Campus / Community / News / April 15, 2015

Off-campus housing option is all in the numbers

Senior Sam Hart and senior Mike Graf discuss their StartUp project in their office on Main St. StartUp Term is new this year as a way for students to work on projects in a real-world setting. (Lizzie Wisdom/TKS)

Post-bacc Jmaw Moses and senior Sam Auch laugh and talk after class in an off-campus house on Tuesday April 14. (Jonathan Yeoh/TKS)

This term, the number of students granted off-campus housing dropped dramatically from the previous year.

Normally, 175 to 180 juniors and seniors apply for off-campus housing during Winter Term, but only so many of these applications are accepted.

This year, roughly 50 of the 180 applicants were granted off-campus housing, a drop from 100 students last year.

Off-campus housing was created within the past decade as an alternative to the housing lottery, when the student body increased to an extent that students couldn’t all live on campus comfortably. Students apply for a variety of reasons, such as reduced costs, freedom with their living space and arrangements and greater flexibility, but not everyone can be accepted.

“In order to have the space filled in the residence halls, we look at about three different things,” Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern said. “We look at how many students will be graduating in the graduating class. … Next we look at how many students are already off-campus that would be coming back to Knox the next year, and off-campus too, you need not reapply. And then we look at how many students are in the entering class. Based on that, we get a particular number.”

That number acts as a guideline for who gets to live off-campus. While Campus Life tries to be flexible with this number, they also try to keep the dorms full enough to still maintain a lively campus community.

For some students, the biggest reason for off-campus housing is the lower tuition cost.

“I wanted to save money on tuition, because I mostly take care of the tuition stuff myself,” senior Nesha Harper explained. “So I thought it would be a lot cheaper to live off-campus, to not have to pay the room and board, and then to not have a meal plan.”

While there are some lingering concerns of students feeling disconnected from campus, students tend to choose apartments closer to campus so that they can still experience campus life and be involved in the community, but avoid some of the Flunk Day scares that come with the spring season.

“You should know who you’re going to be living with, and if that’s a living situation that you’re comfortable with,” senior Mikko Jimenez said. “The difference is that you’re on a lease. You can’t necessarily complain to Campus Life that you want to change rooms. You’re there legally for however long you signed on for.”

For some students, the ability to live off-campus has helped them to learn how to manage necessary living expenses.

“Living off-campus really validates that I am an adult now, and I’m free to make my own choices. I feel like now that I’ve lived on my own, even if I’m not fully paying for it. I still feel like I’m more aware of how it works, especially with bills and saving electricity, doing all the things needed to sustain yourself,” junior Nicole Hughes said.

Sarah McCurley

Tags:  campus life Craig Southern housing housing lottery off-campus housing

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