Coop Housing
Affordable Student Housing the Cooperative Way

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Affordable Student Housing the Cooperative Way

By Brian Murphy

Many students attending college away from home often find it difficult to find affordable housing that is on or near campus. The availability of housing, especially for incoming freshmen, is often in short supply and sometimes not available at all. Overcrowding in dormitories and other university housing facilities is quite common. An alternative to conventional and university housing is membership in a student co-op. The benefits of membership in a student co-op are many and varied, but all are positive reasons to be considered by anyone looking for on-campus housing.

Affordability is generally the number one factor that most people consider when looking for a place to live. Co-ops are much less expensive because the cost is divided by a large number of people ranging from as little as twelve to as many as ninety depending on the size of the co-op. Co-ops are generally large single family homes that have been converted to accommodate more people. Sometimes they are also converted apartment buildings or other facilities that were built to house a large number of people. The amount of space available is generally quite large in order to accommodate everyone without feeling crowded. Co-ops have the same living spaces that most houses and apartments have such as a living room, dining room, kitchen, multiple bathrooms and other such common areas as well as a study room, recreation room, and a laundry room. These rooms include amenities such as a TV, VCR, pool table, ping-pong table, computers, and a house telephone.

Expenses incurred by each house are shared by all of the members of that house. Food, utilities, and maintenance are the primary expenses that are incurred. Each house sets up a budget allotting a set amount for each of these items and member's monthly charges are based on an equal division of the overall budget. Other expenses such as mortgage payments, home owners insurance, property taxes and other overall expenses are shared by all members of all of the co-ops which are joined together under the Inter-Cooperative Council. The ICC is the governing entity of all of the co-ops in Ann Arbor. The monthly cost of living in the co-ops ranges from $362.00 to $520.00 based on which house you live in and whether or not you have a single or double occupancy room.

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