Watertown housing offers student accommodations for those attending the local colleges and universities, like the Medical College of Wisconsin. But just because an apartment complex is known to accommodate students, does this mean they are not open to other types of tenants? In this article, we will answer some Frequently Asked Questions about student housing, including what it is, who is eligible, if student housing can be claimed on taxes, and more!
Watertown Housing: Wauwatosa’s Premier Student Housing Complex
What Is Student Housing?
The legal definition of student housing is the “use of a building….for the domestic purposes of students attending an educational facility,” or providing a place for students to sleep, prepare meals, study, and sometimes even park their vehicles or utilize public areas like a gym.
What Is a Student Apartment?
Located off-campus, a student apartment is typically owned by an entity separate from the nearby college or university but is still intended to provide lodgings for students. This is not to be confused with on-campus student housing, often referred to as a “dorm.”
What’s the Difference Between a Dorm and Off-Campus Student Housing?
Dorms are on-campus student lodgings that typically include meals in the cost of tuition. They typically come furnished (though the furnishings tend to take a beating due to high turnover rates of students living in their spaces), and they are typically less spacious than student apartments and come with more rules.
Off-campus student apartments will not have the rules and regulations of a college dorm, but the students will be responsible for preparing their own meals, and frequently must acquire their own furniture as well. This lodging solution typically provides more privacy and more autonomy for students looking to practice real-world skills like budgeting, meal prep, and other forms of self-care and adult life.
Is Student Housing Only for Students?
Even if you are not a college student, depending on the accommodations, you may be able to lease an apartment at student housing facilities anyway. However, there is no one-size-fits-all rule allowing residents—students or otherwise—from leasing from a student housing facility. When in doubt, it’s best to contact the leasing office directly and ask if they support interested non-student tenants.
What Is Equal Opportunity Housing?
A large part of student housing is ensuring that all applicants are given a fair shake at landing an apartment without fear of facing discrimination based on sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other factor that may place an individual in a “protected class” as enforced by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). The concept of equal opportunity housing was inspired by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prompted the Fair Housing Act and with it, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Together, these acts serve to defend the rights of “protected classes” of citizens, who may face discrimination based on:
· Religious preferences
· Marriage status
· Family status
· And those receiving income from public assistance programs
Most student housing participates in Equal Opportunity Housing practices; but if you aren’t sure, look for their logo on the company website, or call the leasing office and ask!
Can Student Housing Be Claimed On Taxes?
Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is that no—neither parents nor students paying for student housing themselves are granted deductions or credits to cover the cost of rent. However, there are other steps you can take to maximize your tax incentives while minimizing your cost of living. Here are some of the top benefits students should see if they are eligible for during tax season:
1. Tuition and Fees Deduction: To be eligible for this credit, a student must be enrolled in at least one course at an accredited institution. This deduction can reduce the quantity of taxable income by as much as $4,000.
2. American Opportunity Credit: In order to be eligible for this form of tax relief, a student must not have completed four years of college courses before the tax season in question. Students must be enrolled at least part-time working towards a degree or certificate, and must not be convicted of any state or federal felony in order to qualify.
3. Lifetime Learning Credit: This type of tax credit allows students to claim credits for furthering their career through job skill improvement courses or continuing education. This credit does not require a student to be pursuing a degree, but to be eligible, they must be enrolled in at least one course at an accredited institution.
Does Student Housing Check Credit?
While on the surface this may seem like a simple question, the answer is generally nuanced and dependent on the circumstances of the student and their desired lodgings. For example, if a student is interested in leasing a room from a homeowner, they might not require strict screening practices like a credit check. Also, if you have poor or nonexistent credit, you can sometimes skirt by without a credit check by signing up for shared housing or group leases. Obviously, the landlord will want at least one person to be responsible for the rent money/credit check, but this is one way that you might be able to land housing that would otherwise be outside of your range.
A third option is to seek a cosigner, as in the case with student apartment complexes or other institutions that are likely to check your credit. This can be a parent or an acquaintance with a good credit score who is comfortable taking on the risk with you. As a general rule, the more formal the student housing, the likelier the leaser will be to require a credit check.
Why Watertown Housing?
After weighing all of these important factors that determine where and how you get to spend your college years, it can be exhausting looking for adequate student housing. Ideally, you will land a location that is flexible with students who are still in the process of building their credit, near campus, and with modern touches and amenities like public study halls or a workout room. This hunt can seem challenging, especially with the current housing shortage–but with new apartment complexes like Watertown opening up just across the street from the MCW campus, the tides are beginning to turn.
If you’re looking specifically for MCW student housing opportunities, why not take it directly from MCW’s website that Watertown Apartments are some of the best options for incoming medical students? Watertown Apartments are due to open to MCW students in August of 2022. For floorplans and availability, contact us today!