More students should be able to live off-campus despite housing restrictions

By Iris Scherr

Elm Staff Writer

        In recent years, many students at Washington College wished to live off-campus their junior or senior year. Whether it is due to scheduling or accessibility issues, or a general interest in living on their own, students look forward to transitioning from dorms to an off-campus apartment or house.

However, WC has many strict restrictions, making it difficult for rising seniors to find a way to live off-campus.

According to Director of Residential Life Gregory Krikorian, a student meets the requirements to live off campus “if the student has a 3.0 or above [and has] completed [a] senior number of credits.”

A senior number of credits is at least 90, meaning that anyone with a lower GPA or lower amount of credits will most likely not be allowed to live off campus.

A student that does not have a 3.0 GPA may still wish to live off campus. It does not mean they are unfit to live on their own.

Students with dietary restrictions or other limitations will need off campus housing throughout their college career.

While Krikorian said he does make exceptions to this rule, it remains difficult to live off campus if a student does not meet all of the aforementioned requirements.

Krikorian also said that students with health or mental health issues, students with disabilities, students that live within a thirty-mile radius, and students who are twenty-three or older may be considered to live off campus.

“I don’t know a specific number, but the financial aid office will either support or not support the request to live off campus,” Krikorian said, referring to financial issues and the maxium income that a lower-income student may receive.

However, according to Director of Financial Aid Jennifer Gallagher, “The amount of household income is not a factor for a financial exemption.”

Income is considered if “there [is] a change in the financial situation within the household,” according to Gallagher.

No changes in the household’s income is the problem, considering tuiton is higher than ever before. The prices for colleges are rising while household income stays the same.

“I mostly wanted to live off campus because it was way less money for me to just rent an apartment. My friend thought it would be crazy for [them] to live in this tiny room for two thousand, three thousand per semester when [they] could just pay $150 [each] for rent a month,” junior Caryl Townsend said.

Giving students a choice is an opportunity for students to prove they can be adults, and help them live on their own. WC allowing off-campus housing would be more accepting, not just to people who are lower class, but people who have dietary restrictions, disabilities, and other accessibility issues.

Because the Western Shore dorms do not have their own ovens and stoves, it becomes impossible to learn basic life skills when living on campus. While the campus is planning on implementing more appliances next year, these are problems that should have been addressed sooner.

A Western Shore suite currently only comes with a fridge, a microwave, and a couple of cabinets. Students are unable to prepare their own meals unless they use a hot plate. Providing ovens and stoves would give students more opportunities to prepare their own meals and learn basic life skills like cooking and grocery shopping.

Those who want to live off campus should talk to Residential Life and fill out the form to do so. While the requirements are strict, hopefully administration at WC will realize how important it is for students to be able to live off campus.

Photo by Parker Thornton

Photo Caption: The Western Shore dorms are one option for upperclassmen, but the lack of appliances means students cannot prepare their own meals.

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