“How do I apply?”

Application and details can be found at www.collegehouses.org/join

“Can I take a tour?”

We have virtual tours online at each house page. If you would like to take a tour in person, you must contact the house Membership Coordinator to schedule a tour in advance. Our house membership coordinators are also students; if you show up without an appointment, they may not be on site.

“Can I live there for just one semester?”

Yes, we have Spring only contracts and Summer session 1 & 2 contracts. However College Houses does not offer FALL-ONLY contracts; though, we do have a standardized contract cancellation process which includes a reduced-penalty semester cancellation option. If you want to live in College Houses for the fall only, you must sign a contract for the entire academic year and submit a contract cancellation request for the spring.

“What do I need to bring with me?”

All rooms are furnished with the basic furniture and storage facilities. This includes a bed, desk, chair, and dresser. You will need to bring your own sheets, pillows, blankets, personal items, and a desk lamp if you wish. Do not bring any high electrical load appliances such as a hot plate, etc. You are encouraged to bring your own computer even though we provide computer facilities.
You may bring your own furniture, but if you do not remove your personal furniture from the property when you leave, College Houses will charge you for the disposal of your furniture.

“Is parking available?”

Yes, but parking is only available for College Houses residents, and there is not always enough for the entire population. We use a parking sticker system, and we do tow in order to keep as many spaces available for members as possible. Parking for residents is $125 per semester ($250 for the year up-front). for more information, please review our Parking Policy.

“What if I have dietary restrictions or allergies?”

  • All houses offer a vegetarian option for lunch and dinner. Each house may vary the emphasis according to their member interest each semester. If you have a medically-diagnosed food restriction, you can report the restriction to the menu planner for your house and discuss options for reasonable accommodations. Typically, the houses maintain a list of known restrictions, and the menu planner works with the cooks in an effort to label any dishes containing a known restrictions. If your food allergy is severe or life threatening, you may be interested in pursuing other housing options where you have greater control over your environment. College Houses makes it’s best efforts for reasonable accommodations; however, our kitchens contain food prepared by the house AND personal food brought in by our members, so it is difficult to completely eliminate any risk of exposure.
  • Food buyers, menu planners, and cooks also have the difficult task of balancing the dietary restrictions and preferences for a group of 61-120 members while working within a budget of under $4 per member per day (the bulk of their budget is typically directed to staple foods rather than specialty requests). If a meal is served that doesn’t meet your preferences, there are typically leftovers from previous meals and several other food options available in the house. The menu planners are also open to feedback and discussing ideas for new menus. For example, an elected menu planner may not have a lot of experience with vegan meals, but a vegan resident may be able to bolster their confidence and increase the number of vegan options at meals by sharing recipes they enjoy that could be scaled up to prepare in bulk for the house.

“Which room will I get?” 

Room assignments are managed by the house membership coordinators (www.collegehouses.org/contact), not the office.

You may not find out your room assignment until check in, as room assignments are subject to change. If you need to send mail to the house in advance, contact the membership coordinator to ask the best way to address your mail.

“Can I request a specific roommate?”

Once BOTH of you have active double contracts at the same house, you should both email the membership coordinator requesting to room together (typically we are able to accommodate these requests if we receive them a few weeks in advance.)

“Are pets allowed?”

Cats are allowed. Other small animals have sometimes been accepted at the discretion of the house. Each house sets a limit on pets and you may request that your pet be allowed. Do not plan on bringing your pet when you first move in. We do not accept dogs or potentially dangerous animals regardless of size. There is a non-refundable $50 pet fee for each pet, and an additional $200 refundable pet deposit.

“What about emotional support animals?”

Per the Fair Housing Act, College Houses provides reasonable accommodations for an emotional support or assistance animal in the resident’s room. This accommodation does not extend to common or shared areas (such as the kitchen, dining room, study rooms, etc.) unless the animal is also a registered Service Animal. An emotional support animal is an animal that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling when there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the person’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. Typically, an emotional support animal is prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health professional and is an integral part of a person’s treatment process. If you have an emotional support animal, you can provide a current letter from a licensed clinical professional or healthcare provider familiar with the history and functional limitations of you condition. This letter would need to confirm that the support animal is necessary to afford you an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling and that there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between your disability and the assistance the animal provides. This letter would only be used to confirm your accommodation request; the information provided would not be maintained in your College Houses file.

“What is labor?”

Labor is your share of the work necessary to operate the house. This typically requires 4-6 hours per week by each person at the house. Opsis and Nueces typically require fewer hours. Whatever is done at your home is done at the co-op. Cooking, cleaning, doing dishes, mopping, minor maintenance, etc., are all part of the system. The first two weeks are flexible in that you sign up based on your schedule. By that time, schedules are set and then you will be assigned permanent duties for the rest of the semester. While some flexibility is allowed, it is critical that you come prepared to do what is assigned.

“Can I do laundry there?”

There are multiple pay-to-use washers and driers available in all of our houses.

“Can I use other houses’ facilities?”

Yes, amenities such as the Pearl Street swimming pool and the 21st Street bike shed and recreation room are open to all members. You are expected to follow all their house rules.

“Must I move out between semesters?”

Not if you have a contract for the next semester. You are welcome to stay and be part of the group that usually stays around. However, the kitchens are officially closed.

“What is cooperative living like and what advice can you offer on how to select a house?”

Living in a co-op is great. You have the opportunity to meet a lot of people and form strong friendships. You have control of your house and your money, and the ability to effect real change. There is always something to do, and you usually have different things to choose from. The houses are close to campus and to each other, so you really feel like you are part of a community. You put in some labor, but it’s less than if you lived by yourself and had to cook and clean everything all the time. If you are quiet or not very social, then you can keep to yourself and still benefit from the cooperative system. If you are social, then you will meet a lot of great people.

For more on co-op living, please read our overview at What is a Co-op?

The house “personalities” reflect the members who live there, which means they change every year. Because of this, if you are particular about finding the perfect match among our houses, the best approach is to contact the Membership Coordinators at the houses. These are current residents who can give you a first-hand view of their house culture. Their emails are listed on the Contact page.

“Do things always run smoothly?”

Well, no. Sometimes a meal just doesn’t turn out right, or maybe the cooks didn’t prepare enough of something. Or maybe someone didn’t do their labor and that affected something else. But that is why there are regular house committee meetings that you should participate in to help solve house problems when they arise.

“Who owns College Houses?”

As a cooperative, Texas recognizes us as our own business. The member elected board of directors is our legal authority. Isn’t that great! There are no other owners, just us!