In an effort to address rising housing costs, NYU is rolling out a new housing program that would let students live with senior citizens.
The program, which was first reported by the Post, was the result of affordability initiatives put in place by Andrew Hamilton, NYU's president since January 2016. Ellen Schall, chair of NYU's Affordability Steering Committee, told Gothamist that the university—which has a staggering annual price tag of $65,000 a year and was ranked Business Insider's #3 most expensive college in 2015—is trying to become more affordable to as many students as possible.
"Room and board and books were a major concern for students," Schall said, and this new program will hopefully alleviate the costs for those who want to live near campus but can't afford the university's regular dorms or nearby apartments.
The pilot program starts in the Fall 2017 semester and will consist of at least 10 juniors, seniors, or grad students, who will have to fill out a special application to be considered. The cost hasn’t been worked out yet, but Schall said the committee hopes it’ll cut the cost of housing in half for participating students. Undergraduate students who choose to live on campus after freshman year pay anywhere from $10,454 for a shared studio bedroom to $21,112 for a private room in a suite.
Graduate students' cheapest on-campus lodging option costs $15,844 a year, and the priciest tops out at $27,160—and dorm costs typically increase with each passing year. The average scholarship for incoming first-year students was $28,179 for the Fall 2014 semester.
NYU is partnering with University Settlement, a Lower East Side nonprofit that provides social services to low-income seniors, for the program. Schall said that many NYU students volunteer at the Settlement, which has a longstanding relationship with NYU.
Some Chicago universities, including DePaul, Loyola, and the University of Illinois at Chicago have successfully implemented a similar program that provides free private bedrooms in senior citizen facilities to students in exchange for 20 hours of weekly housekeeping, grocery shopping, and computer lessons.
But Bruce Otto, the head of the nonprofit behind the Chicago program told the Post that despite the lower costs, the program isn't for everyone. "It takes a special kind of student to live in a retirement community," he said.