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Beyond Campus Walls: Affordable Housing and Higher Education

Supporting Student Success Through Affordable Housing Solutions


During Affordable Housing Week in Pierce County, it's essential to highlight the intersection of affordable housing and higher education. Access to stable, affordable housing is a cornerstone of student success, yet many college students in Pierce County face housing insecurity and homelessness. To better understand this need, we have to explore the impact of housing challenges on students and highlight solutions to support their academic journey.


Housing instability and affordability issues pose significant barriers to academic achievement for college students. Research by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice reveals alarming statistics—46% of college students experienced housing insecurity in the past year, and 17% reported being homeless. These challenges are exacerbated by the rising costs of tuition and living expenses, disproportionately affecting students from low-income backgrounds.


The impact of housing instability on students is profound:


  • High student turnover due to housing instability can lead to increased dropout rates and lower academic performance (González & Jackson, 2013).

  • Students living in crowded or unstable housing environments are less likely to graduate from high school and have lower educational attainment (Lopoo & London, 2016).

  • Housing insecurity among college students correlates with food insecurity and homelessness, further jeopardizing their well-being and academic success (Hope Center's analysis of NCES data).

To support student success, it's crucial to implement targeted solutions:

  • Affordable Housing Options: Collaborate with higher education institutions to create affordable student housing options, including on-campus housing and partnerships with local housing providers.

  • Housing Assistance Programs: Advocate for and support housing assistance programs tailored to college students, offering rent subsidies and financial counseling.

  • Partnerships with Local Organizations: Forge partnerships with local housing organizations to expand affordable housing opportunities for students in Pierce County.


As we commemorate Affordable Housing Week, let's take action to ensure that every college student in Pierce County has access to safe, stable housing. Advocate for affordable housing solutions on campuses, support housing assistance programs and engage with higher education institutions to prioritize student housing needs. Together, we can empower students to thrive academically and achieve their educational goals.


Efforts in Pierce County are supported by various organizations committed to housing stability among college students, including the University of Washington Tacoma, Pierce College, Clover Park Technical College, Bates Technical College, Pacific Lutheran University, and Tacoma Community College.


Resources and Further Reading:



Join Us:


To learn more about how you can get involved, visit the Affordable Housing Consortium and Affordable Housing Week’s official pages and partner with local organizations making a difference. Together, we can ensure that affordable housing is a reality for all, not just a privilege for some.


Take a look at our informational flyer to learn more about how higher education intersects with affordable housing in Pierce County.



Thanks to US Bank for being the title sponsor of Pierce County Affordable Housing Week 2024. Your support is invaluable to our community.


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