Students who are being priced out of the Manchester property market could soon be living in cheaper accommodation which they part-own and manage.
The project aims to provide better quality housing
The city's universities hope to challenge private landlords by offering co-operatively-owned lodgings.
They have teamed up with the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH) to investigate the idea.
Average weekly student rents in the city are £68, while some pay up to £90.
Verity Coyle, from the NUS, said students were entitled to "safe, secure and affordable housing".
She added: "At the moment large numbers of students, outside halls of residence, can pay ridiculous rents and substantial deposits for often appallingly poor accommodation which offers few guarantees and little or no security of tenure.
"But a co-operative housing model would put students in control of their own accommodation - sharing long-term strategic responsibility as well as shorter-term property management."
Charlie Baker, of consultants URBED, said: "Student numbers are growing fast and housing provision is just not keeping up.
"It's a whole new co-operative area and it's realistic to expect that, within 25 years, 10% of student accommodation could be co-operatively owned benefiting nearly two million students throughout the country."
Louise Yates, of Manchester Metropolitan University Students Union, said average student rents in the city had risen from £38 to £68 a week in the past five years.
This coincided with the building of a number of new student accommodation blocks by private landlords as part of a government-backed private finance initiative.
Stephen Youd-Thomas, of Co-Operative Action which has funded the £32,000 study, said: "It's a completely new area that would demonstrate co-operative ethics and values, in a practical way, to generations of young people."