Opinion: College students aren’t lazy — the housing market is in shambles

Leasing sign in front of an apartment building.
Photo courtesy of Carline Jean

Everyone knows that the housing market is currently in absolute shambles. In Idaho, houses are being listed 80.51% above their expected price, according to Florida Atlantic University.

While this problem impacts all renters and homeowners, one of the most heavily affected demographics is younger college students. 

College costs thousands of dollars every year and full-time students are expected to spend upwards of 50 hours a week on school work.

Financial hardships are one of the most common struggles students face during their academic career and this problem is only getting worse. We have voiced how difficult it is to keep up with the unrealistic demands of society; however, our message hasn’t seemed to get across. 

Leasing sign in front of an apartment building.
[Leasing office sign in front of an apartment building.]
Photo courtesy of Carline Jean

While some students have the privilege of being able to live at home or go to school without working a job, that is normally not the case. 

According to the nonprofit Intermountain Fair Housing Council Idaho, in order to afford a one-bedroom rental at Fair Market Rent, a Boisean would need to work a 76-hour workweek (with minimum wage being $7.25/hour). 

There are only 112 waking hours during a week. This crisis is unbearable, unstable and unhealthy for young adults. 

Students are sacrificing their academic work and well-being to afford bills and other necessities. 

As young people, we constantly hear from older generations that we are lazy and unambitious. However, this is clearly not the case. The minimum wage has stayed the same for 13 years and we are suffering the consequences of that.

A survey by CollegeFinance found that only 13% of students felt they were financially equipped to handle all the expenses that are associated with university. Student loan debt is $37,584 on average, and the annual cost of necessities like housing, food and clothing is $14,435. 

With prices of housing rising, a majority of students are living with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression. This perpetuates the stereotype adopted by older generations that young adults are dependent and unmotivated. In reality, many young adults are choosing not to go to college because it costs too much. 

While being bombarded with questions about our future, we are expected to have an answer. 

The structured expectation of what our lives should look like has been stained onto us by older generations. The reality is that this path is no longer viable with the economic status of our country. 

As blossoming adults, we are told we have to adopt a plan as soon as we’re out of high school, even though we were taught close to nothing about finances in our younger academic years. 

In truth, none of us have to know exactly what we are doing. In terms of finances, we shouldn’t be criticized for the way we choose to handle this transition into adulthood.

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