Housing Crunch

Off-campus housing may be just as viable as Temple’s spaces on Main Campus.

The rush for student housing starts every spring on Main Campus.

The warm weather and uptick in classified ads are synonymous. When freshmen and sophomores realize Temple is giving them the boot, many turn to popular options like University Village, Oxford Village, Elmira Jeffries and Kardon-Atlantic Terminal. These buildings can offer amenities like game rooms, security guards, modern furniture and even tanning beds. But those fancy extras come at a price that’s beyond the reaches of most college students’ budgets.

A two-bedroom apartment in Kardon-Atlantic runs about $2,000 per month, slightly less than the $2,300 price tag on a four-bedroom space in Oxford Village. Throw in utilities, and other living expenses, and the average student living in one of these apartment complexes is paying closer to $1,000 every month, in addition to what he or she is paying for tuition and utilities.

But the pricey housing options most students go for aren’t much in comparison to what freshmen pay to live in residence halls.

A 10-feet by 4-feet dorm room in Johnson Hall costs $3,063 per semester — $6,126 for about seven months. This doesn’t include the separate but mandtory meal plan packages, the cheapest of which is $1,239, according to Temple’s Dining Services Guide. The cost only covers 10 meals a week and $150 Diamond Dollars. Add all that up, and the bare minimum for a freshman just to sleep and eat on campus is $8,600 for seven months. No wonder so many students choose to live off campus.

Incoming freshmen should consider spending their first two semesters at Temple in buildings like University Village, which is full of students, near campus and has a security guard. A full year in one of these buildings costs less than two semesters on Main Campus, and the facilities are nicer.

The next step, of course, would be to look for non-student housing as upperclassmen. Craigslist advertises refurbished houses just three blocks from Main Campus for only $475 a month per person, and apartments in trendier neighborhoods like Fishtown and South Philadelphia for less than $600 per month. Students looking for a balance between school and a social life can find it better off campus than they can in dorms and other student housing.

Temple is doing something wrong if a semester in a dorm room costs more than six months’ rent in a house.


  1. The following is offered as a general caveat for any Temple University Student seeking to rent off-campus housing in the Temple area East of Broad Street, which is governed by the § 14-1629. North Central Philadelphia Community Special District Controls. Don’t make your housing costs more costly than staying in the residence halls.
    Council recognized the need to establish special land use and zoning controls, to protect this community from the conversions of houses into apartments, tenements, and multi-family dwellings which would destabilize the community by taking on the transient character inherent in apartment and tenement living. The conversion of single-family dwellings into boarding/rooming houses changes the character of this community and over-burdens local blocks with excess vehicles and limited parking spaces.
    This special district is established in order to preserve and protect this area of the City through the enactment of the North Central Philadelphia Community Special District Controls which prohibits:
    (a) Multiple-family dwellings;
    (b) Apartment houses;
    (c) Tenement houses;
    (d) Student housing not owner-occupied;
    (e) Fraternity/Sorority houses.
    The North Central Philadelphia Special District Controls shall apply to all residentially zoned (R9A, R10, R13, R20) properties within the following areas:
    (a) The area bounded on the north by Cecil B. Moore Avenue, on the east by Tenth Street, on the south by Oxford Street, and on the west by Eleventh Street. (Yorktown)
    (b) The area bounded on the north by Oxford Street, on the east by Eleventh Street, and on the south by a line consisting of Stiles Street from Eleventh Street to Twelfth Street. (Yorktown)
    (c) The area bounded on the north by Cecil B. Moore Avenue, on the east by Twelfth Street, on the south by Flora Street, and on the west by Thirteenth Street. (Yorktown)
    (d) All properties fronting on the west side of Thirteenth Street between Jefferson Street and Oxford Street. (Yorktown)
    (e) The area bounded on the west by 13th Street, on the east by 11th Street, on the north by Susquehanna and on the south by Diamond Street. (People’s Village/Nelson Brown)
    (f) The area bounded on the south by Master Street, on the North by Jefferson Avenue, on the east by 11th Street, and on the west by 12th Street. (Jefferson Manor)
    (g) The area bounded on the north by Cecil B. Moore, on the south by Master Street, on the east by 9th Street, and on the west by 11th Street. (Jefferson Manor)

    Enforcement of this ordinance is not a matter of discrimination, because it is not against the students (“student” is not a protected group to charge discrimination as the protection applies to age, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) This ordinance is to restrict the activities of developers illegally decimating our single-family dwelling community, an historically planned community for families, currently in the process of acquiring an Historic designation.

  2. Pam,

    Interesting insight into the housing crunch…how do you explain the newly renovated multi-unit off-campus apartments on Sydenham directly behind the Liacouras parking garage??? According to your post those should be illegal correct??



  3. this “special” ordinance is nothing but bias!!! philly has zoning laws and york town is already covered by the zoning law that says no more then 3 unrelated people can live in residential housing. essentially the “special ordinance” is saying..”YA, BUT THIS TIME WE REALLY MEAN IT!!! we know we are supposed to enforce the zoning laws everywhere, but we are really gonna do it now in york town, to keep the students out”…NO, you are not! the city of philadelphia needs to enforce the law EVERYWHERE. when they start doing that, they can kick the students out of york town…not untill.

  4. pam smith needs to look around her wonderful neighborhood. i was with my son looking at a house to rent, when the neighbor, a 20 something woman started babbling. it was 11am on a saturday and she was drunk as a skunk drinking a beer. cold march morning with 3 half naked, barefoot little kids running around. and, pam is affraid the college students are going to somehow bring DOWN the value of the neighborhood?????

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