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.

Ryan C., Administrative Coordinator

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Ryan joined the College Houses staff as Administrative Coordinator in 2021. He 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.

Kim C., Member Services Coordinator

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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.

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.

Mark B., Communications and Development Director

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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.

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

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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.

Josh K., Facilities and Operations Coordinator

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Josh worked as Phil’s assistant starting in 2020, and stepped into a full-time position in 2021. Josh and our other facilities and operations staff oversee the maintenance and operations at our houses. Josh lived at 21st Street Co-op, where he served as maintenance coordinator and joined our summer work crews. Josh graduated in 2020 with a BSA in Biology focusing on ecology and evolution.

Fun Fact: Josh grew up on a farm and raised pigs for 10+ years. He thinks they’re better than dogs.

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.