Survey: 35% of Students Can’t Afford College Town Rents

College campus

© Barry Winiker - The Image Bank/Getty Images

More than one-third of over 500 college students surveyed say they cannot afford to rent an apartment in their college town, and many of them have not finalized their living plans for the school year, according to a new survey from®.

They’re blaming the hot housing market for pricing them out.

The shortage of affordable housing inventory in the U.S. has pushed prices to record highs and forced more prospective home buyers into the rental market in June. The U.S. median rent price reached a record high of $1,575—an 8.1% jump compared to a year earlier, said George Ratiu, an economist for®.

Further, “many university towns have become attractive destinations for retirees and remote workers, further adding pressure on local real estate markets,” Ratiu said. “With the uncertainty brought about by COVID compounding the rising prices and lower inventory, students are facing a more challenging housing market in their college towns than ever before.”

Nearly 40% of college students surveyed by® said they looked at six or more listings in person. Nearly a quarter of respondents said the places they looked at rented quickly because of the competition.

Thirty percent of respondents said they delayed confirming their fall housing plans because they were unsure about their school holding in-person classes amid the pandemic. But those delays have increased the challenge for those students to secure on-campus housing.® touts its new school search filter that allows users to search listings around schools, including universities, to find rentals and for-sale properties near campus.

College students said they’ve been trying to find ways to save money by adjusting their living situation and costs. Fifty-one percent of students said they adjusted their living situation in order to save money. Twenty-one percent of students said they moved home, 13% took on more roommates, and 10% chose to live in lower-quality accommodations to save money, the survey shows. Also, some college student respondents are turning to their parents for help: 19% of respondents said their parents are helping them pay rent this year when they didn’t need their help last year.