Rent and high enrollment rate have Georgia college students scrambling to find housing

ATLANTA — As school nears return, metro Atlanta college students are finding it difficult to find housing.

“People are scrambling, trying to find roommates, trying to sublease an apartment,” Georgia State University student Jaurius Williams said.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Thousands of Georgia college students are experiencing apartment anxiety while the clock is ticking to find housing for the upcoming fall semester.

“The prices are ridiculous, the average college student can’t afford it,” Williams said.

Williams says he should be packing and preparing to leave his home in Houston, Texas to start his junior year at Georgia State University.

“I was hoping to get a spot on campus,” he said.

Instead, he’s number 377 on a long waiting list of students in line to get on campus housing.

“That’s ridiculous,” Williams said.


“My son is one of those cases,” neighbor Tonekia Phairr said. Phairr says her son has also been waiting months for a placement.

“It’s too late for him to try to switch to completely virtual classes at this point because everything is full,” she said.

He’s number 30 in line.

Phairr says her son has high functioning autism and making the commute from Marietta to Downtown Atlanta isn’t an option.

“Some of us can’t drive, and some of us can’t afford apartments off campus,” Jayland Ross said.

Georgia State University said that demand for on campus housing has increased significantly this year. Currently, it has more than 1,000 students awaiting housing. However, this problem isn’t isolated to GSU.

Both Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech say they’re dealing with long waiting lists as well as a problem that’s being seen on campuses across the nation.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

The schools are seeing increasing freshman enrollment, a heightened demand for an on-campus experience after the COVID-19 lockdown and students returning back to on-campus instruction, who are unable to afford sky-high rent.

“I’m a single mother, I can’t afford to pay rent and tuition,” Phairr said.

This is a look at some of the recommended off campus student apartment prices near Downtown Atlanta: a home in Decatur, Georgia going for $5,000, another home in Northwest Atlanta priced at $3,000 and several apartments with rents ranging from $1,300 to $3,000.

Georgia State students are hoping to hear good news before classes start in two weeks.

“I’m hoping they get this fixed in the next two weeks,” Ross said.

“I don’t know what his options are,” Phairr said.

“I’m hoping that I still can possibly get a spot,” Williams said.