As staff members prepare housing for next year, the Office of Campus Life has planned to reduce the number of students granted off-campus housing. The number of off-campus lottery chances will be lower than the 40 to 50 last year, though an exact number has not yet been set.
According to Associate Dean of Students for Residential Learning Craig Southern, the move is a response to lower enrollment than in recent years.
“Naturally, I’m asked, as any college is asked, to keep your residence halls 100 percent full,” Southern said.
Currently, the college has 1,218 beds in its residential facilities.
This year between 170 and 180 students live off-campus, of which 40 to 50 were granted off-campus status through the housing lottery last year. The rest meet certain requirements, including those who are 23 years old, in their fifth year of school or are married. “The thing most people are looking at are students who are granted off-campus status during the off-campus lottery,” Southern said.
Students who try to gain off-campus status through the lottery have a chance to appeal for financial reasons, if they believe that paying for on-campus room and board will prevent them from being able to afford returning to Knox the next year.
“There have been people who have appealed over the past couple years due to financial reasons. If seniors next year are not granted off-campus and they feel they would not be able to come back next year, they should come in and talk to me. And yes it would be paperwork, but we could do an appeal,” Southern said.
While the appeal would not necessarily guarantee off-campus status, Southern emphasized that the college does not want to lose students because they cannot afford to live on-campus.
Part of the reduction in how many students will be allowed to live off-campus is that rising juniors will officially not be allowed to try to live off-campus. According to Southern, the Office of Campus Life has not been granting these requests the past few years, but it has not been an official policy until now.
Sophomore Libby Croce said she had been preparing to sign a lease when she stopped in to the Campus Life Office to let them know her plans. The apartment she had been prepared to sign on had been held for her and her intended roommates, one of whom already lives off-campus. The office told her not to sign the lease because she would not get off-campus housing, and that if she did she would have to pay for both the apartment and room and board.
“It shouldn’t be surprising. If you go on the College Board website when you’re looking at schools, Knox is a four-year residency requirement. So it shouldn’t be surprising. But the precedent set in the past is a bit of leniency with that,” Croce said.
Sophomore Rachel Watson had a meeting with Southern earlier this week where she learned she too was unlikely to get off-campus housing. Unlike Croce though, Watson and her planned roommates now plan to petition to receive off-campus status for other reasons, not just through the lottery.
“This is a frustrating situation for everyone involved, there’s no real ‘right’ solution. No matter what happens, people are going to be upset,” Watson said.