College Houses is a student-owned and operated housing cooperative with 532 members, revenues of about $3.6 million, and assets of about $17.5 million. We make college more affordable by charging about half the amount the university charges for housing. We also provide organizational, logistical and financial support for other co-ops on a local and national level.Before NASCO, 1946 In 2004 College Houses lost about $259,000. Members, the Board, and staff put their heads together to deal with the challenge. A large number of student apartments had been built the previous year, leading to higher vacancy rates throughout Austin.
We decided against across-the-board budget cuts. Instead, we increased the marketing and maintenance budgets while cutting some administrative costs. Members understood that we needed to make sure every student knew co-ops are a great place to live and that we didn’t want to save money at the expense of maintaining our buildings.
The result was increased membership with a break-even budget in 2005 and a return to profitability in 2006.
Meeting 1940's (1) NASCO is the successor of NASCL, the North American Student Cooperative League, founded in 1946 with the assistance of the Cooperative League of the USA (now called the National Cooperative Business Association, or NCBA). In turn, NASCL was created by and replaced several regional associations which were formed starting in the late 1930s, again with the help of CLUSA/NCBA. Although NASCL was greatly needed, it was never a strong organization and after the mid-1950s existed largely on paper. The needs for communication, assistance, education, lobbying and other kinds of services didn’t end, however, and NASCL remained as a concept, particularly in Ann Arbor. NASCO's Inception (1968-1978) NASCO Board 1975: In the spring of 1968, participants in a conference sponsored by the University of Michigan Inter-Cooperative Council proposed the organization of a group "for the purpose of expanding the cooperative movement across college campuses." In the fall, a group gathered in Chicago to organize NASCO. NASCO's creation in 1968 meant that, for the first time in 20 years, student co-ops began working together towards their common interests. NASCO began its work almost immediately on co-op development. Through a strong lobbying effort, student co-ops were able to get the federal government to allow the College Housing Program to make loans directly to them. These 3%, 30 -40 year term loans allowed student co-ops to be built in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, and Austin. NASCO's creation also added momentum to the strong student co-op development activity in Canada. During this time of federally funded expansion, and throughout it's early years, NASCO's annual Conferences provided the organizational initiative and support for many student co-ops. The inspiration for new co-ops, and the ideas to improve the operations of ones that already were established, were generated at these conferences, providing the "ideological" support to effectively utilize the government loans. Also, these early conferences helped to organize many of the 'new wave' food co-ops. In the fall of 1977, NASCO's regional conferences were replaced by the NASCO Cooperative Education and Training Institute, again providing affordable, essential inspiration and training for student co-opers. As with the Conferences, the Institute served, and serves today, as place for education, inspiration, and ideas. Co-opers learn from one another, and from the course and workshop faculty from across the continent. From 1972 to 1981, NASCO operated the only movement-wide publications for co-ops. Originally called the Journal of the New Harbinger, and later Co-op Magazine, these publications served as a forum and focal point for the news and ideas of the student and "new wave" co-operatives. In 1981, the magazine was discontinued due, primarily, to…