Can Rexburg afford married students?

Married students at BYU-Idaho are struggling to find housing in Rexburg and are having to look for housing outside of the city.

Cami Kubie, manager of Central Park Apartments said she has seen an increase of married couples looking for housing recently.

“We definitely always have a wait list and we had quite a few people come in that have not been able to find housing in the area,” Kubie said.

There were about 120 more married couples in the Spring 2016 Semester compared to the Spring 2015 Semester. Out of 13,742 total students, 3,478 were married according to

Shannon Pofelski, a junior studying English, said it was very difficult to find housing this semester and she and her husband were worried they would not be able to find somewhere to live.

“It was very difficult to find a place to stay this semester,” Pofelski said. “We lived out of the area until we found our apartment. We started casually looking around online at complexes and adding our name to waiting lists back in February and March of this year. We started calling around places we saw on Craigslist in May, only to find that the availability had already been filled. We started to panic at this point.”

Jerry Merrill, Mayor of Rexburg, said in a city council meeting he had received a letter from a distressed father who was thinking about moving outside of Rexburg because they were having such a difficult time finding housing for his family since there is no housing available here.

“The family is having to move to Jefferson County or St. Anthony because of lower priced housing that is over there,” Merrill said.

NATHAN FLEMING | Scroll Photography The Cedars at Hemming Village Apartments is a community complex that is being built to provide more housing for married students and for single students.

NATHAN FLEMING | Scroll Photography
The Cedars at Hemming Village Apartments is a community complex that is being built to provide more housing for married students and for single students.

Merrill said that the city is working to find places that they can build more apartment complexes in.

“We are working with developers to identify plots of land within the city that make the best sense to build apartment complexes on,” Merrill said. “Since the conversion of Ricks College to BYU-I, the land prices here in Rexburg have increased substantially, and that has made it a bit more difficult to build a project with enough return on investment for investors to be interested.”

Pofelski said she and her husband have considered living outside of Rexburg because they had not been able to find housing in the area.

“We definitely considered places like Teton, St. Anthony, Rigby and even Idaho Falls,” Pofelski said. “We considered taking a loan out to buy a place that was not for rent because we were that desperate for a place to live.”

Ken Ockler, manager of University Village apartments, said he has had many couples come in looking for housing.

“I think that the main problem that I have heard from people coming in is that there is a big lack of married housing that is approved housing or that are in the area,” Ockler said.

There are about 60 married housing complexes around Rexburg, according to BYU-I Housing and Student Living Office.

Pofelski said it has been very frustrating and stressful to find an apartment this semester.

“We didn’t find a place until about two weeks before our wedding which was three weeks before the semester started,” Pofelski said. “It just added extra stress. We don’t love the place we live right now but we don’t have any other choice but to stay because there is no other availability.”

Michael Juchau, a BYU-I alumnus who still resides in Rexburg, said that one solution that he thinks would help solve the housing problem would be to use land for parking lots and convert it to apartment complexes.

Pofelski said that she thinks that the most obvious solution is to build more apartments for married housing.


'Can Rexburg afford married students?' have 17 comments

  1. September 20, 2016 @ 7:16 pm Josh

    The title is a little strange for this article. Only one mention about the price of land being more expensive. Obviously we need more married student housing. As far as I’m aware, there’s no such thing as BYUI approved married housing, that only exists for single students (which is ridiculous, why do single students get babysat so much and married students don’t?). I don’t think this really has anything to do with the price of land, but everything to do with how much money a complex can get by having single students. If you can charge 6 students $1000 each for a semester instead of charging one couple $600 a month, then of course you’d try to make more money. I think in part the majority of married student housing is so old is because it’s possible to make more money off of single students.


    • September 20, 2016 @ 8:04 pm Brittney Bush

      Very true. You do the math and most of the single housing comes to about 2000 a month when 6 kids are living there paying a 1000 for the semester. Most 3 bedroom apartments range around 900 a month. The whole semester is 2700. Divide that by 6 students (if they did not have to live in aproved housing) and they’d only be paying 450 a semester. So yeah, single student housing makes more money. Hence why developers are throwing up tons of single housing.


  2. September 20, 2016 @ 9:03 pm Jack

    I really wish people would call the type of housing by it’s true name. There is no such thing as married student housing. It is called community housing. Even the BYU-Idaho’s housing site calls it that. The only “married student” housing is University Village which is owned by BYU-Idaho. It’s time to unite the community and not segregate.


  3. September 20, 2016 @ 9:29 pm Elle

    I feel the struggle as well. But the struggle isn’t finding housing, there are complexes that have openings that they are trying to fill like Mesa Falls and Stonebrooke. However the reason that they are not filled is they are too expensive and the pay here doesn’t allow students to both go to school because they can’t afford to pay $700 for a one bedroom. Yes there is financial aid, but that has now changed as well. It only goes toward tuition, instead of being able to use that to support for everything for the school semester students cannot take that money out.
    In all reality it isn’t the amount of housing because there is still housing available, it is the affordability of the housing in the area.


    • September 20, 2016 @ 10:38 pm Steven

      I am a Married student and my wife and I were not able to find housing until AFTER THE SEMESTER STARTED. and stonebrook and Mesa Falls were full. So I had to find a place I could live I thought for the entire semester. it was by someone else learning my position that I even got somewhere to live with my family. So no there is a difficulty finding, and it is not just the affordability. and for clarity we called stonebrook to not waste their time and mesa falls called me to tell me there was no availability. In fact I won’t have a place until practically November.


  4. September 20, 2016 @ 9:50 pm Cecilia Huffaker

    Being an alumnus of BYU-Idaho and having been part of the married student community there, the big issue my husband and I found was that a good majority of the married/community housing was being split by single students while there were still single student complexes needing to fill their vacancies. So my question is this: if the single students are SUPPOSED to live in BYU-I approved housing- why are they allowed to live in the community housing that is not BYU-I approved? If that problem was taken care of it might help some of the dilemma the married students are facing in regard to housing.


    • September 21, 2016 @ 7:39 am Not all students are BYUI

      Not all students are BYUI students. Hair school students can’t live in BYUI approved housing unless they are also taking BYUI classes.


  5. September 20, 2016 @ 10:17 pm Annonomius

    We had to look in Shelley we found a nice house with 3 bed one bath for half the price of a college apartment. I had to drop out of school because it is too far to drive and neither of us have any credit. I think that housing up there is a huge racket and the Mayer of rexburg is blaming BYUI for the land increase when it’s actually people trying to make money off of poor people and couples. If rexburg can ban liquor and the sale of alcohol on Sunday’s then they can make a law with a cap on the housing.


    • September 21, 2016 @ 8:15 pm An American

      Making a cap on housing would just give the wrong people control. We don’t want government stepping in. The real solution is to do away with approved housing altogether and let the free market do its job. Prices would drop tremendously and those people out to make money on college students through approved housing would either have to drop their prices or lose business.


  6. September 21, 2016 @ 1:03 am Good Grief

    For real? Go to school in another state and you’ll see how insanely CHEAP housing in Rexburg is. It’s unreal how much people complain about affordability when you pay so much less than students in other states. People can’t expect landlords of married housing to just drop their rent prices, they have bills to pay in order to sustain their properties. Many of them pay the utilities and internet for their tenants as well, they charge barely above what is needed and hardly make a profit. The issue is availability.


    • September 21, 2016 @ 5:47 am Thank you!

      We paid $600 to rent a one bedroom apartment TWENTY years ago while we were in college.
      No, it wasn’t fancy. Didn’t even have washer/dryer hookups or a dishwasher, but this was the best we could find and the going rate. Minimum wage was $4.25!

      I understand that money is tight while in school, but the arguments that housing isn’t affordable in Rexburg are entitled and unrealistic. Adulting in the US is expensive. Perhaps rather than complaining about it, people should look for there own solutions?


    • November 22, 2016 @ 9:22 pm Celine R White

      I agree that housing isn’t that bad in price. However, I think the biggest issue is the wages you make. I graduated and in Rexburg, the most I’ve made is 13 dollars an hour. It’s hard to live off of that. We save everything, but the prices of food and housing are so much even with me making that much. (And the majority of students make at the most 9 dollars an hour. (


  7. September 21, 2016 @ 7:23 am Reality

    Please write an article on single housing as well. Why is it that BYUI has a monopoly on the single student housing market? Why can’t any place that meets approved standards be allowed to become an approved complex? Doesn’t that drive up costs for single students who are now forced to pay $1,100-$1500 a semester to live. Unlike married students who can just live in rigby for cheap rent single students have to live in town in an approved complex.
    For community housing it is expensive in relation to the job market. But think about how nice these places are. $400 rent would be awesome for a clean one bedroom place with a washer and dryer. Go find any other city and look for an apartment complex that is as nice as the ones here and compare prices. Its even easy to get places here (applying process in a regular semester not during the current shortage). Supply and demand is a reality that stings but there can’t and shouldn’t be a cap on community pricing. Yes there needs to be more places to rent.
    So many things people complain about. Parking is an issue too but it is cheap here. At ASU it is $210-$780 to park on the campus lots which could be a mile+ from class.


  8. September 21, 2016 @ 7:54 am Anonymous

    I think part of the problem is that people couples are BYU-Idaho ALUMNI continue to live in those apartments closest to campus. To be considerate of current students enrolled who are getting married on the fly, people who do NOT have a need to be that close to BYU-Idaho campus should move out to those far away places. That is not too much to ask, especially if they have a job that pays better than Government and school loans and minimum wage jobs for poor college students. Newly weds should not have to compete with people who are already done with school.


    • September 23, 2016 @ 12:38 pm Mike

      This is a joke, right…


  9. November 13, 2016 @ 11:24 pm joshua

    It’s simple really, the issue that no one is addressing is the lack of a competitive market. The blame falls to administrators at the school, if approved housing was dissolved then developers would quit building single student housing. By elimination of approved student housing married couples could live in any of the housing in rexburg and vice a versa. The school doesn’t have to allow persons of the opposite gender to live together they can still segregate genders but leave it up to complexes. If say the ridge or another complex wants to convert half there housing to married or even intermingle single and married students then great. Additionally, the schools manifest destiny to grow the enrollment numbers has created an imbalance in housing!


  10. December 15, 2016 @ 2:32 pm SR

    I think that a big part of the problem is high building costs these days vs. relatively cheap Rexburg rent…that makes it less attractive to investors to build new apartments for married students. It wouldn’t be prudent to build new construction apartments and charge less than 700 or 750 for a 1 bdrm apt, unless you could build very cheaply…

    I assume that the law of supply and demand will sort it out though, if there is truly a shortage then rents will creep up, and then builders will start building more units.


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