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Old 06-21-2016, 08:07 AM
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Give colleges eminent domain


Many colleges are having housing shortages and are forced to convert common areas into living space for students, or have them live in hotels. We should give them the right of eminent domain, to make it easier for them to take over existing buildings. If a college is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for students. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the student live in a student lounge is a major bait and switch. There are usually many privately owned apartment buildings near campuses, and I think colleges should be able to take them over if necessary.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:22 AM
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State run colleges and universities are agencies of the state, which already has eminent domain. The college itself doesn't need this level of authority. It's like giving a meter maid the authority to do undercover investigations.
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:26 AM
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While we're at it, we could grant schools the status of "Free Imperial Cities", allowing them the right of coinage, taxation, and raising armies. We could reestablish the Aulic Council and forego university sporting teams with all of their perfidy with armed service, engaging in periodic internecine warfare in order to ensure that only the strongest survive to graduation, giving them the choice of sorority princesses as their reward. "Come back with your shield, or on it," shall be the mantra, returning us to an earlier, more enlightened state of feudualism and chivalry, ensuring that future business and political leaders have an intimate understanding of the effects of balkanization and why you should never conduct a field campaign in Asia in the winter.

Caltech, of course, will slaughter the lot of them with bioengineered toxins and neutron-enhanced microfusion devices. "Destroy, erase, improve."

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Old 06-21-2016, 08:42 AM
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Do you feel the same if they want to take one of your buildings?

Or only when it's someone else's?
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Old 06-21-2016, 08:57 AM
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It's like giving a meter maid the authority to do undercover investigations.
I smell a sitcom !
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:20 AM
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Many colleges are having housing shortages and are forced to convert common areas into living space for students, or have them live in hotels. We should give them the right of eminent domain, to make it easier for them to take over existing buildings. If a college is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for students. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the student live in a student lounge is a major bait and switch. There are usually many privately owned apartment buildings near campuses, and I think colleges should be able to take them over if necessary.
Public, private or both?
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:21 AM
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Many universities are IMO outright extorting housing money from their students. I have kids in my car all the time talking about their housing costs. $800/month for each of 4 kids in a dorm "suite" is very common. These kids could get a mortgage and buy a house for that kind of money, but they're stuck because the University rules insist on dorm housing until at least their 3rd year.

Fuck giving schools MORE power over student housing.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by boffking View Post
Many colleges are having housing shortages and are forced to convert common areas into living space for students, or have them live in hotels. We should give them the right of eminent domain, to make it easier for them to take over existing buildings. If a college is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for students. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the student live in a student lounge is a major bait and switch. There are usually many privately owned apartment buildings near campuses, and I think colleges should be able to take them over if necessary.
... said the college student?
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:35 AM
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Many universities are IMO outright extorting housing money from their students. I have kids in my car all the time talking about their housing costs. $800/month for each of 4 kids in a dorm "suite" is very common. These kids could get a mortgage and buy a house for that kind of money, but they're stuck because the University rules insist on dorm housing until at least their 3rd year.

Fuck giving schools MORE power over student housing.
The housing rules, options, and costs are easily ascertainable before applying to a college, and before enrolling. I agree many rules suck, students are not forced to go to any particular school.

My college had a problem with declining enrollment and had a surplus of dorm rooms. We were required to live in the dorms for the first two years, although you could petition to live off campus (I don't recall the criteria).
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:36 AM
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There are usually many privately owned apartment buildings near campuses, and I think colleges should be able to take them over if necessary.
Yeah, screw those pesky private property owners.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:39 AM
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Many colleges are having housing shortages and are forced to convert common areas into living space for students, or have them live in hotels. We should give them the right of eminent domain, to make it easier for them to take over existing buildings. If a college is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for students. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the student live in a student lounge is a major bait and switch. There are usually many privately owned apartment buildings near campuses, and I think colleges should be able to take them over if necessary.
Whoa, whoa, hold on. What logic is this? "They promised it, and they can't deliver it, so they ought to be able to seize other people's stuff in order to deliver on their promises?"

Imagine if we weren't talking colleges, but rival apartment complexes.

What if someone said, "If Commercial Apartment Complex A is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for tenants. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the tenant live in a lounge is a major bait and switch. Commercial Apartment Complex B has some vacant buildings that haven't been rented out yet, and I think Commercial Apartment Complex A should be allowed to seize them."
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:48 AM
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Whoa, whoa, hold on. What logic is this? "They promised it, and they can't deliver it, so they ought to be able to seize other people's stuff in order to deliver on their promises?"

Imagine if we weren't talking colleges, but rival apartment complexes.

What if someone said, "If Commercial Apartment Complex A is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for tenants. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the tenant live in a lounge is a major bait and switch. Commercial Apartment Complex B has some vacant buildings that haven't been rented out yet, and I think Commercial Apartment Complex A should be allowed to seize them."
Thanks for pointing that out. There is a major disconnect between the OP's problem and his solution. If they don't have room for everyone, they should simply stop taking deposits when they reach their limit.
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:06 AM
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1. Start private college in downtown Manhattan.
2. Seize surrounding properties and build chap-ass dorms.
3. Wait a few years and sell prime real estate for PROFIT!!
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:13 AM
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If you want to see a local politician go running for the hills (for his own safety and sanity), mention the words "eminent domain"!

(Hint: They DON'T like to do this.)
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:53 AM
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Around here, government must compensate the land owner the fair market value of the property. BPA can certainly take my property against my will, but they will have to pay me what the property is worth.

For a typical "college town", expanding the public college is generally a good thing ... people around here tend to be more than willing to sell to the college, occasionally at a discount.
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:57 AM
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If you want to see a local politician go running for the hills (for his own safety and sanity), mention the words "eminent domain"!

(Hint: They DON'T like to do this.)
Not even if it is for the benefit of 18, 19, and 20 year old college students who probably aren't even registered to vote in that local politician's district?

Wow, the system is more corrupt than I thought!
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:10 AM
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I'm wondering if a government agency can obtain real estate in any manner other than eminent domain? There's important safe-guards in these laws and extensive precedents written and seems silly to write out a bunch of different laws that all say the same thing.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:15 AM
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I'm wondering if a government agency can obtain real estate in any manner other than eminent domain? There's important safe-guards in these laws and extensive precedents written and seems silly to write out a bunch of different laws that all say the same thing.
Sure, government agencies can buy real estate on the open market (a building that's already for sale, e.g., or land on which they make an offer). Eminent domain is the way they obtain property that the owner doesn't want to sell.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:19 AM
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The housing rules, options, and costs are easily ascertainable before applying to a college, and before enrolling. ...
That's true, but I'm talking about state schools. In many cases, they're the only realistic choices because private college would be considerably more expensive.

Anyway, back to the OP. Students tend to move to private housing when they can because private housing is considerably cheaper than what the schools are charging. So the schools seizing nearby private housing would make the problem worse, not better.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:15 PM
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Whoa, whoa, hold on. What logic is this?
Logic? We ain't got no logic! We don't need no stickin' logic!!
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:18 PM
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Many colleges are having housing shortages and are forced to convert common areas into living space for students, or have them live in hotels. We should give them the right of eminent domain, to make it easier for them to take over existing buildings. If a college is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for students. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the student live in a student lounge is a major bait and switch. There are usually many privately owned apartment buildings near campuses, and I think colleges should be able to take them over if necessary.
I think that's a bad idea. If they need more room let them find it the same way any business does. My college ran out of room. First they rented out the top 15 floors or so of the local YMCA. The next year they had bought an old Holiday Inn. I lived in both places, and both were nicer than the dorms.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:26 PM
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Whoa, whoa, hold on. What logic is this? "They promised it, and they can't deliver it, so they ought to be able to seize other people's stuff in order to deliver on their promises?"

Imagine if we weren't talking colleges, but rival apartment complexes.
I once read a book about the Soviet Gulag, and apparently this was common in Russian Vory circles. They would gamble with other people's property, and if they lost the bet they were required to steal that property to make good on their bet.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:44 PM
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Whoa, whoa, hold on. What logic is this? "They promised it, and they can't deliver it, so they ought to be able to seize other people's stuff in order to deliver on their promises?"

Imagine if we weren't talking colleges, but rival apartment complexes.

What if someone said, "If Commercial Apartment Complex A is taking housing deposits, they should do whatever it takes to get proper rooms for tenants. Taking a deposit for a dorm or apartment, then making the tenant live in a lounge is a major bait and switch. Commercial Apartment Complex B has some vacant buildings that haven't been rented out yet, and I think Commercial Apartment Complex A should be allowed to seize them."
In modern America society, there's an underlying assumption that higher education is supposed to be much more privileged and important than almost anything else. That assumption is probably what's driving the bad assumption in boffking's OP. He doesn't think that every institution which makes a promise should be able to seize land and buildings in order to keep that promises. Rather, he's absorbed (perhaps unconsciously) the belief that universities are just so awesome that the rest of society should give them whatever they ask for.

The same fallacy shows up elsewhere. Student loans, for example. In most cases, people who want a loan need to have collateral, must have a credit check run, there's a limit on how much money will be loaned, etc... With federal student loans, on the other hand, the federal government will loan up to whatever tuition the university is asking for, doesn't ask for collateral, doesn't care whether the student is likely to repay or not. What's up with that? Why on earth do we gives universities and students these privileges that would obviously look insane if we took the same approach to cars or houses?
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:57 PM
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We should give them the right of eminent domain, to make it easier for them to take over existing buildings.
This from the guy who thinks colleges can make significant cost reductions by stopping subsidies for movie tickets getting rid of scavenger hunts. I think it's safe to say his views on colleges are inconsistent and all over the map.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:58 PM
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The housing rules, options, and costs are easily ascertainable before applying to a college, and before enrolling. I agree many rules suck, students are not forced to go to any particular school.
I teach at a state university, and i don't think that any state university should dictate where its students live. It doesn't matter if the information is available beforehand; the main purpose of a state university is education, and it shouldn't force students to pay above-market rents for housing. Private colleges can do what they want, but state institutions shouldn't be able to require on-campus accommodation, especially in cases (quite common) where such accommodation is offered at above-market rates.

At my university, students are supposed to live on campus for their freshman year, although exemptions are available for local students, and for students who fit certain criteria (married; kids; older than 21; etc.). For those who live on campus, the rates are expensive even considering that Southern California is a pretty expensive part of the country.

The cheapest option available is to share a bedroom in a four-bedroom apartment. That is, four bedrooms with four small bathrooms, and a living room and kitchen. So you have 8 students in an apartment. Here's the layout:
Code:
http://www.thequadsanmarcos.com/san-marcos/the-quad/floorplans/jimson-double-185009/is-premium-view/lease-start-window-id/300/lease_term[id]/3010/lease_start_window[id]/300/space_configuration_id/3/
I had to put it in code, because the presence of square brackets in the URL screws up the regular vB coding.

For this, the cheapest option is $880 per month per student. So total rent for that apartment is at least $7040 per month. You can get a two-story two-bedroom townhouse within five minutes of the university for $1600-2000. I found a 1-bedroom apartment for $1000, and a three-bedroom house for $2500. If you're willing to drive 15 or 20 minutes to campus, options get even better in terms of cost per bedroom.

Obviously, there are advantages to student housing. First, it's on campus or right next door, meaning an easy walk to class. Second, rents are all inclusive (electricity, internet, etc.), so there are no extra costs. Third, you're not committed to a full-year lease, so there's no worries about what you do during the summer and winter breaks if you don't want to stay in town. Fourth, if you like this sort of thing, there's also the community of your fellow students, and you get a pool and a bunch of common areas to hang out.

If students want all of this, that's great, but i don't think that they should be forced into buying it if they would prefer to live off campus.

Last edited by mhendo; 06-21-2016 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:07 PM
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... Third, you're not committed to a full-year lease, so there's no worries about what you do during the summer and winter breaks if you don't want to stay in town. ...
Which reminds me, one of these kids told me was forced out of the dorm over Christmas break. He could pay an extra $800 to stay, even though he had the room through the following semester and was allowed to leave his stuff in it.
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:30 PM
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I teach at a state university, and i don't think that any state university should dictate where its students live. It doesn't matter if the information is available beforehand; the main purpose of a state university is education, and it shouldn't force students to pay above-market rents for housing. Private colleges can do what they want, but state institutions shouldn't be able to require on-campus accommodation, especially in cases (quite common) where such accommodation is offered at above-market rates.

At my university, students are supposed to live on campus for their freshman year, although exemptions are available for local students, and for students who fit certain criteria (married; kids; older than 21; etc.). For those who live on campus, the rates are expensive even considering that Southern California is a pretty expensive part of the country.

The cheapest option available is to share a bedroom in a four-bedroom apartment. That is, four bedrooms with four small bathrooms, and a living room and kitchen. So you have 8 students in an apartment. Here's the layout:
Code:
http://www.thequadsanmarcos.com/san-marcos/the-quad/floorplans/jimson-double-185009/is-premium-view/lease-start-window-id/300/lease_term[id]/3010/lease_start_window[id]/300/space_configuration_id/3/
I had to put it in code, because the presence of square brackets in the URL screws up the regular vB coding.

For this, the cheapest option is $880 per month per student. So total rent for that apartment is at least $7040 per month. You can get a two-story two-bedroom townhouse within five minutes of the university for $1600-2000. I found a 1-bedroom apartment for $1000, and a three-bedroom house for $2500. If you're willing to drive 15 or 20 minutes to campus, options get even better in terms of cost per bedroom.

Obviously, there are advantages to student housing. First, it's on campus or right next door, meaning an easy walk to class. Second, rents are all inclusive (electricity, internet, etc.), so there are no extra costs. Third, you're not committed to a full-year lease, so there's no worries about what you do during the summer and winter breaks if you don't want to stay in town. Fourth, if you like this sort of thing, there's also the community of your fellow students, and you get a pool and a bunch of common areas to hang out.

If students want all of this, that's great, but i don't think that they should be forced into buying it if they would prefer to live off campus.
For the most part, I agree, but one reasonable counterargument is that students who live off campus often end up making sub-optimal choices that impact their academic performance or safety. My university is moving toward a requiring-freshmen-to-live-on-campus model specifically because of a cluster of issues of this sort (mostly involving international students failing to recognize that their off-campus housing is in a neighborhood with a higher crime / violence potential than they're used to at home, but also including students from other parts of the state who crash and burn because they somehow don't realize that a three-hour commute that causes them to arrive midway through their first class of the day is not a good idea). I tend to be on the "you can only do so much to save students from themselves" side of this debate, but it's understandable that our administration, which is desperate to retain students, sees it otherwise.
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:32 PM
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Why are we overlooking the simplest solution? Don't let colleges enroll more people than they can reasonably manage. If they only have housing for X number of students, then they should only be allowed to have a student body of X + independently housed students
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:37 PM
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:47 PM
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Why are we overlooking the simplest solution? Don't let colleges enroll more people than they can reasonably manage. If they only have housing for X number of students, then they should only be allowed to have a student body of X + independently housed students
The simplest solution is to cut back on the student loan program and force colleges to compete in a sort-of-free market for students. It is my belief that colleges will - somehow, God willing! - be able to cut back on expenses to the point where colleges become more affordable.

mhendo, where do you teach that rentals of $2000 can be the norm? I'm outside of Charleston, SC and I could get a two-bedroom apartment for $1000 or less within 3 miles of Charleston Southern University (I just looked) and further away I could rent my own house - 4 bed, 2.5 bath and 2500 sq ft for about $1600/month.
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:51 PM
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:11 PM
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Why are we overlooking the simplest solution? Don't let colleges enroll more people than they can reasonably manage. If they only have housing for X number of students, then they should only be allowed to have a student body of X + independently housed students
This leads to another issue with the university system in America. Administrators have a financial motivation to enroll as many students as they possibly can. More students means more money means higher salaries and benefits for administrators and more prestige-boosting projects. Sixty percent of incoming freshman require remedial courses before they can even begin taking college-level courses. Many of those end up among the large number of students who drop out, leaving with nothing to show for it but debt.

So the intelligent thing to do would be to simply admit fewer students, but the system gives administrators no reason to prefer doing so.
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:11 PM
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Why are we overlooking the simplest solution? Don't let colleges enroll more people than they can reasonably manage. If they only have housing for X number of students, then they should only be allowed to have a student body of X + independently housed students
Not that boffking is ever going to return to this thread, but the housing of students in dorm lounges, putting three students in a room meant for two, or even putting four students in a room meant for three (which is what happened to me freshman year) are almost always temporary measures. There are usually some students who don't actually start school in the fall even though they accepted the offer of admission or even though they sent in a deposit. So after a week or two, the school will have a better idea of what the actual number of students are on campus and can move people back to normal rooms. (In my case, two of the guys sharing my triple moved down the hall to an empty double. So my freshman year roommate and I shared a triple. In other cases, people literally manage to get kicked out of school very early in their first semester, which frees up more rooms.)
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:15 PM
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The simplest solution is to cut back on the student loan program and force colleges to compete in a sort-of-free market for students. It is my belief that colleges will - somehow, God willing! - be able to cut back on expenses to the point where colleges become more affordable.

mhendo, where do you teach that rentals of $2000 can be the norm? I'm outside of Charleston, SC and I could get a two-bedroom apartment for $1000 or less within 3 miles of Charleston Southern University (I just looked) and further away I could rent my own house - 4 bed, 2.5 bath and 2500 sq ft for about $1600/month.
He mentions he's in Southern California, so those rates are normal. If he were in the Bay Area I would be unsurprised to see $3500/month apartments.

Last edited by yellowjacketcoder; 06-21-2016 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:15 PM
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For the most part, I agree, but one reasonable counterargument is that students who live off campus often end up making sub-optimal choices that impact their academic performance or safety. My university is moving toward a requiring-freshmen-to-live-on-campus model specifically because of a cluster of issues of this sort (mostly involving international students failing to recognize that their off-campus housing is in a neighborhood with a higher crime / violence potential than they're used to at home, but also including students from other parts of the state who crash and burn because they somehow don't realize that a three-hour commute that causes them to arrive midway through their first class of the day is not a good idea). I tend to be on the "you can only do so much to save students from themselves" side of this debate, but it's understandable that our administration, which is desperate to retain students, sees it otherwise.
Yeah, this is an important issue. Like many public universities, we too have a big issue with retention and graduation rates, and there are indeed studies suggesting that students who live on campus, especially in their freshman year, often make a smoother transition to the rigors of college work than students who live off campus.

If compulsory student housing helps more students pass their classes and graduate on time, it might be a good investment of their money even if they don't appreciate or recognize it at the time. Still, i'm a little uncomfortable with the state telling adults where they have to live, and forcing them to pay above-market rates in to the bargain.

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mhendo, where do you teach that rentals of $2000 can be the norm? I'm outside of Charleston, SC and I could get a two-bedroom apartment for $1000 or less within 3 miles of Charleston Southern University (I just looked) and further away I could rent my own house - 4 bed, 2.5 bath and 2500 sq ft for about $1600/month.
As i said, i'm in Southern California. The rents i described are fairly typical for the area. As i said, there are places where you can pay less, sometimes considerably less, especially if you're willing to move further out, but if you want to be near the university, it's going to cost.

Depending on style, amenities, condition, and exact location, if you dropped your 2500-square-foot, 4-bedroom house into north San Diego county, the monthly rent would start at around $2600-2800 per month, and could get up as high as $5000 or $6000.

Here are a few of the cheapest houses of similar size i found within a half-hour drive of the campus:

4 bed, 2.5 bath, 2-car garage, 2300 square feet - $2,800

4 bed, 3 bath, 3-car garage, 2500 square feet - $2,950

4 bed, 2.5 bath, 3-car garage, 2500 square feet - $3,000
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:17 PM
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Around here, government must compensate the land owner the fair market value of the property. BPA can certainly take my property against my will, but they will have to pay me what the property is worth.
No, they have to pay you what they can convince a court or arbitrator the property is worth. Not necessarily the same thing.
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:19 PM
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A couple of months ago, I went on the tour at Stanford. The tour guide mentioned that something like 96% of the students live on campus. Not surprising given how insane housing prices are in the Palo Alto area.
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:36 PM
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A couple of months ago, I went on the tour at Stanford. The tour guide mentioned that something like 96% of the students live on campus. Not surprising given how insane housing prices are in the Palo Alto area.
Yeah, the cost of on-campus housing at Stanford is actually below the market rate for the area. The same is true for other expensive private schools in expensive real estate markets. Students at universities like Harvard, Columbia, and NYU all benefit from housing rates that are below market value. It helps that, in many cases, these universities have had large real estate holding dating back to before the explosion in housing prices. Also, those schools have massive amounts of money.

Although expensive, wealthy private universities don't always give their students bargain housing. When i was a grad student at Johns Hopkins ten years ago, it seemed to me that the undergrads living in campus housing didn't get such a good deal. Baltimore was a cheap city for renting. My wife and i rented a lovely two-story, 2.5 bedroom row house with hardwood floors, five minutes walk from campus, for under $1,200 a month. On the Hopkins campus, undergrads were paying about $600-800 per month (each) to share a two-bed dorm room.

Last edited by mhendo; 06-21-2016 at 02:37 PM.
  #39  
Old 06-21-2016, 03:10 PM
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Upon review, while there might be a debate on this subject, this ain't it.

Boffking, if you continue to not return to debate threads you start I will start shutting them down or limiting the number you're allowed to start.

Off to IMHO with this one.
  #40  
Old 06-21-2016, 03:12 PM
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If they only have housing for X number of students, then they should only be allowed to have a student body of X + independently housed students
Allowed? Allowed by whom?
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Old 06-21-2016, 03:41 PM
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The same fallacy shows up elsewhere. Student loans, for example. In most cases, people who want a loan need to have collateral, must have a credit check run, there's a limit on how much money will be loaned, etc... With federal student loans, on the other hand, the federal government will loan up to whatever tuition the university is asking for, doesn't ask for collateral, doesn't care whether the student is likely to repay or not. What's up with that? Why on earth do we gives universities and students these privileges that would obviously look insane if we took the same approach to cars or houses?
Because federal student loans are nondischargeable. It's not comparable to an auto loan or mortgage at all, and certainly not some unsecured free ride. And from a policy perspective, would it really be that great to underwrite student loans like other consumer loans? How would a low-income student ever qualify? And god forbid you choose a major that's not engineering...

ETA: Forgot to add that "the federal government will loan up to whatever tuition the university is asking for" is also untrue. The aggregate federal loan limit across the entire degree program is $31,000 for a dependent undergrad and $57,500 for an independent undergrad.

Last edited by ReticulatingSplines; 06-21-2016 at 03:46 PM.
  #42  
Old 06-21-2016, 04:14 PM
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Walmart occasionally uses eminent domain to get land to build stores on. Why should they get rights that colleges don't? Education is more important than yet another place to buy the same things you can get everywhere else.
  #43  
Old 06-21-2016, 04:16 PM
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Walmart occasionally uses eminent domain to get land to build stores on. Why should they get rights that colleges don't? Education is more important than yet another place to buy the same things you can get everywhere else.
Local government uses eminent domain and then sells/gives the land to Walmart.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:19 PM
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Walmart occasionally uses eminent domain to get land to build stores on. Why should they get rights that colleges don't? Education is more important than yet another place to buy the same things you can get everywhere else.
Your argument is nuanced and thoughtful, cutting straight to the heart of the issue, clearly and cogently identifying the important points, and offering measured and reasonable solutions.

Wait, no it isn't. It offers specious claims, makes bad comparisons, and draws false equivalencies.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:36 PM
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Because federal student loans are nondischargeable. It's not comparable to an auto loan or mortgage at all, and certainly not some unsecured free ride. And from a policy perspective, would it really be that great to underwrite student loans like other consumer loans? How would a low-income student ever qualify? And god forbid you choose a major that's not engineering...

ETA: Forgot to add that "the federal government will loan up to whatever tuition the university is asking for" is also untrue. The aggregate federal loan limit across the entire degree program is $31,000 for a dependent undergrad and $57,500 for an independent undergrad.
I did not know that last point; thank you for informing me.

But the main point is this. The purpose of student loans is to make an education affordable to everyone. But the programs are poorly designed and thus are having the opposite effect. Before Stafford Loans were created 50 years ago, there were many good, affordable options for higher ed, even for the poor. Schools were good at keeping costs reasonable. Of course at the time, living on campus was a bit more frugal than it is today.

But once the federal government steps in with subsidized loans, then the schools don't have any motivation to keep costs down. If they raise prices, the government is there with more money, so students can still afford to attend. Prices are soaring, as everyone knows, and even government research confirms the obvious: more loans lead to higher costs. Instead university administrations compete to spend on more and more luxuries for students as well as hiring more administrators who don't really do much of anything. We have more students than ever entering college, but poor students who need loan money to cover almost everything leave with large debts, and maybe a diploma but maybe not. So the net effect has been bad for poor students.

A smart student loan program would focus on students who actually need aid and are planning to spend the money on something useful. You mentioned engineering. Engineers are well paid. The loan program should, at least, try to nudge students towards high-paying majors and away from English Lit and Sociology.
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Old 06-21-2016, 07:31 PM
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But once the federal government steps in with subsidized loans, then the schools don't have any motivation to keep costs down. If they raise prices, the government is there with more money, so students can still afford to attend. Prices are soaring, as everyone knows, and even government research confirms the obvious: more loans lead to higher costs. Instead university administrations compete to spend on more and more luxuries for students as well as hiring more administrators who don't really do much of anything. We have more students than ever entering college, but poor students who need loan money to cover almost everything leave with large debts, and maybe a diploma but maybe not. So the net effect has been bad for poor students.
Ah, the Bennett Hypothesis. Has historically been a controversial idea, but the evidence does seem to be trending in that direction lately. It's definitely not a perfect program.

Quote:
A smart student loan program would focus on students who actually need aid and are planning to spend the money on something useful. You mentioned engineering. Engineers are well paid. The loan program should, at least, try to nudge students towards high-paying majors and away from English Lit and Sociology.
Should it, though? I think it's good for society that we still encourage less remunerative pursuits, even if it costs society some extra money. But you are correct from a pure underwriting perspective.
  #47  
Old 06-21-2016, 07:43 PM
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While we're at it, we could grant schools the status of "Free Imperial Cities", allowing them the right of coinage, taxation, and raising armies. We could reestablish the Aulic Council and forego university sporting teams with all of their perfidy with armed service, engaging in periodic internecine warfare in order to ensure that only the strongest survive to graduation, giving them the choice of sorority princesses as their reward. "Come back with your shield, or on it," shall be the mantra, returning us to an earlier, more enlightened state of feudualism and chivalry, ensuring that future business and political leaders have an intimate understanding of the effects of balkanization and why you should never conduct a field campaign in Asia in the winter.

Caltech, of course, will slaughter the lot of them with bioengineered toxins and neutron-enhanced microfusion devices. "Destroy, erase, improve."

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  #48  
Old 06-21-2016, 07:43 PM
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Should it, though? I think it's good for society that we still encourage less remunerative pursuits, even if it costs society some extra money. But you are correct from a pure underwriting perspective.
I notice that he's apparently only willing to take his economic analysis so far.

I wonder, for example, if he would be supportive of a differential pricing scheme, whereby degrees that lead to higher incomes also attract higher tuition fees? After all, in many cases those degrees are more competitive in terms of entry, and we already have something like that for professional graduate degrees like law and medicine and business. Why not extend it to engineering and computer science, for example?

Australia's university system, which is essentially a national system run by the government, has a three-band cost system. It costs just over $A6,000 (about $US4,500 at current exchange rates) per year for a humanities or education degree, almost $A9,000 per year for an engineering, mathematics or other science degree, and about $10,500 per year for economics, accounting, law, medicine, and a few others (law and medicine are generally undergraduate degrees in Australia).

Last edited by mhendo; 06-21-2016 at 07:45 PM.
  #49  
Old 06-21-2016, 08:20 PM
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State run colleges and universities are agencies of the state, which already has eminent domain. The college itself doesn't need this level of authority. It's like giving a meter maid the authority to do undercover investigations.
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I smell a sitcom !
Or the sequel to Zootopia...
  #50  
Old 06-22-2016, 12:12 AM
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Yeah, screw those pesky private property owners.
Or just make all those displaced home owners and apartment tenants live in the campus office lobbies and empty (by night) classrooms or the gym; and put them to work cooking in the dorm cafeterias or in the dorm laundries.
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