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Student housing cooperative


Student housing cooperative

A student housing cooperative, also known as co-operative housing, is a housing cooperative for student members. Members live in alternative cooperative housing that they personally own and maintain. These houses are specifically designed to lower housing costs while providing an educational and community environment for students to live and grow in. They are, in general, nonprofit, communal, and self-governing,[1] with students pooling their monetary and personal resources to create a community style home. Many student housing cooperatives share operation and governing of the house. As with most cooperatives, student housing coops follow the Rochdale Principles and promote collaboration and community work done by the members for mutual benefit.

Most student housing coops in North America are members of NASCO.


  • History 1
  • Management of Student Housing Cooperatives 2
  • Partial List of Student Housing Cooperatives 3
    • Canada 3.1
    • United Kingdom 3.2
    • United States 3.3
    • Australia 3.4
  • References 4


Several of the earliest US student cooperatives (e.g. at University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida founded in 1931 and the Michigan Socialist House at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan founded in 1932.

Others were formed to provide a more inclusive and supportive environment for students. Many student housing cooperatives are focused around socialist principles or political activism (Michigan Socialist House), veganism or vegetarianism, racial or ethnic identity (Biko), or environmental concerns.

Throughout the twentieth century, student housing cooperatives expanded, but some floundered. Many formed coalitions in the face of rising debt or bankruptcy.[4] The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) was formed in 1968 as a way to link existing cooperatives together while educating and improving cooperatives across North America.[5] Today, NASCO primarily serves as an association that promotes development and communication amongst coops and promotes communal living.

Management of Student Housing Cooperatives

There is not a standard way of running a housing cooperative. Most student housing cooperative members have full voting privileges on issues such as rent, future members, and community activity and then maintain an elected board of committee members who oversee the running of the cooperative.[6] Many student housing cooperatives require work shifts that help lower the overall cost of living. These may include chores or cooking. Some coops award points to the type of chore and members are required to complete a certain number of points a week.[7] All cooperatives expect members to contribute assistance throughout the year to keep the cooperative running smoothly and efficiently. It is up to the individual coops as to whether the members elect a board or committee to oversee the entire cooperative.

Partial List of Student Housing Cooperatives


Student co-operatives are situated in close proximity to colleges and universities. The second biggest student co-operative is Waterloo Co‑operative Residence Inc. in Waterloo, Ontario with 800 resident members.

The East Coast is represented by:

Central Canada is represented by:

The West Coast is represented by:

Many of the co-ops are members of The Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada and NASCO.

United Kingdom

Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative provides affordable, democratically run housing for its 106 members.

The Student Co-operative Dwellings was set up to stimulate greater opportunities for students to live in co-operatives.

There are two operational student housing co-operatives in the UK:

Both are members of Students for Cooperation, a UK wide federation of student co-operatives which includes a number of other groups across the UK working to establish student housing co-operatives.[8]

An unsuccessful plan to launch a student housing co-operative took place in 2004, when MMUnion partnered with the National Union of Students and Confederation of Co-operative Housing to offer cheaper cooperatively owned alternatives to city housing for Manchester Metropolitan University students. The NUS plan unfortunately fell through as NUS management changed.[9]

United States

Artist, student and community co-operatives are common in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of these housing co-operatives are members of organizations such as NASCO.

Currently, the biggest student co-op is the Berkeley Student Cooperative, formerly known as the University Students Cooperative Association, in Berkeley, CA with 1300 students living in 17 houses and 3 apartment complexes. Other large-scale co-op systems include MSU Student Housing Cooperative of Michigan State University, the Inter-Cooperative Council at the University of Michigan, and UCLA University Cooperative Housing Association with 400+ students.

Other examples of such cooperatives include:


Three student housing cooperatives are presently operating in Australia.

  • STUCCO Cooperative Ltd in Newtown, founded in 1982
  • Canberra Student Housing Co-op in Canberra, founded in 2010
  • Bareport in Melbourne, founded in 2014[10]


  1. ^ "About our Cooperative". MSU Student Housing Cooperative. 
  2. ^ The Dean of Women By Lois Kimball Mathews Rosenberry
  3. ^ "Mission & Founding". HER House. 
  4. ^ "About Us". Riverton Community Housing. 
  5. ^ "About Us". NASCO. 
  6. ^ "Committees". MSU Student Housing Cooperative. 
  7. ^ "Workshift". Berkeley Student Cooperative. 
  8. ^ "Housing Co-op List". Students for Cooperation. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Housing co-op plans for students
  10. ^ Bareport Housing Co-operative
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