places he’s reached out to in hopes of renting. When asked the same question, Roberts responded, “Fifty, and nobody’s getting back to me.”
“I’ve only been in logan for a year and the housing market has tremendously increased, or inflated, which is insane,” Lancaster sighed. He has a monthly rent budget of about $500. He said finding a place that for that amount, let alone one that is decent, feels impossible.
“My best friend is paying close to $600 to live with six other girls,” Roberts stated. Roberts told ABC4 that her rent budget was closer to $500 the first semester she rented. She works at a coffee shop while going to school and said she is open to paying as much as $1,000 a month but emphasized that amount would be nearly her entire paycheck.
Finding affordable housing is just part of the struggle.
A USU spokesperson confirmed to ABC4 that 800 Block (a new apartment complex right across the street from campus) recently postponed its opening date. The spokesperson said of the renters scheduled to move in at the end of August, 220 were USU students. This is the second year in a row that the incomplete apartment complex has done this to tenants.
“And I know that the school feels awful about it, and they feel bad for the students,” Roberts stated. “They’ve put a list on the housing portal, a list of complexes available.”
Utah State University is working through its waitlist for on-campus housing. It has posted links online to help students find off-campus housing. The spokesperson told ABC4 this is not an endorsement of any of those places listed online. However, the school has checked in with each listed rental property to make sure the openings are accurate. Students who were scheduled to live on campus now can sell their leases if needed. This will open additional room for those who are racing to find a place to live.
Along with 800 Block postponing its move-in date, the university told ABC4 there are other factors within the Logan housing market that make it difficult for students. Enrollment has remained steady for the last few years, but during the same time, it seems as though it has become harder for students to find housing each year. According to the university, many complexes (off campus) that used to be a hot spot for students to live in have been redeveloped into single-family homes.
For Lancaster and Roberts, this means an already competitive housing market for single individuals is now even more competitive. They both told ABC4 that there is an additional factor that makes it hard for them to find a place to rent.
“On Facebook, you can find housing groups that are called high moral living areas,” Lancaster told ABC4. He then explained that is a nice way of saying “Mormon.”
“Once I say, ‘Hey, I will follow the standards. I’m not LDS personally.’ They’ll say, ‘No,’ or they won’t choose me as their roommate.”
Both are hoping to get into a rental before classes begin on August 29.
In the worst-case scenario, Lancaster said he will go to school online while living at home in Idaho. This, he said, would most likely push back his graduation date.
Roberts is originally from Oklahoma. She has an aunt who lives in Taylorsville. In her wors-case scenario, she’ll move in with her aunt and commute nearly three hours each way to attend class.