f you're going to use numbers, make sure they match. Even when a story covers a real issue, as yours does, it takes away from it when you try to make it bigger than it is by stretching the truth.

For instance: "in the past, at least students at the University of Washington could pay rent on a crappy, crowded apartment with earnings from a coffee shop job—a modest dream increasingly out of reach for today’s undergrads. ... a student working 20 hours a week at this new minimum wage would take in $880 per month. That still isn’t enough to cover the $1,181 average monthly rent in the U-district."

The number quoted from in the Seattle times story, however, is the average for a one bedroom apartment, not for the shared deals to which you refer. A quick look on Craigslist - or a quick walk down 17th - finds plenty of those in the 500-700 range. And for better or for worse, this is the way things are in most cities - I challenge you to name one where you can get a one bedroom in the city center on half time service wages.

I am of course giving you the benefit of the doubt that you did not *purposefully* conflate the rent for a relatively luxurious private apartment with the rent for a single bedroom in a shared house. At a bigger, more conservative paper, editors would have caught this. The stranger, obvi, has less of that and more interest in going out on a limb and stirring up controversy. Which is fine and dandy, and plays an important role in pushing the limits in this town - but it also means that you as a reporter need to check your own work twice as hard. When they let you publish stories with this kind of bait and switch in them, it makes you look far more the fool than them.

Of course, if you did it on purpose - if you purposefully glossed over a meaningful distinction to give your story more punch.... Than you've got the beginnings of a much bigger problem.

I am under the impression you may be new at the paper. Wouldn't hurt to give a read to Kiley's story on the murder of sakara Dunlap, with a critical eye toward the editorial decisions there, and to compare it to sanders' outstanding coverage of the south park murder. Sometimes this paper does wonderful things - but it's an occasional thing, and the failures just look stupid, reckless and cheap.… ://

Why anyone would go to the UW as an undergrad is beyond me. They treat their students quite poorly. (I interned there in student development while I myself was an undergrad.)

Welcome to a small-scale version of the US economy..

The Left champions soft science and remedial humanities education, employing gazillions of tenured faculty with state pensions, whose political leanings are..... exactly.

Then the federal government reinforces "every kid going to college" some sort of cultural ideal – followed by a binge of relatively low interest loans.

Universities, gorging on loan money from students, are allieved of pressure to find ways to compete through efficiency, quality or selectivity. So they go on massive spending binges for new buildings, fancy dorms, etc.

The federal government (allegedly sensitized to the self-inflicted wounds of student debt) moves to allow student loans to be 'renegotiated' (meaning: crammed down) with private banking, as dispensable in bankruptcy settlements. This will make loans vastly more expensive for future students, making them more dependent on.... you guessed it... gubment.

Detroit was a warning shot.
Three of us paid $1100 for a 1 BR/1 BA apartment when I was in college...25 years ago in LA.

We did what college kids need to do: build some bunkbeds and cram yourselves into a living space. It ain't pretty, but it can be fun.
Cue Seattleblues to talk about how when HE was a student, he worked minimum wage and paid tuition and rent and had a truck and a boat and golfed twice a week.
"Once you do find a place, you’re forced to empty your bank account to pay for a pocket-sized apartment in an unkempt building with barely working appliances."

Let's be clear: no one is "forced" to do anything. Where students decide to go to college and where they decide to live is a choice. No one is forcing them to go to UW, and no one is forcing them to live in Seattle.

The same goes for Austin Wright-Pettibone's comment that “Students shouldn't have to take out a loan for classes and a loan for their housing situation, just to be able to access the university." Student's don't "have" to do this - they choose to. Can't afford to pay cash for tuition, room and board at UW? Find another, more affordable university. Problem solved.
I thought SB would be the first of the Troika of Reactionary Idiocy (SB, c_s, and Zok) to pipe up today, but it's Zok.
You who isn't struggling with tuition, at least? Most of Europe (with the notable exception of the U.K., which is following the U.S.'s masochistic course).

Though they still seem to be pushing austerity in many areas of the economy, it has dawned on many countries that losses from failure to pay back spiraling student debt loads are likely to exceed the costs of providing the education in the first place. In addition, they are rejecting the true elitism of only the wealthy being able to attend college.
…While there are many government measures that could ease the massive burden of student debt, some straightforward steps could make higher education accessible to all. Tennessee, for example, recently voted to make two-year colleges free for all high school graduates. The U.S. as whole could take a note from Germany and make public universities free with relative ease. The government spends around $69 billion subsidizing college education and another $107.4 billion on student loans. Tuition at all public universities comes to much less than that, around $62.6 billion in 2012. By restructuring the education budget, the cost of attending public universities could easily be brought down to zero. This would also put pressure on private universities to lower their cost in order to be more competitive.

At least for now, however, learning German might be the best financial choice an American high school student can make
(You know who isn't struggling with tuition, at least?)
@7 Gotta' love Matt from Denver, who in the face of reasoned argument says – in essence - nothing of value.

Question Matty – How ELSE would the cost of education have far exceeded inflation?
Gotta love zok describing his own disoriented rant as a "reasoned argument." If that's the case, most of my posts are brilliant arguments that make Aristotle wish for reincarnation just so he can have the pleasure of my discourse.
This is sad. When I moved here 25 years ago, just out of college, I rented a room in a nice house in the U District for $125 a month. Easily affordable with my minimum wage job ($4.25/hr).
Affordable shared housing can be had north of UW in Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, or Shoreline. Many of those locations offer Burke-Gilman access, park and rides and Metro/Sound Transit routes. A young, reasonably fit person could bike the 11-12 miles on the Burke-Gilman from Kenmore to UW (not one hill to speak of on the route) without breaking a sweat.

Spare me the whining about having to commute - I spent my college career commuting M-F. Years of it. Got tons of reading done while bus commuting. Shit, back then all this mobile tech didn't exist: these tools offer one the ability to be productive on the move, allowing a student to do much more than read a book. I crashed on a friend's couch every now and then during finals/project deadlines. This article is the junior version of those written by people whining about not being able to afford living in the downtown core.
All the whining in the The Stranger about the high cost of housing in the region is to absolutely no avail. The already rich are getting that much richer off the local bubble, and they have state and local governments in their back pockets (as well as some local media) to ensure the bubble expands forever. Any government initiatives aimed at housing affordability will fail because they're simply window dressing meant to fool voters.

The hard truth is the local real estate sector doesn't want those of us who aren't wealthy to live in this area. They'd be very happy to have us all leave . . . . as soon as possible. We interfere with their plans and schemes to amass greater personal wealth.

So, if you want an economically kinder, gentler place to live, leave Seattle and get as far away as you can or don't even come here in the first place. Because, if you can't pony up, they don't want you here.
@14: Apparently to readers on Slog anyone who makes over $50k a year is "wealthy" and probably a "tech asshole." Really, your class warfare is tiresome.
Hmm. Apparently #15 can't read (that is, is only semi-literate).

Nowhere in my comments appear the words "tech asshole" or is there even a mention of the technology sector. Such is the stupidity of the knee-jerk response to my comment.

Lkely this doofus is a Realtor, property manager, or real estate developer and the BS about my blaming "tech assholes" is merely a deflection.
A young, reasonably fit person could bike the 11-12 miles on the Burke-Gilman from Kenmore to UW (not one hill to speak of on the route) without breaking a sweat.

That's an hour-long commute (one way). How nice for you that you have so much free time.

Affordable shared housing can be had north of UW in Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, or Shoreline. Many of those locations offer Burke-Gilman access, park and rides and Metro/Sound Transit routes.

You are aware, even in the "affordable" suburbs, that neighborhoods with the best transit/biking access also tends to have higher rents than the average? You know, like how neighborhoods in Seattle with the best transit access are the most expensive and the more inaccessible neighborhoods (Magnolia, West Seattle) are relatively affordable.


Spoken like a white guy. You are aware that many Washington state community college students don't really have a better option than the UW?
Thank you for the article.

Education is already so expensive and there is no guarantee (or even promising outlook) of finding work in your field of study that will allow you to live in clean/safe/affordable housing and pay off your loans, eat, buy work clothes etc.

It is not the same world as you 'back in MY day... bla bla bootstraps' assholes pretend.

I'm no longer a student but I have compassion for those trying to get by and make it work. Please keep the articles coming!
As a UW student who just went on an apartment search the best price I was able to find in a neighborhood I didn't feel like I was constantly going to be mugged was in the $1200's. And this is in the mill creek/bothell area. The cheapest I found during my search was in Lake Forest Park, priced at $1100 for a one bedroom outdated apartment that smelled like cat piss. Apartments I found in Seattle were not less than $1380. Full time students have to make time for their courses, homework, and then lock down a job where they are underpaid. Luckily I have parents as a safety net if I ever really struggle, but most students don't have that option. Hope this puts things in perspective for some.
I remember my 1 bedroom/ 1 bathroom apartment with parking garage space for $560 / month in Ballard back in the 1990s. Those were the days........*sigh*
I'll tell you how we afford it - or at least how I do. I'm a senior at UW. I used all of my financial aid to make up the difference between what I was making and my rent. That was the past two years. I no longer receive grants now because my mother made "too much" last year for me to qualify, but not enough to actually be able to help with my expenses. Now, I am working three part-time jobs (and as a result, have dropped down to part-time student status, thus significantly throwing off my degree track), and lowered my housing costs by moving in with more roommates, but I'm still paying $570 a month (which is VERY low for the U-district!) and that still takes up most of my income. My financial situation has improved in that my rent now takes up about 70% of my income instead of 98%. I don't have the benefit of parental help like my roommates do since my mother is also struggling. Two of my jobs pay very well; only one is minimum wage. It's obscene in the extreme what us students have to go through just for BASIC SURVIVAL. Forget anything fancy - I can barely afford to buy two new pairs of shoes this year to replace ones that have holes in them. I've stopped driving my car because I couldn't afford to renew the tabs, or pay a parking ticket. My gas budget has now been added to my food budget so I can actually eat healthily instead of Top Ramen and bagels. Oh, and I'm paying my own tuition this year, or at least as much as I can muster. I'm already over $35k in debt because I've had to take out loans for survival these past three years - I had tuition replacement scholarships up until this year! I've worked since my first week on campus freshman year.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but I can say that it really shouldn't be this way. So far, I've shouldered everything without much complaining, but it's getting to be just a bit too ridiculous now.
@ 20 & @ 22 should be seen by regular slog readers.
@23 I agree. Huskyapb123 & gingergirl181--speak out more about your current UW rental experiences. You're telling it like it currently is (my comment @21 goes back 17 years).
@20: As a UW student who just went on an apartment search the best price I was able to find in a neighborhood I didn't feel like I was constantly going to be mugged was in the $1200's. And this is in the mill creek/bothell area.
Oh my bullshit detector is going off BIG TIME. DING DING DING! Why? I OWN a rental (condo) south of that area, closer to UW, 5 min walk to a park and ride, 2 blocks from the Burke Gilman - which is priced at $850 (current tenant WORKS at UW). Top floor, cathedral ceilings. Storage. Balcony with southern exposure (grow your own herbs and tomatoes.) Parking. Two bedrooms. Mid 80's construction. TWO FULL BATHS. That means TWO residents splitting the rent pay $425 each. Walking distance to shopping and dining - BTW, which you can do at night as its a very safe area. Never felt threatened for a minute by a mugger. I lived there w/out a car for some time, very well. Oh, and TWO pets are allowed.

As a landlord/property owner in that area, I do comps and stay on top of rents quarterly. You are clearly looking only in complexes with swimming pools, fancier landscaping, granite counter tops, constructed in 2000 or later, stainless steel appliances, etc...among other amenities. THAT is where I see the difference, over and over, to explain the higher rents. Believe me, I'd charge more IF THE MARKET WOULD BEAR IT.

Let me guess: you are from Cali, and grew up in a gated neighborhood? "Mugged all the time" in Bothell? Seriously? I suggest that, as a new UW student, you sign up for UW crime alerts - about getting mugged. I still get those texts and I can tell you strong arm robberies happen on a regular basis in the U District.

To The Stranger readers in the "landlord = rich greedy bastard" school of thought, I LOSE money on this rental. Each and every month. I'd LOVE to charge $1200 a month, I'd BREAK EVEN!

Again: Bullshit.
"As a UW student who just went on an apartment search the best price I was able to find in a neighborhood I didn’t feel like I was constantly going to be mugged was in the $1200”

Nice to know UW students don’t like being around black people.

Hey lookie at what I just found. Direct bus from Lake City Way to UW, 15 minute commute:

12315 28th Avenue NE #214

Seattle, WA 98125

$950, one bedroom, one bath

Get a room mate that’s $475.

It's amazing what 30 seconds on Google will do.

Please wait...

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