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The Time Is Now: UT to Accelerate Housing Affordability Efforts

By The University of Texas at Austin President Jay Hartzell and School of Social Work Dean Allan Cole:

As a community of over 70,000 people, the second-largest employer in the region, and a collection of experts across a variety of related fields, the University of Texas plays a key role in addressing Austin’s rising housing costs. Like many organizations in this fantastic city, the benefits we gain from being together are at risk due to escalating home prices and rents, along with our ability to attract and retain the talented students, faculty and staff we rely upon to change the world. As a result, we have accelerated our housing affordability strategy to expand options for our university community and be part of the greater solution. 

 Since 2015, Austin has had the nation’s fourth-fastest-growing economy among large cities, with no signs of slowing. Our metro-area population of 2.2 million is expected to nearly double by 2050. The resulting imbalance between changes in housing supply and demand has drastically reduced affordability, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates only 21% of Austin families can afford a home.

Access to housing on or near campus is fundamental to our core objective of enabling students to pursue their dreams and benefit society. The data clearly show students’ proximity to campus, with greater access to food, academic support and social activities, increases persistence and success. This is especially true for first-generation and lower-income students, who comprise about a quarter of our 40,000-plus undergraduate student body.

Read the rest of the article in the Austin American-Statesman.