With The Summit at University City, Drexel University has once again failed to provide affordable student housing. In other news, water is wet, the pope is Catholic and bears poop in woods.
When Chestnut Square was announced, we were angered at the University for taking away the little patch of grass at 33rd and Chestnut streets. And if you’re an avid visitor to MacAlister Hall, you’re still angry at the giant slab of concrete blocking your view of more concrete buildings. But hey, we were getting more student housing options that weren’t dorms! It was exciting, until we saw the price tag, which is why most of us are still living in decrepit rowhouses in Mantua.
This cycle has repeated itself again with The Summit, previously called Lancaster Square.
A shared bedroom (two people per room) unit goes for $874 per person per month. A unit with a private bedroom will run you over a grand a month. And for those of us who feel the need for conspicuous consumerism, there are a few one-bedroom luxury units going for $1639 a month.
We already attend one of the most expensive universities in the country, and recently Drexel was labeled one of the costliest universities at which to live. Chestnut Square and The Summit are certainly helping us claim that title.
Being at a quarterly university we already need to be on campus longer than the average student. The University should recognize this and try to offer more reasonably priced housing. It’s because of the high prices that so many students have opted to live “off campus” in the Powelton Village and Mantua areas, to the ire of their respective neighborhood associations and to the detriment of owner-occupants.
It is due to the influx of students moving to these areas that Drexel has mandated students live on campus their freshman and sophomore years, forcing many to hand over thousands of dollars to share a room with someone they or may not get along with.
While the University’s much-needed housing projects improve the look and feel of the campus, and bring it into a more modern era, Drexel’s solution of simply knocking down their old, disposable buildings and replacing them hasn’t shown to be very cost-effective or beneficial to current students.
If Drexel wishes to increase enrollment and to encourage more students to live on-campus, charging New York City rents in West Philadelphia isn’t helping their case. We might as well be trying to rent penthouses downtown — Trulia.com lists several one-bedrooms in Rittenhouse Square for less than the $1,639 asking price for The Summit, and that’s with utilities included!
Of course we can’t blame all of this on Drexel, as American Campus Communities is largely responsible for the price tag. If you visit its website, one of the things that ACC makes very clear is that the company strives to provide “high-quality student housing communities.” We’re not asking for luxury housing ,Drexel. We just want a place to live that doesn’t burn thousands a month in rent.
Drexel should instead focus on making housing for students something that is handled by itself or more affordable property owners rather than outsourcing housing to a market-driven student housing conglomerate.