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JanOH

? re: Off-campus housing

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Does this seem strange to you or is this a common policy? My ds (20) is a freshman at a local college. There are about 3000 students, 500 of whom are commuters (which includes part-time students, kids living at their parents home and off-campus housing). He is commuting from home and has the opportunity to move into a two-bedroom apartment with several guys who are soph/jr/sr in Feb.

 

He found out that he has to apply for permission from the school to do this and has been denied permission because they need to "fill the dorm rooms first" and "they aren't approving anyone new for off-campus housing this year". He had a meeting with the assistant dean in charge of the process and these were the two reasons he was given. He says he politely (I hope) pointed out that this wasn't going to result in any change for the college because his status is a commuter and he will still be a commuter. There is no way that he will move into the dorms which would end up costing about $4000 a semester.

 

Is this a fairly normal policy among college where the majority of students are residents? I'm just curious. We understand that rules are rules but it just struck us as strange in this particular circumstance for him to be told he can't move to an apartment.

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I'd never encountered that type of housing policy until fairly recently. Some colleges consider themselves "residential," and tend to have policies like that. There may be some commuter students who live with their parents, but the majority of students live on campus and are expected to remain there during the course of their education.

 

My daughter was accepted to Benedictine, which considers the residential aspect one of the "pillars" of the school. It's very focused on creating an on-campus community. Not only are freshman and sophomores required to live on campus, upperclassman must get permission to move off campus. They prefer that students remain on campus for the duration of their education. The only exceptions are older students with families, part-timers or those living with their parents. (My daughter opted not to enroll there.)

 

It sounds like your son's school is fairly similar. I don't think it's all that weird if the school considers itself a residential college. I *do* think it's odd that they won't make an exception for your son though, since he's already a commuter.

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Is there a rule that freshmen must live in a dorm(or with parents)? If not, then that seems odd.

 

 

There are "guidelines" (which is what he was told). If you don't live within 60? miles you must live in the dorm as a freshman and upperclassmen must apply to live off-campus.

 

When he met with the assistant dean, the fact that he was a freshman wasn't indicated as the reason though we had assumed that was the issue.

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It sounds like your son's school is fairly similar. I don't think it's all that weird if the school considers itself a residential college. I *do* think it's odd that they won't make an exception for your son though, since he's already a commuter.

 

Yes, the college is residential college that puts much emphasis on the whole package.

 

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks this particular situation is a bit odd. :) His status wouldn't be changing . . . he's a commuter and would still be a commuter.

 

The assistant dean has now said that he will reconsider the situation and discuss it with his superiors. My son is considering scheduling a meeting with the Dean to press his case.

 

Ds has decided to tell them that his parents need his room for younger siblings - LOL! I told him that he'd better not go there! I've pointed out that he'll be able to buy a nicer car if he lives here longer anyway but he's not convinced :)

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The university I attended had a similar policy. It focused almost entirely on freshmen needing to live either on campus or with relatives. Things were much looser once you had a certain number of credits. While I was there they relaxed it temporarily because they were so short on dorm space that they were renting out an entire hotel next to the campus to house some of their overflow residential students, but the rule was still "on the books." They also had some expen$ive requirements for dining plans regardless of where you were staying.

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Yes, the college is residential college that puts much emphasis on the whole package.

 

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks this particular situation is a bit odd. :) His status wouldn't be changing . . . he's a commuter and would still be a commuter.

 

The assistant dean has now said that he will reconsider the situation and discuss it with his superiors. My son is considering scheduling a meeting with the Dean to press his case.

 

Ds has decided to tell them that his parents need his room for younger siblings - LOL! I told him that he'd better not go there! I've pointed out that he'll be able to buy a nicer car if he lives here longer anyway but he's not convinced :)

 

 

I'm starting to hear more of policies like this. There are several reasons that a college would want as many students as possible to live in campus housing. First, they want to fill their dorms, and therefore, make the max amount of income from housing and board fees. Any spaces that go empty mean money lost to the school. Room & board fees are usually a good deal higher than what you'd pay to rent a nearby apartment and cook your own meals (unless you're talking an expensive urban location), so unless the school compels some or all of its students to choose the dorms, many will not.

 

Also, keeping most students on campus lets the school have better control of parties, etc. They can have strict rules about parties and are responsible for enforcing those rules. I've read about campuses that have a lot of off-campus students, and they often have problems with students who rent private apartments near campus having loud parties, etc. The general public who live in the neighborhood get angry about the parties and raise concerns with the college to get the parties to stop, but the campus police don't have jurisdiction off-campus. So the whole issue can raise quite a bit of tension between the school, the students, and the neighbors.

 

In your son's case, I don't understand the school's decision. If he is currently commuting and wants to live in a private apartment near campus, why would the school have any say at all? Honestly, how would they even know where he was living as long as he kept his permanent mailing address as your home? I guess if they have a policy that all freshman either commute or live on campus, then what he wants to do would be against that policy. Whether your son lives in your home or in a private off-campus apartment, the school is still not going to get the room & board fees. Maybe if they have open dorms, they're hoping he'll decide to live in a dorm.

 

I hope he gets the issue resolved favorably.

 

Brenda

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