Rent for Univ. Housing Will Increase By Up to Three Percent

Grad Student Housing
University-owned graduate student housing.

UPDATED: January 31, 2018 at 7:06 p.m.

Rent for University-owned apartments will increase between zero and three percent for leases beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, Harvard University Housing announced earlier this month.

Next year’s prices, which include utilities, will range from $1,332 to $5,106 per month. Last year, those living in University housing saw a 2.5 percent increase in rent for existing tenants and three percent for new tenants. At the same time, stipends for graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences increased by only 1.5 percent in response to poor returns on Harvard’s endowment.

Graduate students comprise one of several demographics that live in Harvard housing. Only GSAS Ph.D. students receive University stipends; students at the University's other professional schools—like Harvard Law School or Harvard Business School—do not get stipends, but may also live in Harvard housing.


To determine the rents for the approximately 3,000 University-owned apartments, an external contractor analyzes sources such as off-campus rentals provided by HUH and non-Harvard rental websites in order to gauge prices at competing apartment complexes in Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville. Changes in rent are determined on a unit-by-unit basis, so not all tenants will see an increase.

The rents, which will take effect this fall, were endorsed by the Faculty Advisory Committee on Harvard University Housing. The University’s policy on setting rents has been in place since 1983. In order to avoid potential conflicts with financial aid policies, HUH sets rents at market prices rather than at reduced rates for students, according to the announcement of the changes in the Harvard Gazette, a publication run by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.

Slavic Languages and Literatures Ph.D. student Abigail Weil criticized the change in an email.

“In general I think a situation where your boss is also your landlord should be avoided whenever possible,” she wrote.

In the past, any changes to graduate student stipend rates have been announced later in the spring. The average rent in Greater Boston increased by 2.9 percent in the last year.

This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification.

UPDATED: January 31, 2018

This article has been revised to clarify the fact that graduate students comprise one of several demographics that live in Harvard housing. It has also been revised to clarify that only GSAS Ph.D. students receive University stipends.

—Staff writer Shera S. Avi-Yonah can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @saviyonah.


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