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Students worry about on and off-campus housing availability in Tempe and Phoenix

Students on the downtown Phoenix and Tempe campus discuss their past and current experiences with ASU housing and what they think ASU can do better.

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Gordon Commons, formerly known as Taylor Place, one of the only dorm buildings in downtown Phoenix, on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

Between the two most populous campuses, Tempe and downtown, there are 18 different on-campus housing options. However, with an enrollment of 68,685 students attending school on-campus in 2022, students say there is not nearly enough housing to support the student population. 

“I notice the housing crisis that’s happening with not enough housing for any non-freshmen,” Crestcencia Ortiz-Barnett, a graduate student studying theater, said. “A lot of freshmen were in hotels last school year."

Several students took to multiple different social media platforms such as Twitter to express their frustrations. 

The downtown Phoenix campus is also suffering from a lack of housing for its student population.

The campus had 11,097 students enrolled in Fall 2022, and there are only two on-campus student housing options available: Gordon Commons, formerly known as Taylor Place, and Fusion on First, an apartment-style dorm reserved only for upperclassmen.

Dale Acevedo, a second-year social work student, said availability in Fusion on First was non-existent and called the housing situation a "nightmare." 

Despite them being a Barrett student, which grants students early access to housing, they didn't receive the housing they were expecting.

"No rooms were available (at Fusion on First) when my roommate and I entered the housing portal. We had to wait a whole hour until any housing opened up at all. When housing finally did open up it was at Gordon Commons which we were not too excited about," Acevedo said. "We were lucky, a few close friends of mine did not even get housing at all.”

Even for students who had previously secured housing in Fusion on First, not all of them were fortunate enough to land a room at Fusion again.

"I currently cannot afford an apartment anywhere in Phoenix, but by the time I got a chance to select my dorm, all of my options were gone," Lacee Ogletree, a senior studying sports journalism, said. "The fact that I actually did have a dorm last year and did not get to keep my room feels unfair."

In addition to a lack of housing, many students feel that the housing they are provided on campus is inadequate for the price of living in those buildings. For the 2023-2024 school year, Gordon Commons cost over $10,000 for the academic year while Fusion on First cost over $11,000 a year. 

Students said security and maintenance were two sources of frustration in these living spaces.

“Later in this school year, I started noticing more and more problems with my housing,” second-year fashion major Stephanie Berry said. “I often felt unsafe on campus and security didn’t do much to help the problem a lot of the time. Overall, housing definitely isn't that bad, but there is a lot of room for improvement, especially for the cost."

Moreover, students say nearby housing options in Tempe and Phoenix are often inaccessible, where apartments have seen a price increase over the past year. Students say it's difficult to balance academics and making rent in an increasingly difficult housing market.

"Off-campus housing is very expensive and stress students don't need while going to school and trying to maintain scholarships," Ortiz-Barnett said. 

An ASU spokesperson told the State Press over email, that ASU has resources available to help relieve housing stress. ASU has an off-campus housing marketplace to help easily explore housing options, as well as provide a list of resources for getting connected to roommates, finding subleases and more. 

However, students like Acevedo say ASU needs to focus on using the housing they do have to support students who need it the most. 

“(ASU) needs to create a more effective system and prioritize those who need housing the most,” Acevedo said. “Out-of-state students, students without cars, and Barrett students, all should be made a priority. Overall, I think ASU just needs to do better.”

Edited by Shane Brennan, Angelina Steel

Reach the reporter at and follow @ShiBradleyTWT on Twitter. 

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