OPINION | Utah Tech housing is outrageously expensive

Utah Tech offers the lowest tuition among the four-year universities in the state. However, the yearly average housing costs climb every year due to the enrollment at Utah Tech growing rapidly. Mia Tom | Sun News Daily

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Though Utah Tech University’s tuition is the lowest in the state, the cost of living is amongst the highest, leaving students living in subpar conditions while being ridiculously overcharged.

Utah Tech is ranked in the top 50 in the United States for affordability, but the cost of living in St. George makes college students end up spending the same amount of money they would at another university whose tuition is greater.

The average cost of housing is 17% higher compared to the state average and 19% higher compared to the U.S. average. Even though Utah Tech has six on-campus housing options and is in the works of constructing a seventh one, students are still left with empty pockets after paying for fees, rent and food.

Even the dorms are a little pricy for what they are—shared rooms, a single kitchen for the entire floor to share that has one oven and one stove top, and a laundry room down the hall that has an average wash and dry cycle that takes up to two hours. Not to mention that you will be overpaying while sharing a room with a stranger.

One can enjoy the dorm life luxury by having non-existent privacy for a nine-month lease. Trying to secure housing in the dorms is a battle. By the two-week mark of applications being open, the dorms are full and students will be put on a waiting list of more than 200 people, hoping they can arrange other housing that won’t be their car for the semester.

Dorm life at any university is going to feel as though one is overspending. It’s not fun to share a room with strangers and not be able to cook in your home. Most of Utah’s universities are within the same range of prices. However, most of the students who aren’t able to secure housing in the dorms are forced to fend for themselves in the city.

Securing off-campus housing can be even more of a nightmare than the dorms. The off-campus properties are also full within a few weeks. Future tenants have to go through the process of getting in contact with multiple housing managers and filling out loads of paperwork.

Living off campus, students will still be greeted with rules that are similar to the dorms. No overnight guests, no visitors past 10:30 p.m., no alcohol allowed on site even if the owner is of age, no candles and mandatory quiet time hours.

In my experience, $750 a month for rent can get me a small bedroom, stained carpet that turns the bottom of your socks black, no window blinds, wiped boogers on walls, leaking toilets and a kitchen that has food crumbs from the previous tenants. Oh, did I mention that there may be on-site washing machines that also charge you per load?

My best advice is to try your best to find a good group of friends and search for townhome listings. Living in a townhome will be the best solution to money issues, even if the rent for a four-bedroom two-bathroom house is $2500. It will still be cheaper since four roommates will be splitting the costs. Also, most townhomes offer more privacy, backyards, and of course, a more homey environment compared to an apartment or dorm.

Spring semester is coming quickly, so make sure your leases are renewed and fees are paid. That being said, start researching and coming up with plans for your fall housing situation before it’s too late, so you won’t be forced to pack up your bags and go live with your parents.