Updates & Upcoming

We’re open!

The Students’ Co-op is proud to be open and ready for move-ins immediately. Remember that co-operative agreements are a necessary and critical part of our identity and our operations. It’s what makes us both effective and special as a low-income housing provider.

75% of our membership must have affiliation to an accredited post-secondary institute of education. It’s part of what makes our student housing truly serve the student community and surrounding community of Dinkytown & Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. Please read about our Safety & Accountability Measures.

We look forward to sharing our home with you more-responsible-than-average, quirkily fun, uniquely special people out there who will call it your home too!

You know you want to. Get applying today!

Progress Report Updates & Upcoming

Safety & Accountability Measures

As the Students’ Co-op reopens, we are implementing increased safety and accountability measures based on feedback from partners and the community. These measures will ensure the Students’ Co-op is prepared for emergencies, its Bylaws and Policies are followed, and that members who violate policies, commit acts of violence, or conduct unlawful activity will be evicted from the property. 

These safety and accountability measures broadly fall into three categories: 

  1. Organizational changes, which change the way Students’ Co-op operates, how members are admitted, and how decisions are made. 
  2. Physical upgrades to the property to increase safety and security. 
  3. External partnerships which will provide resources for the cooperative and increase accountability.

Organizational Changes: 

Revised Mission Statement: 

We’ve updated our mission statement to better align with our values and operations:

The mission of the Students’ Co-operative, Inc. is to promote the social and general welfare of the community by offering affordable, cooperatively owned housing to all students, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status and thus influence the community to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in housing; and to initiate, coordinate, and otherwise participate in educational efforts and programs for the education of its members and others in the philosophy, principles, and practices of cooperatives.

As part of our dedication to this new mission, Students’ Co-op is also pursuing federal 501(c)(3) status as an affordable housing provider. This ensures that we will be able to provide affordable housing to low-income students for decades to come. In the interim, we’ve partnered with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, who you can read more about below. 

Updated Membership Criteria: 

In order to provide affordable student housing, we’ve implemented new membership criteria, including: 

  • A University-affiliate quota: 75% of our members must be students or employees at an accredited post-secondary educational institution. Non-affiliates are waitlisted until this quota is met.
  • Low-Income Guidelines: Members are screened for income to ensure that Students’ Co-op meets IRS low-income housing guidelines by housing the required percentages of low-income and very-low income members
  • Criminal Background Screening: All applicants undergo criminal background screening. 
Governance Changes:

A number of governance changes have also been implemented, including: 

  • Addition of Alumni Advisors: Alumni now participate in the governance of Students’ Co-op as voting members at both board and house meetings. Appointed by Friends of the Students’ Co-op, Inc., Alumni Advisors serve two-year terms and assist with maintenance, management, and conflict mediation in the house during their tenure.
  • Our Bylaws and Policies have been modernized and overhauled. This includes additional powers granted to board members and alumni advisors to address any potential scenarios where a decision made by the House or Board is unlawful or in grievous violation of the Students’ Co-operative mission. This includes delaying the implementation of unlawful decisions and alerting external entities of any issues. 
  • A Safer Space policy has been ratified, which states our zero-tolerance approach to member criminal violence, threats of violence, and discrimination and outlines a process for dealing with any incidents. 
  • A Safety Plan has been published on our website, which covers a wide variety of safety and security measures, including fire safety, severe weather, personal safety, and building security. 

Physical Upgrades: 

Building Security: 
  • A robust security system has been installed on the property, including security cameras connected to a multifunctional internal server, which will monitor activity both indoors and outdoors going forward. 
  • Motion-activated flood lights have been installed around the exterior of the building
  • The Coop has an updated fire alarm system with both heat and smoke sensors throughout the house.
  • Doors, locks, and keypads have been replaced throughout the building, and a key management system is in place.

The Students’ Co-op has established or re-established a number of partnerships to provide support and resources for members and increase accountability going forward, including:  

  • Housing Hub: As our new property manager, Housing Hub will oversee leasing and maintenance of the property. This ensures that the Students’ Co-op remains in good repair, that membership processes such as criminal background screenings are maintained, and that evictions are executed swiftly and correctly when required.
  • Friends of The Students’ Co-op: This nonprofit was formed in Fall 2023 to appoint Alumni Advisors to the Students’ Co-op board, assist with fundraising, increase institutional memory, maintain awareness of Students Co-op activities, and celebrate the vast history of the organization and its members. 
  • NASCO: NASCO is an alliance of group-equity housing cooperatives from across North America. For several decades, NASCO has provided education and support to Students’ Co-op and many other co-ops across the country. This membership, which had lapsed in 2020, has been re-established and will be maintained and nurtured going forward. This means that NASCO staff will be able to provide guidance and support during day-to-day operations and help future member-owners navigate through any challenges as they arise. 
  • NASCO Properties: Students’ Co-op is also on a path to become a member of NASCO properties, a co-op of co-ops. What this means is that Students’ Co-op members will share ownership of the property with members of other housing co-ops around the US. For Students’ Co-op, this provides a great deal of financial stability, as well as additional support, guidance, supervision, and accountability. 
  • Cooperative Development Services (CDS): Student’s Co-op is on a path to register as a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and CDS is acting as our nonprofit fiscal sponsor in the interim. For decades, CDS has provided consulting and educational support to co-ops like ours. 

For decades, the Students’ Co-op has provided a unique, enriching living experience for students from the Twin Cities. We are excited for the new and improved Students’ Co-op to open its doors and nurture a new generation of cooperative leaders. If you have additional questions about the cooperative or safety and security measures, we encourage you to check out our FAQ page and stay tuned to our Updates.

Updates & Upcoming

Renovating the Students’ Co-op Part 5

Rochdale Capital Provides Financing for University of Minnesota Student Housing Co-op [That’s us!]

Arlington, VA (January 11, 2024) – Rochdale Capital, a community development loan fund whose mission is to promote cooperative and community ownership; advance equity, diversity, and inclusion; and provide capital access in under-resourced communities, recently closed a $265,000 loan participation to finance capital repairs for The Students’ Co-op, Inc, a 32-bed affordable student housing co-op on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

The Students’ Co-op, Inc. (the Co-op) has been an affordable housing provider on the University of Minnesota campus since 1940. The Co-op’s mission is to provide affordable housing and a strong supportive community. Historically, the Co-op has been an intentional community 1 of up to 29 people of all genders who share a 3-story, 18-room stucco house.

COVID-19 caused the housing co-op to deteriorate. The alumni learned of lack of governance and substantial damage to the building from non-member residents and squatters. The alumni organized alongside the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) to get the building back on track.  

Rochdale Capital worked with the lead lender Shared Capital Cooperative, a national community development financial institution based in the Twin Cities that focuses on co-op development, and Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF), a Massachusetts based community development financial institution on the transaction which totaled $1,415,000.

“Rochdale Capital is very proud to have the opportunity to work with Shared Capital Cooperative and LEAF on providing the necessary funding to restore the Students’ Co-op”, stated John Holdsclaw IV, President, and CEO of Rochdale Capital. “Our mission is to provide access to safe and affordable housing, and we look forward to having the housing co-op return to the campus.”

“We are pleased to be able to support Students’ Co-op to complete the renovation and re-open to provide affordable and safe housing options on campus”, stated Christina Jennings, Executive Director of Shared Capital. “We recognize that the project required significant commitment and collaboration, and we are grateful for the cooperation among Rochdale Capital, LEAF and Shared Capital that made it possible to assemble the needed financing.” (2024, January 11). Rochdale Capital Provides Financing for University of Minnesota Student Housing Co-op.

Editor’s Note: Rochdale Capital is one of three major investors that underwrote the investment in the rehabilitation of the Students’ Co-op. Along with our deep gratitude for the many earlier investments of various size, the Students’ Co-op will forever be in gratitude for this enormous support that made the renovations and reopening a possibility.

Schedule Adjustments

Due to the unforeseen delays in closing (which was initially going to take place prior to the reopening date of October 1st, 2023) we no longer have a firm reopening date, as we finalize inspections. Please stay tuned for news about the reopening!

Membership Application Reminder

Are you a student interested in direct participation in running your own home? Consider applying online to join the Co-op!

Updates & Upcoming

Renovating the Students’ Co-op Part 4

Schedule Adjustments

The Transitional Board, General Contractor, NASCO and everyone have been busy working on the reopening of the Students’ Co-op. Due to construction delays, we have changed the move-in date from August 31st to October 1st.

President Hannah met with a city representative to do a security review, one of several planned meetings in preparation for reopening. Important deliveries have been scheduled throughout the month, including the Co-op’s new appliances. We’ve already received our shipment of new Co-op mattresses! This weekend, important concrete work will occur in the basement, bringing us closer to finishing construction. 

But the Students’ Co-op’s reopening is just the beginning, of course. After opening, we have orientation meetings, activities and elections to get the house running again. Stay tuned!

Membership Application Reminder

Are you a student interested in direct participation in running your own home? Consider applying online to join the Co-op!

Updates & Upcoming

Renovating the Students’ Co-op Part 3

Finances & Support

We have received new financial support from donors, other cooperatives, and local businesses. Our community’s financial support and encouragement are what give us renewed hope and energy every day to keep up the hard work.

In response to community feedback and the events of last Spring, in order to increase accountability, transparency, and management of the Students Cooperative, we are taking additional actions.

Property Management

We’ve been in conversation about our unique situation as a congregate living institution with Property Management companies. We think we have come to a really good balance between maintaining co-operative egalitarian values and helping individual residents stay fiscally responsible with our selected company. They will also maintain a snazzy online portal for our work orders and payments.

Owner’s Representative

We have also hired an Owner’s Representative, who will represent the interests of the Co-op in all our dealings with contractors — keeping all of us honest!

Permits Approved

Our building permits have been approved by the City of Minneapolis, and the renovations are underway. The Coop has completed the hiring of an Owners Representative to help facilitate communication and collaboration between the contractors, architect, and the board as we move into this next busy phase.

Dedicated Recruitment Staff

We are also thrilled to announce the Co-op has hired a dedicated Recruitment Contractor to work over the Summer and through Autumn to recruit new co-opers for the big reopening.

Hey! If you know any students looking for Fall housing, they can contact us at or head right over to our brand new …

Membership Application

That’s right!

We are officially ready to receive applications! Right here on the site. Spread the word. The more recruits we get the merrier!

Progress Report

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Updates & Upcoming

Renovating the Students’ Co-op Part 2

A General Contractor!

With immense gratitude, the board is pleased to announce we have achieved the next critical stage of re-opening: a general contractor (GC) has been selected to complete renovation efforts! We have found a committed partner in Primo, a company that passionately believes in rehabilitation and will begin work in the next several weeks. With the instrumental support we have received from Co-op alumni and NASCO, we have successfully refinanced and closed the UMFREA account that was used to finance the stucco in 2018. Both of these steps represent major progress in the revitalization of the Students’ Co-operative!

Current Updates to the House

In the 2010s era, external updates were done on the windows, extension and stucco. The current renovation focuses on the internal structure, including: repairing critical joists in the first floor, updating the rooms and halls for a seamless aesthetic, improving fire responsiveness, repairing damage to windows, redoing plumbing, repairing the roof, refinishing floors to retain their lived-in appearance, widening the doors for maximum accessibility, and providing several new rooms for the next generations of co-opers.

Financing Challenges

During summer and fall 2022, the alumni board evaluated several GCs with the guidance of NASCO’s Development Consultant and secured loans through Kagawa and Shared Capital. We undertook a community effort to raise the funds needed to secure the GC chosen by the board, and exceeded our fundraising goal of approximately $16,000. Since this fundraising effort, several large expenses have compromised our ability to move forward, including a large utility bill related to an emergency boiler repair, as well as unforeseen legal fees needed to close the UMFREA loan. We are now $20,000 short of the liquidity we need to bridge the funding gap until construction loan disbursement, slated for mid-February.

Current Need for Emergency Donations

We have several options available if you are able to support further with funding donations, including a tax deductible option supported by GiveMN. If you are open to this form of support, please let us know!

Upcoming Work Weekends

If you are available for a work weekend or two to paint rooms etc., please let us know! Thank you all once again for all you have been doing to revitalize the Co-op. We could never have gotten to this exciting milestone without each and every co-oper, and our friends. We are on track to reopen later this year, with fresh updates to the building and a bold vision for equitable governance and membership criteria.

Updates & Upcoming

Renovating the Students’ Co-op

In order to re-open the building in time for the Autumn influx of students at the U of MN campus, we need to secure funding to pay our Architect (alumni of the Co-op!) and General Contractor. Please see our home page for ways you can help.

Updates & Upcoming

Statement About Events of 2022

Our Statement About Recent Incidents at Our Co-op

[We hope that you had a chance to read our apology about recent events.]

For more than 80 years, the Students’ Co-op at 1721 University Ave has been a stable and positive fixture of the Dinkytown community, providing affordable on-campus housing to the student community. Independently owned and operated by its residents, our cooperative has been a much-loved home to hundreds of students across decades.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the societal turbulence of 2020 hit hard for all of us, and resulted in unprecedented instability in the Students’ Co-op. In October 2021, our alumni network was contacted by a concerned cooperative member—we learned then that the Students’ Co-op was nearly empty, and the few remaining residents lacked the institutional knowledge to keep the Cooperative running. The occupants at this time faced a history of housing insecurity, marginalized by interlocking systems of systemic racism and economic inequality. Our alumni group committed to supporting the occupants of the house and reviving the cooperative structure. However, at this time, alumni did not have any legal authority within the co-op.  

As concerned community members and alumni, we began meeting regularly with occupants and making repairs to the building. We also began working in partnership with the Minneapolis Health Department and NASCO, a national alliance of student housing cooperatives. When it became apparent that the occupants needed more support than we could provide, we collaborated with case-workers and social service nonprofits to connect the occupants to more supportive housing and resources.

We formed an alumni board in late March, 2022 through consultations with attorneys, NASCO, and the remaining occupants. While we were able to successfully re-house most occupants to safe, stable and more secure housing, several people still remained at 1721. The last of the occupants refused to leave by April 7th and we began preparing for an eviction process the next day. At this point, we also reached out to UMPD and MPD to help address the situation. 

From the time we took legal action until the time the eviction was finalized, a nearly two month process, we could not access the building due to concerns for our safety and due to legal restrictions imposed on property owners which could have impeded the eviction process. Knowing eviction was imminent, the occupants had no interest in stopping any parties from occurring or preventing property damage and/or violence to occur. 

Since the evictions were completed on June 4th, there have been zero incidents of violence or property damage, and our alumni network has come together to clean the inside and outside of the building. We have a monitored security system installed and conduct routine walk-throughs of the property. We are working with an architect, contractors, and the Health Department to make this historic property both a livable and beautiful space again. 

The Students’ Co-operative is built on the values of social responsibility and cultures of care, and these acts of violence were in direct violation of our values as a cooperative community. Our hearts go out to all those affected:  the former occupants caught in cycles of instability and violence, their guests at the house, our fraternity neighbors, the student community, and the broader community. We believe that community is created and sustained through collaboration, shared goals, and a willingness to grow; we make the road by walking.

Now, as we embark on a journey towards community healing and trust building after these traumatic events, we hope to work in collaboration to find effective and creative solutions. We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received, and we sincerely hope that you will continue to engage in these conversations with us. Please continue to check our website for updates, or reach out to us with any questions at

The Students’ Co-operative Board
August 19, 2022

Updates & Upcoming

Apology & Update

To our community:

Over the past year, numerous traumatic events have occurred at the Students’ Co-operative. The ambiguity created by our lack of communication during these crises led to feelings of distress and engendered an atmosphere of distrust. When it mattered most, we did not do the work we needed to do to maintain trust and ensure that community member concerns were being heard. We did not reassure those in the community of the steps being taken, and we did not fulfill the need for timely and transparent communications. Many are understandably confused and uncertain about what the future may hold, what will be done to ensure that these events will not happen again, and who, if anyone, is acting to reconcile and redress these concerns.

Our first priority is the student community, specifically those living on the 1700 block of University Ave–to whom we apologize. We apologize not only for the impact this has had on you but also for the heavy burden many community members now carry. And we apologize to the broader community for our lack of transparency throughout this process and for our silence in the public forum. 

We promise to be better, more communicative neighbors and are dedicated to remaining in the community, and at 1721 University Ave. We are confident that with new board leadership, the structural changes that we are implementing, and our unyielding commitment to community safety and restorative practices, that we can work in collaboration to forge a path of healing, begin to rebuild the trust that has been broken, and create a safer neighborhood together.

We will provide greater transparency by posting progress updates on our website, as well as updates directly to our neighbors. When we begin recruitment for new members, we will prioritize University of Minnesota students who are committed to the values and principles of cooperation. Additionally, we are amending the Co-op’s bylaws to grant alumni a continued role in the Co-op Board, and to give the Board more accountability going forward. 

We thank you for your patience and support as we continue to rebuild and we hope you will join us in this next chapter. We look forward to continuing these conversations, this work, and our 80+ year legacy of cooperation at 1721 University Ave. Please continue to check our website for updates, a timeline, and steps we have already taken. You can also reach out with any questions by emailing us at

The Students’ Cooperative Board