Housing Option Issues

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

Are on and off-campus housing options exploitative?

Every year, the Institute admits more and more first-years into a school that is not physically growing. Further, Tech is taking increasing amounts of upperclassmen housing and reallocating it to freshmen. In our housing edition of the newspaper, we at the Technique wish to discuss various issues surrounding student housing, both on and off-campus.  

The most notable issue plaguing both on and off-campus housing, albeit in different regards, is safety. Both types of housing are broken into and see cars
being broken into as well .

With off-campus housing, even minutes from campus, crime is outside of the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD)’s jurisdiction, forcing students to contact the Atlanta Police Department (APD), who will put petty thefts and harassment on the bottom of their priority list. 

While these safety hazards are the norm of living outside of the safer campus bubble, it is the Institute that is forcing students to exit on-campus housing and seek other options through issues with the housing application process and incredibly long waitlists. Thus, how is it fair that students facing lapses in safety are placed in a limbo between GTPD and APD, resulting in mediocre safety?

One solution to this is expanding campus transportation systems to popular off-campus housing locations. While the Gold Bus and CULC/Tech Square Bus both go near those apartments, none venture down Spring Street itself, which houses most off-campus apartments on East Campus and most of its dangers. Similarly, the bus system could extend further into Home Park and allow students access further down State Street or Curran Street, and not just the Atlantic Station area, where fewer undergraduate students live. 

Rent prices are also on the rise, disproportionate to inflation and exploitative of students. Rents are hundreds of dollars higher in our student housing than in nearby non-student housing. Hidden fees, predatory price-gouging, no way to get out of leases and sublease/subletting fees only further to this issue. Tech must partner with these apartments to subsidize housing prices, but that would cost money, which the Institute is unlikely to give.

On-campus housing purports some major issues as well. East Campus Housing Office (ECHO) is slow to respond to terrible safety hazards, such as mold and other infestations. Issues like this must be resolved immediately, but are often put off until pressure is put on the office by parents or other figures. Additionally, residents are hardly ever notified for maintenance work, such as changing locks, and are sometimes accosted by a forced entry by maintenance staff. 

There are some positives to both types of housing, however. Living in off-campus housing serves as a good transition into adulthood. Students have bills and rent to pay, but are also not accountable for that of their roommates. On-campus housing allows for accountability within roommates, with roommate agreements and mediators as a fallback. 

Generally speaking, Tech is admitting more freshmen than can be accommodated without sacrificing upperclassmen. While the main motive for this is multifaceted, doing so while exploiting students is unconscionable. However, in order to accommodate students, there is a need for more space on campus. We are remiss to encourage expansion, because in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, expansion is equivalent to gentrification. One solution to gentrification could be divesting money into the same communities impacted by gentrification. Alternatively, Tech could make the admissions process more equitable, and rather than increase the number of minorities through mass admissions, increase the percentage of often overlooked students.

Moving forward, students ought to keep these issues in mind when picking their housing. However, they can only do so much. The responsibility lies with both the Institute and off-campus housing management to stop taking advantage of Tech’s students and to provide them with a safe, reliable place to live.


The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.