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U.Va. offers housing for non-tenured professors, among others

Cost of living in Charlottesville 5.1% above national average

The average annual salary for faculty and staff at the University is $77,409. According to recent census data, the median household income of a Charlottesville resident is $59,173, while the median home price is $262,800.

Currently, the cost of living in Charlottesville is 5.1 percent above the national average. Curry Prof. Walter Heinecke said cost of living should factor in determining faculty and staff salary.

“While the greater Charlottesville-Albemarle area had been comparatively affordable in the past, that is changing rapidly,” Heinecke said in an email statement. “I know in high cost of living areas like Stanford, the university helps new faculty with down payments and loan subsidies. It's part of [its] ability to attract high-quality candidates who otherwise would not be able to afford to live and work in the area.”

University Deputy Spokesperson Matthew Charles said the University’s compensation philosophy emphasizes investment in staff and faculty and recognizes that their talent is the school’s greatest asset.

“Our compensation philosophy supports the University’s goals of attracting, developing and retaining employees, using pay practices that reward performance,” Charles said in an email statement.

The University offers faculty and staff housing in the Charlottesville area to non-tenured faculty, research associates, research assistants, post-doctoral candidates, visiting faculty members and full-time classified staff members.

The options range from Piedmont ranch-style and split level homes to Stadium Road town homes, Oakhurst Circle apartments and rooms in the Orchard House. The monthly rates have increased slightly by $30 to $50, with the cheapest option — Orchard House — charging $600 and the most expensive — Piedmont houses — charging $1,375 per month.

However, not all faculty and staff opt for on-Grounds housing. Joe Garofalo, associate professor and faculty member of the Board of Visitors, said faculty live all around the area and beyond, with many residing in Albemarle County and in Charlottesville.

“We are fortunate to have lots of options within an easy commute to the Grounds — condos, city houses, houses in suburban developments and in rural developments, and even farms,” Garofalo said in an email statement. “Some faculty and staff live in surrounding counties like Greene, Nelson and Fluvanna, and there are some who live in the greater Richmond area.”

Kathy McHugh, Charlottesville City Council housing development specialist, said the city published the Comprehensive Housing Analysis and Policy Recommendations in January 2016 to study workforce housing issues among other things.

“Our objective was to look at where people were living currently, why they selected that housing and what they would do differently if looking to move in the next five years,” McHugh said.

McHugh said Charlottesville is 10.4 square miles; however, there are designated growth areas designed to limit the impact of sprawl, so options for building new housing is limited.

“Obviously the Charlottesville housing market was/is influenced by the larger economy. I do know lots of folks have bought outside of town, whether because of affordability, value or the simple fact they want to live ‘out in the country,’” Jennifer Stertzer, chair of the University General Faculty Council, said in an email statement. “On the other hand, colleagues have recently purchased homes in Charlottesville — condos, town homes, single residences — so that's encouraging.”

Heinecke said it is also important to think about wages of the University staff in particular.

“While it is important to think about the cost of housing for younger faculty, it is as important or more important to think about affordability for staff at the University, especially for contract workers who do not make a living wage,” Heinecke said. “It can't be an either or but must be a both. Gentrification is a real issue in Charlottesville.”