Avery Boulware, Campus Carrier News Editor
For the first time in four years, rising seniors will not be approved for off-campus housing for the 2017-2018 school year unless they have met the previously-set requirements. Students who are married, over 25 years old, living with a parent or guardian within 40 miles of campus or are fifth year seniors will be allowed to live off campus without restriction.
This decision was made between Residence Life, the Office of Admissions and the Office of the Provost. The administration looked at many factors, including how many students will be returning from living abroad or are coming back after withdrawing, the breakdown of gender in each class, the number of seniors graduating in the spring and the number of freshmen who will be entering in the fall. Some of this data was not available until very recently, which is why the decision was made around this time.
Lindsay Norman, assistant dean of students, said that Residence Life plans the budget on the assumption that all campus housing will be full.
According to Dean of Students Debbie Heida, around 50 seniors applied for off-campus housing for next year, which was less than what the administration had projected.
In previous years, when campus housing filled up, administration had to offer incentives because students were not choosing to live off campus by themselves. Last year was the first time students were not given an incentive to live off campus. Two years ago, students were offered a textbook voucher and were not required to buy the flexbucks plan if they agreed to move off campus.
“Because we’ve done it for four years it seems like it has always been done at Berry, even though it has not,” Heida said. “It’s been a relatively recent phenomenon, but in terms of everyone that is here, it’s always been done.”
Norman said the goal is always to house as many students as possible, for the sake of the college and the students. Students agree to live on campus for four years when they arrive. Berry is designed to be a residential campus.
“When you can house all your students on campus, we can know more about them because we know where they are living,” Norman said.
Junior Nikki Tilka said that Berry should encourage off-campus life for the benefit of the student.
“I think it is vital and important for underclassmen to get established in the community,” Tilka said. “Junior and senior year, you are coming to terms with the fact that Berry is so much bigger than the ‘Berry Bubble’. Why inhibit someone from experiencing that? The real world is where we are heading anyway.”
Junior Austin Drake said there are benefits to off-campus living as well as on-campus.
“I think that in some ways (on-campus living) makes sense because we have the space. But it’s also something a lot of people look forward to for senior year. Giving half a semester’s notice is kind of not fair.”
Norman said she sympathizes with seniors that want to live off campus, but also believes that the situation varies student-to-student. She also said that having upperclassmen living on campus benefits underclassmen as well.
“I think it’s great to have all our students on campus,” Norman said. “Our seniors and juniors are role models. Upperclassman have been investing in lowerclassmen. By the time students become seniors, I hope they are mentoring and modeling good behavior as the upperclassman have done for them before.”
Our View: Off-campus housing for seniors
Our View: Living in a gated community