Are West Campus Rental Rates Really That High?

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As a student (or up-and-coming student) at The University of Texas at Austin you’re likely drawn to West Campus for its eclectic mix of cool old buildings and modern high-rise student apartment buildings, funky shops and restaurants, beautiful neighborhoods and overall unique vibe. Best of all is its proximity to UT’s core campus. It’s no wonder West Campus has been the preferred living location for UT students for well over a half-century and is referred to as “the heart of off-campus living.”


With this in mind, you might think that West Campus living is totally out of your price range and that you’re better off living on campus in the dorms. After all, rent and grocery prices are skyrocketing everywhere, right? But wait…the cost of student housing in a nice West Campus apartment might not be as high as you may think compared to the dormitories. Let’s take a look:


Jester Dorm vs. West Campus

  • Jester Residence Hall has been a popular student dormitory since the early 1970s and has obviously seen many “cost of living” changes through the years. These days, a shared 1 bedroom with community bath at Jester runs $1,451/month. A private one-bedroom with community bath runs $1,694/month. Last year, the price of a shared (unrenovated) room at Jester was around $1,364/month.


For the 2021-2022 school year, dorm rates at some of the most popular locations at UT Austin begin at $12,645. With a 9-month contract that equates to $1,405/month. (Keep in mind, these are monthly quotes while most online quotes are for the full semester). One perk of dorm living is: a 9-month lease “does” include a meal plan, but parking still costs extra.



  • West Campus living is definitely not cheap; however, it’s a misconception that it’s way higher than dorm living. In fact, off-campus living is MORE affordable. Some (2021) rentals on West Campus start as low as $469/month for a shared bedroom and $649/month for a private bedroom. One-bedroom apartments start at $999/month.


Not only are these options more affordable, but these are full apartments with varied floor plans, kitchens, and living rooms…not just a single dorm room. Even through the ups and downs of the economy over the past few years, student rent prices have held steady. Living off-campus means you have the option of a 6-month, 9-month, 10-month or 12-month lease, depending on the apartment complex and availability. Plus, off-campus apartments often have great amenities like laundry facilities, fitness centers, game rooms and best of all…a private bathroom! You’ll have to walk a few minutes to get to your classes, but a little daily exercise is a good thing, right? And, you know you’re truly “adulting” when you have to buy your own food!



The Student Experience

Living off-campus as a UT Longhorn does not mean that you will miss out on the full student experience. Not even! In fact, West Campus is home to more than 50 Greek organizations with traditional Greek housing options. There is truly something for everyone. Student resources are always still available to students living in West Campus and Austin public transportation is free with your student ID. With a little effort and ambition, you can live off-campus, save money and still have the ultimate college experience!



Are you interested in the UT West Campus experience? Contact the licensed agents at Housing Scout today. They can help you find the perfect place to live that’s less expensive than the dorms.

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