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Benefits of Student Apartments vs. Traditional Apartments in Austin, Texas (Updated for 2024)

By Ellen

If you attend UT Austin, you may be getting ready to sign your first lease near campus. With so many options both on- and off-campus, the leasing process can be difficult to navigate.

Read Next: Best Apartments in West Campus Near UT Austin

At Rambler, our team has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the leasing process, and are often asked questions about apartments built for students.

Four roommates hang out in their kitchen at Rambler, their new West Campus Austin apartment

For this reason, we will be answering some of our most commonly asked questions, including:

What is purpose-built student housing?

Rambler lobby

Rambler’s lobby provides a comfortable space to study, relax, or gather with friends.

Purpose-built student housing is the industry term for housing that caters to college students, designed to meet their unique needs. Commonly known as student housing apartments, this housing type has emerged as a prime option for college students and parents. It is the most popular type of off-campus housing near UT Austin.

Purpose-built student housing intends to specifically accommodate a student’s lifestyle, so it offers many amenities and features that traditional apartments do not.

What are the benefits of student apartments?

Study area at Rambler ATX

Rambler’s lobby boasts a variety of seating options.

Student housing apartments offer features that are tailored specifically to students, which traditional apartments typically do not offer. These features typically include:

  • Leases tied to the academic calendar
  • Leases by the bed
  • Fully-furnished units
  • Study areas
  • Close proximity to campus

Of these benefits, the two prime differentiators of purpose-built student housing are the leasing model and furnishing.

Most purpose-built student housing apartments offer leases that are tied to the academic calendar. This means that the lease will likely begin in early-mid August and end on July 31st, complementing the student’s academic schedule.

Also, your lease will usually be by the bed, also known as an individual lease. Instead of leasing out the entire apartment, as in a traditional lease, an individual lease allows roommates to take responsibility for their room (or bed) only, plus the use of communal spaces. In this case, each tenant signs their own lease and pays rent separately to their landlord.

For example, imagine you live in a 3×3 (three bedrooms, three bathrooms) with two other roommates. Each roommate will sign their own lease for their bedroom, bathroom, and use of common space. Three individual leases are signed, and each roommate is responsible for their payment only.

Read Next: 5 Benefits of Signing an Individual Lease at a West Campus Austin Apartment

The other key differentiator is that purpose-built student housing apartments typically come fully furnished. 

Fully furnished apartments not only minimize furniture costs, but they also allow you to avoid the process of selecting and moving in furniture. Additionally, if you choose to study abroad or take an internship in another city, you won’t need to worry about renting a storage unit to store your furniture.

In addition to the list above, some but not all student housing apartments may offer additional services. These may include ​​roommate matching services or meal plans. Certain student housing apartments cater to freshmen, such as The Castilian and The Callaway House; these apartments typically offer meal plans.

Are student housing apartments right for me?

girl laying on bed in model unit bed at rambler atx

Of the many housing options near UT, student housing apartments have recently emerged as an extremely popular option.

While traditional apartments and houses are plentiful in West Campus, there are many benefits to choosing student housing over traditional. Though newer purpose-built student housing developments can be a bit more expensive than traditional apartments, they offer more simplicity and less financial risk, ideal for students and parents.

Despite the growing popularity of purpose-built student housing, we understand that all students have different housing needs. If you prefer to live on-campus or in a traditional apartment, there are still many options near UT Austin. To help you better understand your housing options near the University of Texas, we have developed a guide to housing near UT Austin: What Types of Housing Are Available for UT Austin Students?


We hope this article helped you understand what purpose-built student housing is, what the benefits are, and if it is right for you. 

If you have any questions about leasing a student housing apartment in West Campus, feel free to contact our leasing team, who are happy to answer any questions you may have during your housing search.

Ellen | Rambler Marketing Intern


Ellen is a Marketing Intern for Rambler. She is a junior at the University of Texas, majoring in Communications and Leadership, with a minor in Business.

January 22, 2024

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