The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


OPINION | Housing price increase could threaten students’ independence

Sarah Naccarato
Chatham apartments of the Shadyside campus.

I commuted for the 2023-2024 academic year. Now, I am ready to live on campus. I have found the people I would love to live with, helped my mom come to terms with the fact that I will no longer be living under her roof and even made a Pinterest board for apartment inspiration. I have attempted to navigate the complex steps of tuition payment, of student loans and of all things that practically every college student dreads. 

Due to recent changes, almost nothing about becoming a resident at Chatham feels easy, especially now. Words cannot describe the feeling of seeing the people around me struggle to simply stay afloat. 

I come from a house with a single mother who supports both me and my brother. While my mother tries to support me in all and any ways possible, student loans fall out of both of our areas of expertise. I am the first of my family to pursue a full college education, which has only increased the confusion in navigating how to move from home to campus. 

With the help of our Office of Student Accounts, conversations with my family and many arguments about how I will be paying to live on campus, housing became more than just an idea. It became something palpable. 

Yet just as I began to feel I had a somewhat decent grasp on moving to campus, Chatham threw a wrench into my sense of stability. 

Students received an email from Chatham announcing changes to tuition, meal plans and housing. One of these announcements was that housing prices are increasing in the fall 2024 term, an announcement that made my stomach drop. 

It was stated in the email that “most returning students in Lower Campus Apartments will see an increase between $55 to $135 per month over eight months, depending on their apartment selection.”

This increase equates to anywhere between $440 to $1,080. Let’s say hypothetically that next semester I live in the Chung Apartments in a single room, sharing the apartment with two other roommates. This would cost me $3,604 per semester. I will also be paying renter’s insurance, which will cost me $13.68 each month. Considering that the fall semester is roughly four months, I would be paying about $915 each month to simply live on campus. While this price includes utilities, it does not include groceries, my meal plan, toiletries or any other outside costs. 

It was also included in the email that “Chatham’s Lower Campus Apartment rates have historically been priced below average market rates for apartments in Pittsburgh and among local peers.” It claims that this has led to “underfunding for maintenance needs and goes against best practices in the industry.” 

Chatham’s first priority should not be “best practices in the industry.” It should be supporting its own students. Realistically, the average college student can not afford the “average market rates.” Paying almost $1,000 a month for a college apartment with two roommates is not accessible for the majority of the student body and it feels like an unethical ask. 

There is a part of me that is coming to terms with the idea that Chatham will be undergoing changes over the next few years due to the financial deficit that the institution has found itself in. There is no avoiding the fact that in order to recover from the place that our University has found itself in, there are changes that need to be made in order to stay afloat, and many of these decisions will result in various price increases.

 With that being said, it sometimes feels as though many of the decisions made by the University are negatively impacting students. The announcement that housing prices are increasing upset me enough to no longer feel secure nor optimistic about my future living at Chatham. 

I love Chatham University. I love the classes I get the opportunity to be in, the professors who are dedicated to their students, the friends I have made and our beautiful campus that I feel grateful for every time I walk along the paths of. 

I fully intend to stay at Chatham for the entirety of my college education, but I know many people who do not feel the same. While it’s viable for me to live on campus next semester, I can’t say the same regarding my housing situation outside the 2024-2025 academic year. As much as I would love to live on campus throughout my education, this is simply unrealistic, for both me and many other students. 

I made the decision to live at Chatham because I value my experiences on campus and want to live here. This does not mean that it is acceptable for the University to ask students to pay such high prices to be a Chatham resident. 

While the University is actively recovering from a financial deficit and inflation surrounding housing continues to rise, there should be certain accommodations for college students so they do not constantly have to stress about how they are going to survive while pursuing an education. I can only hope that Chatham takes the right steps to support its students.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Naccarato
Sarah Naccarato, Digital Editor
Sarah Naccarato ‘27 is a communications major with a concentration in journalism. A Pittsburgh suburb native, Sarah accidentally discovered Chatham on a school trip and has since been finding more people with similar and equally weird interests. Sarah enjoys writing a little bit about everything. Outside of the Communiqué, she enjoys nature, reading, driving with music and the windows down, making weird art and watching a little too many movies. For inquiries, Sarah can be best reach via email @[email protected] or on Instagram @sarah.n.17.

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