Rent is Too Damn High

Tim Belizaire, Staff Writer

Rent is too damn high. It’s affecting almost everyone in this country, including students at FGCU.

Almost 20 years ago, Jimmy McMillan founded the Rent is Too Damn High Party. McMillan has had little electoral success, but the American public agrees with his sentiment. In Fort Myers, the average price for a two-bedroom two-bath is about $2,270 a month. That is $700 more compared to 2005. In 2023, the number one issue of McMillan’s party could not be felt more, and we see that FGCU students are particularly affected.

Instead of working a part-time job to obtain spending money, students are working one, sometimes two jobs to keep a roof over their heads. This is all while trying to complete their degrees.

Normally, students would be able to find on-campus housing easily, but with record number applications, on-campus housing is hard to come by. And for those students who manage to get on-campus housing, things are still not easy. Christina Maertens is a freshman living in South Village who doesn’t know if she’ll have a spot next fall.

“More people unable to pay rent, means more people living on campus, which lessens my chances of also being able to live on campus so, it is stressful,” Maertens said.

The median household income for a Fort Myers resident is about $51,682. That income cannot qualify you to rent a home for $2,270. The average student cannot afford to have their parents cover the cost of living when their parents have expenses as well.

This leaves some students with no option but to use student loans. Student loans, while a good option in the short-term, could lead to financial hardship in the future. College should be about setting students up for success, but rising rent costs caused by historic inflation will not aid in that.

FGCU students are dealing with the rising cost of rent six months after Hurricane Ian. Floridians are still recovering from the damages done by the hurricane and families are still fighting with insurance companies to pay for damages done to their homes. Workers are still recovering from losing their jobs after the storm.

With so many homes destroyed during the hurricane, people are fighting for those remaining homes. The supply for homes has lowered while the demand rises, resulting in higher rent prices.

All these factors are leading to some Floridians leaving Southwest Florida for a more affordable living situation. Students who specifically want to attend FGCU do not have that luxury, as they will have to live on or near campus until they earn their degree.

There seems to be no immediate help in sight. There is no rent control in the state of Florida and it is also one of the few states where it’s illegal to impose price control on housing. As of right now, there is no end in sight to this issue.

At least we know what the problem is. Rent is too damn high.