Benjamin Capitano, then a sophomore RA at King's College in Manhattan, had the (brilliant, if you ask me) idea of renting out his dorm room through Airbnb. According to the New York Times, he had over 20 guests throughout the semester and split the money he made from this with his two roommates.
Airbnb is a company that allows users to stay in "unique locations" through hosts. It has locations in Paris, Stockholm, New Orleans, Washington DC, and more. It includes apartment, villas, and even castles. And of course, dorm rooms. Users have the option of living in a room or an entire house.
Capitano rented only his bed out because he happened to have a couch to sleep on. However, he was not the first to think of this idea. Emerson College student Jack Worth rented out his dorm room offering tourists "a private, single-bedroom unit with sweeping views of Boston Common, right in the heart of downtown." Though both students made money, Worth's dormbnb business ended with a disciplinary hearing. Students at Columbia, NYU and University of Pennsylvania have also capitalized off dormbnb, using the money to offset the costs of college. A room for two during the Pope's visit to Pennsylvania went for $1,000.
Colleges, however, have not had much to say on renting dorms through airbnb. Most housing contracts explicitly prohibit renting, but as airbnb is relatively new, there has not been much commentary on it. Some colleges have changed their policies to explicitly mention airbnb. At the time Worth listed his dorm room, Emerson's housing policy read that it prohibited "subleasing or renting College housing units or beds to protect residents and the community from exposure to safety and security risks." However, many have not addressed it.
This unique form of financial aid may be the new work study.
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