Luxury College Dorms on the (Hi) Rise


My college dorm room came equipped with two bunk beds, one window and zero air conditioning. It was a cinderblock box — the standard for 2007. That was then, but these days, some schools are pouring massive amounts of money into developing luxury student housing in an attempt to lure the super-wealthy into staking a claim on campus.

Today’s co-eds are more pampered than their predecessors. Many have never had to share a room before, let alone function with just a toaster, microwave oven and an endless supply of ramen noodles. “Kids today want more privacy, they want better amenities, and in a lot of cases, they don’t want to have three or four roommates,” said Richard Pearlman, President of Zaragon Place, a luxury housing complex at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Zaragon boasts fully furnished apartments complete with 42-inch flat-screen TVs, granite kitchen countertops, washing machines and dryers. Rental cost per unit is about $1,189 a month (a steal for those of living the East or West Coast dream) but quite a burden when you consider the average one bedroom rental in this Michigan college usually goes for about $500-$600.

Meanwhile, students at Arizona State University can apply for on-campus housing at Vista Del Sol. The complex refers to itself as a first-class resort and comes complete with a heated pool, jacuzzi, sand volleyball court and four tanning booths. Rent for one runs about $1,000 a month — nearly twice as much as other one-bedrooms on campus.

Boston University unveiled their luxury dorm in 2009. The complex boasts incredible views, media rooms and washers and dryers that alert you when your clothes are ready via computer. Ironically, BU complained about dwindling monetary resources shortly after its opening.

Sadly, while competitive luxury dorm developments seem to be popping up everywhere, opportunities for those less-than-rich to enjoy them is virtually non-existent. The old dorm of late was the great equalizer, forcing everyone to room together under the same roof and experience the same angst including bad food, bed bugs, roommates that hook-up with anything that have a pulse. Now, the elite can easily bypass a major (not to mention humbling) right of passage in favor of that deluxe apartment in the sky.