Our Mission

College Houses is a registered 501c3 nonprofit that provides affordable student housing near UT Austin and Austin Community College. Our mission is to serve as a transformative environment that empowers students through democratic, cooperative living. We provide affordable housing to foster community, support education, and promote personal development and well-being.

We’re Cooperative

Each of our seven West Campus co-ops is cooperatively managed by our student members. Each member contributes around 4 hours of labor time per week to do everything from maintenance to cooking meals. We’re self-governed, which means we elect officers to coordinate and manage day-to-day operations, and decisions are made democratically at house meetings. This cooperative model provides excellent opportunities to learn new skills (like learning to cook for a hundred people!) and also keeps our costs down. And, because we’re a non-profit, those savings are passed directly to you.

We’re Affordable

College Houses pools its resources and labor power to provide a student community that is affordable for all members. Unlike most student apartments which seek to maximize profit, College Houses’ mission is to provide a unique living experience at the most affordable price in the neighborhood. Also unlike other apartments, our co-ops come with all bills, amenities, and food costs included with your rent. That means by choosing co-ops, you can save thousands per semester.

Bar graph showing the amount you save with co-ops, accounting for rent, food, and utilities costs. The apartment column totals $1,419 per month, while the co-op column totals $917 per month.

Costs of living in an efficiency apartment in the Austin area totaled $1,419 per month in 2021. This accounts for rent, food costs, and utilities such as water, electricity, and internet. College Houses offers all that, plus a one-of-a-kind community starting at one of the most affordable rates in the city. See all current rates for more details.

We’re a Community

Co-ops are all about community. Our houses are a great place to meet people from all different backgrounds, cultures, and personalities. Members eat, work, study, and relax together, which leads to lasting friendships — and also the occasional disagreement. Thankfully, the co-op provides plenty of support to mediate conflicts and make sure the community stays a safe and healthy environment for everyone (trust us, it’s better than leaving passive-aggressive notes on the fridge).

Whether you’re new to Austin, or just looking for a new group of folks to hang out and study with, we welcome you to “find yourself in a co-op”!

Meet the Staff

In addition to the student leaders who run day-to-day operations, we have a full staff dedicated to improving our houses and making sure things go according to plan.

Kim G., Executive Director

[email protected]

Kim Garmany has been in love with College Houses for 17 years. In that time, she has been a member of Pearl St. and 21st St. Co-ops, an involved alum, and now a staff member for the past 10 years. She is responsible for administering the policies set by the Board of Directors, serving as the chief financial steward and external spokesperson for the organization, and supporting the Board of Directors and the staff in their work. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.S. in Organizational Leadership & Ethics from St. Edward’s University.

Fun Fact: Kim currently serves as a Director of the Board for the National Cooperative Business Association, which advocates for and supports all types of cooperatives in the US and abroad.

Ken M., Operations Director

[email protected]

Ken Mills has been with College Houses for 19 years. In that time, he held the position of Training and Kitchens Director and is currently the Operations Director. As Operations Director, he oversees food operations, waste stream management, project management and code compliance. Ken holds a B.A. in Geography and lived in Taos Co-op.

Fun Fact: Ken calls himself a history nerd.

Terrie C., Accounting Director

[email protected]

Terrie has been with College Houses since 2008. She handles all A/P, A/R, and Payroll transactions and assists members with billing, budget, and/or membership questions. She has a B.B.A. in Accounting from Southwest Texas State University and been working in the accounting field since 2000.

Fun Fact: Terrie skated with the Texas Rollergirls from 2003-2013 and Team Free Radicals from 2014 to the present. She is also an announcer for the Texas Rollergirls.

Liz D., Interim Finance Director

Liz has served as College Houses’ Interim Finance Director since 2013. Liz ensures the overall financial health of the organization and provides reports to guide the members’ financial and budgeting decisions. She is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and brings more than 30 years of financial and accounting experience to College Houses.

Fun Fact: Liz met Willie Nelson at his Pedernales ranch when he was filming a music video.

Phil P., Facilities Director

[email protected]

Phil joined the staff of College Houses in April of 2018. As the Facilities Director, Phil oversees the maintenance and upkeep of our co-ops. He works with the Facilities Coordinator and house maintenance coordinators to ensure the houses keep moving forward. He was also the kitchen manager and Trustee at 21st Street in the mid 2000s.

Fun Fact: Phil has spent more than 15 years playing in the Austin music scene and has played music festivals across the US and Europe.

Mark B., Community Engagement Coordinator

[email protected]

Mark joined College Houses in 2018, taking on communications, fundraising, and alumni engagement tasks. He was a member of Taos Cooperative during his time at UT, where he earned his B.A. in Linguistics.

Fun Fact: Mark can wiggle his ears.

Kim C., Member Services Coordinator

[email protected]

Kim joined College Houses in 2021. She coordinates education programming, helps members solve problems, and works to improve the unique experience of cooperative living at College Houses. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Education. She then received her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with Honors from Angelo State University in 2020.

Fun Fact: Kim enjoys learning everything about animal behavior and is currently exploring a second bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.

Photos by Laney Parker.