University of Utah to pay $5,000 to families that house students

Jul 19, 2022, 10:21 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 12:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is getting creative when it comes to dealing with housing shortages for students.

A new pilot program is in the works, matching students with U alumni living along the Wasatch Front.

In its first year, the school hopes to match 100 students.

The hope is the program helps students find housing with people in the community that already know and love the U.

“I have to give the majority of the credit to our president Taylor,” said Bethany Hartwig with the University Office of Alumni Relations.

Hartwig called him a “visionary” who encourages creative thought.

The team produced the idea to start the pilot program that would help solve a bigger problem that is only expected to worsen as enrollment continues to go up at the U — affordable and available housing.

The program allows U alumni living along the Wasatch Front to apply to house a student. The program runs through the Office of Alumni Relations – that will be responsible for background checks and vetting on both sides of the agreement.

The students would pay the Alumni Office a flat $5,000 for rent per semester. That money will go straight to the families.

“Both parties will go through a national background check,” Hartwig explained. “And (both will) have three non-related references, character references.”

Once cleared, the families and students will create profiles each can browse to determine a match.

Linda Dunn has already signed up to house a student and is excited to be part of the program.

“I went to the U. As a student, I commuted, but my own children — some lived on campus, some lived in apartments,” Dunn said.  “I think this would have been a great option that I would have encouraged them as a parent, maybe even in just their first year.”

She’s one of 100 families that will look to be matched. She encourages others to participate too, adding that she feels it’s a program where all sides win.

“It encourages more of us to stay connected to our alma mater that we love and be more aware of what’s going on today at the University of Utah,” Dunn said.

Harwtig said it’s also a way for alumni to help the U solve a problem and get paid at a time many families are looking for extra money.

“This is a way for you to give back to your community without paying out tangibly — you’re getting paid and you’re giving back.”

More information on the program can be found here.

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University of Utah to pay $5,000 to families that house students