‘Home Away From Home’ program underway at the U

Sep 14, 2022, 10:40 AM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 12:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITYWith the semester underway, the University of Utah is connecting alumni faculty and staff in the area who have extra room in their home with students who need housing.

It’s called the “Home Away From Home” Program. 

The program is making some adjustments to the price — now, it’s a little cheaper for students.  

The price was cut from $5,000 to $2,600 dollars this semester to help things get up and running. 

University officials said they do not make any money off this program. They said that while the money passes through their office, it ultimately goes from the student to the host.

With goals to continue growing as a university by recruiting students in state, out of state, and internationally, Bethany Hardwig, director of special projects and outreach, said several alumni have enthusiastically raised their hands to open their own homes to fellow Utes.  

At last check, there were around 30 hosts and 22 students moving through the process. 

During the program’s pilot year, the University hopes to place 25 students.  

Hosts must be within a radius of 40 miles.

Like the original plan, after going through a detailed online screening process, hosts and students build profiles. 

“The number of faculty and staff that are involved in this as a host is really exciting because they don’t have to be. These are people who are already giving their life nine to five and more to give back to their community and be involved with our students,” Hardwig said.

Karen Ashton, a current host, graduated in 1980 from the U as a communications grad. 

With her kids moved out, she said she wanted to make use of the extra space in her basement. 

“I kind of missed having my college-age kids in the house, and it’s just kind of fun to have that energy going on and another person in the house sharing the space,” Ashton said.

When this program came out, she said it seemed like a perfect fit. 

“These are people seeking an education to achieve their goals, and the idea that you’re part of that when you go home at night is really satisfying.”

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‘Home Away From Home’ program underway at the U