For the upcoming 2017 — 2018 academic year, the college is planning to fewer seniors off-campus housing status. While we understand the college needs to allow fewer students off-campus next year due to lower enrollment numbers and the housing income needed for operating costs, we encourage the Campus Life office to consider students’ financial status during the initial off-campus lottery.
According to Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life Craig Southern, a student’s financial aid package is usually not taken into consideration during the off-campus lottery process. If they are not granted off-campus status in the library, students can appeal the Campus Life office for off-campus housing status based on financial grounds.
Due to the limited number of spots available for off-campus living next year, the college should rethink this approach. For some students, living off-campus is significantly more affordable than living in campus housing. Especially for juniors and seniors who traditionally live in, though are not required to live in, on-campus apartments, which are more expensive than underclassmen housing.
Being able to live off-campus can relieve some of the financial stresses that come with paying for college for student’s families. College is an expensive investment, no matter how well-off a family is, but it is undoubtedly more affordable for some families than others. If living off-campus means a student can work less, not take out a loan or be less financially stressed, that is valuable.
Knox works to make the education here affordable in a variety of ways by providing scholarships, grants, loans and providing free services to students. As a college working to make education affordable, it should also consider granting off-campus housing to students that can benefit from it the most, especially with fewer slots available.
We also ask that students consider whether it is personally necessary for them to live off-campus next year if they were considering it. Moving off-campus is an appealing option for a variety of reasons. Students get to connect with Galesburg in a new way, gain more independence, get to live in unique homes and experience what it is like to pay rent and utility bills. That said, if students can afford to live on-campus rather than off-campus, they should consider doing so as students with higher financial needs can benefit from the often lower cost of housing in Galesburg.
Students that need off-campus housing the most, be that for medical, financial or other circumstances, should no doubt get priority in the housing lottery over students with less need.
The college has been open with students coming to the Campus Life office to discuss this issue. We encourage staff to continue to discuss options with students who want to go off-campus and be transparent about what the situation will look like next year.