Student Family Housing

Monday, December 29, 2014

There are lots of housing options, if you know where to look, in the Twin Cities. We came from out-of-state and we didn’t know where to look.  Where to settle our family of 4 on a budget which was both close enough to campus that the kids could see their dad once in a while and culturally authentic enough to feel like we got a Minnesota experience? With these priorities in mind, we took a few weeks the summer before and searched everywhere from Dinky Town to nicer residential areas in St. Paul. We did a brief drive-by of the student co-operative housing, but ultimately were seduced by the charm of the old neighborhoods on Grand Avenue and set our sights there.

If you do this, prepare to pay for the privilege! We had a pretty neighborhood but an uncomfortable rent. So for our second year, we begrudgingly applied for Como Student Cooperative Community (CSCC). Bottom line: it was 200 dollars cheaper than any other 3 bedroom unit we looked at, and a significantly easier commute for Dave. I didn’t expect much satisfaction from the experience, but I was pleasantly surprised!


The apartments are clean and freshly carpeted and painted, and we feel right at home. The apartments are fairly basic: no dishwasher and the laundry is shared with the building, but the apartments are sizeable. Also there are several playgrounds, a soccer field, a garage and tools, a community garden where you can work your own plot, a preschool and daycare, and a recreation loft for weekly fitness classes, activities, and private parties. 

The reason why rent is so reasonable at the CSCC is due to its co-op status; tenants essentially run this housing operation, which is not as bad as it sounds. There are a few full-time staff, but the various committees (Financial, Activities, Building Managers, etc.) are composed of volunteers in the CSCC community.  Everyone participates in the care of the complex, if only to take a turn vacuuming the hallway once every six weeks. This way you really get to know your neighbors, and we have a lot of fun together at the frequent CSCC activities and gatherings.

Outdoor activities

It is a huge advantage to live around so many other student families. We’ve even joined an at-home preschool group with our neighbors where we take turns hosting our toddlers and teaching lessons. My kids love it.

family pictures collage

The CSCC is made up many different cultures and nationalities, but the community focus makes it the perfect Minnesota experience. To me, the Minnesota experience means community outreach and activities, parks, gardens, helping hand, be it snow-removal or lending your neighbor a cup of sugar (I literally did this yesterday), a variety of cultures and languages educating and enriching each other: these things have defined our time in Minnesota, and the CSCC has them all.

*For more information on the Como Student Cooperative Community visit their website at