UT will increase rent by an average of 41% for new residents and people joining the waitlist at three University-owned apartment complexes. The increase will not affect current residents or those who were on the waitlist before the increases were announced.
Justin Jaskowiak, director for apartments, occupancy and conferences for University Housing and Dining, said the rent increases at the Brackenridge, Colorado and Gateway complexes came after a University market analysis of similar properties from 2018. Jaskowiak said the University approved the initial increase in 2019 but waited to implement it because nearly 900 students were on the waitlist at the time.
“Even in doing that market analysis, our rates are still affordable and at up to 20% lower than comparable units, so that was still an important feature for us, to maintain affordability while also improving on the services and continuing to manage, maintain and make improvements,” Jaskowiak said.
The University complexes are all located west of Lamar Boulevard and near South MoPac Expressway. Rent for complexes offering one and two-bedroom units will range between just under $500 to $1,000, and rent for Brackenridge two and three-bedroom apartments will range between $1,000 and just below $1,500.
Each complex is available to graduate students or undergraduates who have completed 30 or more hours.
A Tenant Advisory Board, composed of six residents from all of the apartments, said in an email that some students will no longer find the housing to be affordable with the rent hike. The group said they were not made aware of changes in rates until after it was approved, but they helped ensure residents on the waitlist would not be affected.
Cynthia Lew, director of marketing and communications for UHD, said residents were not consulted before the rates were changed. Lew said UHD increases rent anywhere from 2% to 5% each year for inflation, but this was a one-time rate structure change.
Lew provided The Daily Texan access to the 2020 market analysis, which compared UT’s rent to the rent of one and two-bedroom units in six different properties in the same area built in the same era.
“This big change was a rate structure change,” Lew said. “It’s a one-time thing that we did, so we could bring rates closer to or below the market rate.”
Lew also said UHD does not receive any state or federal funding, but it relies solely on room and board fees or dining and catering operations.
Priyadarshan Patil, a resident at Gateway since 2018, said UHD has not always been transparent when it makes changes.
Last year, UHD changed their policies for two-bedroom apartments at Colorado and Gateway which caused residents living with their families to be forced to move to Brackenridge, according to previous reporting from The Daily Texan.
Engineering graduate student Patil said it would be nice if the University considered how much money graduate students were paid when deciding to increase the rent.
“As grad students, that’s going to be a steep price, especially because UT doesn’t allow non-UT students to live here,” Patil said. “It would be great if UT could … tie (rent) in some way to graduate student salaries so that this housing remains affordable.”
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to display the correct title for Justin Jaskowiak. The Daily Texan regrets this error.