Our Mission

College Houses is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides over 500 beds of affordable student housing across five properties 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

What if you and your housemates could work together to act as your own landlord? Using the cooperative model, that is exactly what our student members do!

Rather than being mere tenants, our members take on the benefits and the responsibilities of self-management. Each member contributes around 4 hours of work per week to do everything from maintenance to cooking shared meals. Our communities are self-governed, which means members elect officers and make decisions democratically at house meetings. Even our board of directors is composed primarily of student members.

The cooperative model provides excellent opportunities for members to learn new skills and to grow as people. Work contributed by members also lowers our costs, and those savings are passed back to members in the form of lower rents.

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 is a nonprofit with the mission to provide quality housing and a great living experience at the most affordable price possible. By including bills, amenities, and (in most co-ops) a meal plan in the standard rent rate, we help to lower the total cost of education for students. By choosing co-ops, students 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).

If you’re a student looking for housing that comes with an amazing community, we welcome you to “find yourself in a co-op”! Learn more and apply for membership here.

Our Impact

Icon of a book representing our impact for higher education.

Education

We enable equitable access to higher education by lowering the housing and food costs associated with attending college.

Icon of two houses representing our impact for Austin student housing.

Housing

We provide over 500 affordable units to Austin students. By providing housing for students, we also relieve pressure on the wider housing market.

Icon of three abstract people representing our impact to empower students.

Empowerment

Living cooperatively is a unique experience that builds leadership, teamwork, life skills, and a value for democracy. Our members take these skills with them into their careers and other endeavors.

Interested in learning more about our impact in the Central Texas community? Please contact us!

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.

Dan B., Facilities Director

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Dan has been involved with College Houses for over 15 years. He joined the staff as one of our Facilities & Operations Coordinators in 2022, and was promoted to Facilities Director in 2023. Prior to joining the staff, he was a resident at Taos and Pearl. As a member he served terms as Board Rep, Maintenance Coordinator, and MemCo. Dan oversees the maintenance and upkeep of our co-ops.

Fun Fact: Dan once helped build a canoe out of concrete, and then raced it in ASCE’s Concrete Canoe Competition. His team came in first.

Ryan C., Operations Director

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Ryan joined the College Houses staff in 2021. He oversees the kitchen operations at our houses, helps ensure the office is organized, and serves as a resource to members and prospective members. Ryan also worked on the Austin Cooperative Business Association’s housing committee, and is a proud founder and chair of the board at Austin Community Reinvestment Cooperative.

Ryan’s great-uncle Robert wrote the lyrics to “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts roasting…” etc.), and his great-grandfather won an Academy Award for helping to put sound in movies.

Terrie C., Accounting Director

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

Sean P., Member Wellness Coordinator

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Sean is the newest member of the College Houses team, joining the staff as Member Wellness Coordinator in June 2023. Sean brings over 20 years of experience in Social Services to College Houses, having most recently worked in housing & homelessness intervention. As Member Wellness Coordinator, Sean promotes a positive living and learning experience for residents and staff. He works with members to determine their wellness needs, find solutions, and provides crisis intervention strategies.

Fun Fact: Sean is afraid of rollercoasters.

Kristen W., Marketing Director

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Kristen joined College Houses in 2023. As Marketing Director, she oversees all external communications, advertising, and public events for College Houses. Kristen previously worked in software, focused on emerging technologies. Kristen lived at 21st Street Co-op, where she served as Food Buyer & Menu Planner.

Fun Fact: When she was a member, Kristen painted the Patrick Bateman mural on the door of 4D1 at 21st Street.

Rick Y., Executive Director

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Rick joined College Houses as our Executive Director in 2022. Rick has lived in Austin, TX for more than 20 years. He is originally from a small town near El Paso, TX, and earned an MBA degree from the UT Austin McCombs School of Business. Rick previously worked as a trust officer at several financial institutions and as a fundraiser for several universities.

Fun Fact: The first time that Rick saw Metallica in concert (Master of Puppets tour), Cliff Burton was still playing bass for them.