For those of you who don’t know, Housing Scout is a company that, at its very core, loves The University of Texas at Austin.
Richie Gill, the founder and broker of Housing Scout, started the company in 2010 while still a student at UT studying Plan II Honors. The company began as a single man’s frustration with finding an affordable apartment in West Campus.
Over time Housing Scout would grow. Richie would hire on another Longhorn, Bobby Cave, to come on and help with operations as well as several other Longhorn real estate agents. With such an intimate knowledge of UT and its surrounding neighborhoods, the company’s agents and Housing Scout would continue to grow exponentially.
Fast forward a few years, and Housing Scout now employs well over 70 licensed Texas real estate agents, almost all of them being students or alumni of the University of Texas. (Over 90%.)
Almost all of our agents are alumni or current students at UT
While we are committed to helping out all potential real estate clients from the greater Austin area—regardless of University affiliation—at our roots we are still a company founded by Longhorns, operated by Longhorns, and originally intended to help Longhorns.
We are always looking for ways to help our UT clients and in doing so we are also helping ourselves, which is just a bonus. (Because we often share the same problems.)
So as a fellow Longhorn, I would like to address something that will affect each and every one of you—if it hasn’t done so already: the Texas Exes. What are they? What do they offer? How much do they cost? And—most importantly—is it worth joining?
I KNOW you have seen this logo before.
1. What are they?
The Ex-Students’ Association of the University of Texas, more commonly known as “Texas Exes,” is the alumni association affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin. It is basically a giant, independent club for graduates from UT, with the core purpose being:
“To be an independent voice that champions the University, and to organize alumni and friends into a formidable network to change the world.”
If you ask me, they might just succeed with that goal of changing the world. The Texas Exes is one of the biggest alumni associations in the World, with large chapters scattered all across the United States and the rest of the world. The Houston chapter alone boasts over 10,000 Texas Exes members.
And all of that sounds great for the Texas Exes. But what else do they do? I’m not going to join an organization just to be an “independent voice.” What else you got?
According to the Texas Exes website, the “Mission” of the Texas Exes is: “Unite alumni and friends around the world, create a passionate voice that strengthens the university, promote alumni accomplishments, and celebrate Longhorn spirit and traditions.”
The Texas Exes have outlined the following 5 strategic priorities, taken directly from the website:
- Keep alumni connected and engaged with their alma mater
- Advocate on the university’s behalf and support its mission
- Enrich the student experience before and during their time on campus
- Foster a welcoming environment and home on campus for Longhorns and friends
- Preserve the traditions of the university
2. What do they offer?
When you join the Texas Exes, you get “a wide array of benefits.”
It would take way too long to list all of the specific benefits granted to Texas Exes members, so if you are looking for additional information on the Texas Exes member benefits, check out their page here. The Texas Exes are also famously known for being a big donor in scholarship money.
3. How Much Does it Cost?
Alright, let’s get down to it. All of these benefits and lofty goals sound great on paper, but how much is it all going to cost me? Good question. Short answer: quite a bit. Long answer: it depends on who you are.
The cheapest membership plans are offered to current students: $200 for a 4-year life membership, $50 for an annual student life membership, and $25 for a student annual membership. These prices are very reasonable, but probably because current students are extremely unlikely to join an alumni organization.
Recent Graduates cost quite a bit more. It is a little confusing, so I will try to break it down as simply and logically as possible:
- Life Membership
- $1,000 individual life membership
- $1500 joint life membership (individual + spouse)
- $800 recent graduate
- Four-year Membership
- $200 individual membership
- $260 joint membership (individual + spouse)
- Annual Membership
- $60 individual membership
- $80 joint membership (individual + spouse)
- $5/month subscription
For Alumni, Friends, Senior Citizens, and Faculty/Staff, the rates for Texas Exes memberships are slightly different. But they cost approximately the same (or less) as the recent graduate rate. If you pay upfront upon graduation, you can pay as little as $800 for a lifetime membership as shown above.
So there are a lot of benefits, but it can be expensive depending on your financial situation, type of membership, and how recently you graduated. The ultimate question we want the answer to is…
4. Is it worth it?
Several longhorns on the UT Austin subreddit chimed in with their responses to this very inquiry. Here are some of their responses:
“I just paid for a lifetime membership after my free year expired. For me the cost is worth it for the jstor/free journal access. Considering single articles can cost upwards of $50 each the membership should pay for itself over time. If it weren’t for that I would not have even considered renewing.” – TheSpaceRat
“Getting in to the alumni center for tailgating at football games is kind of nice. That’s really the only perk I’ve ever used.” – robotseamonsters
“I bought it for the tailgates and library access. It’s been very useful so far. The reciprocal access to PCL has been amazing. $600 if you pay it up front for recent grads.” – nakon
“I got a limetime membership as a gift from family. Haven’t really used it aside from the alumni center as I still live in Austin. Friends of mine are members of their local TexasExes chapter. But you should get your first year as a gift from your college/school.” – rjj296
“Never signed up for the lifetime membership and I have no regrets. My wife did and I think we’ve been to two events in 6 years. To each their own, though. I’m sure some people make much better use of it.” – crs529
When I graduated from UT, I also received the free 1-year membership to the Texas Exes—thereby surrendering my e-mail address forever to their databases. I never once attended one of their events. Not the networking events, or the cocktail parties, or the tailgates.
Granted, I stayed in Austin after graduation. For those moving to a new city, in Texas or otherwise, having some fellow Longhorns around might be comforting. I suppose to each his/her own. For me it wasn’t worth the $800. What do you think?