Vanguard Vision

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Vanguard Vision:

The decision between convenience and cost when choosing where to live

This week, we highlighted the increase in campus housing and the ways in which it will impact students over the next two years.

With a 2.75 percent increase, which is approximately $200, questions of affordability versus convenience can make or break the decision for a student’s living situation.  The convenience of being within walking distance of classes and athletics and the practicality of being able to afford that convenience is often the deciding factor for living on or off campus.

The college experience is something we all want and we believe that living on campus can move us toward that experience.  However, the cost of living on campus versus renting an apartment can be shocking.  When one of our members did the math to compare costs, the difference of savings can average around a few thousand dollars.  For students, this can make a huge difference in how they live during their college career.

One interesting part of this week’s story was the creation of more space after the actual number of residents was more than the anticipated number.  In our experience, the attempt to create space actually takes away space.  We consider this to be an example of how better planning would have saved everyone from the headache of trying to accommodate everyone. We hope that the Housing Office will take this situation to heart and do everything in its power to avoid it again, even if it’s only for the sake of business.

For example, one of our members spent her first year at SVSU living with seven people in a dorm meant for four people.  This negative experience was the main reason for her choice to live off campus and her refusal to pay for room and board during the rest of her college career.

When students plan out their living situation for college, they look for affordability.  We believe that the University has done a decent job in helping keep the option of living on campus affordable, but it can only be done with proper planning.  The costs make sense, but that large amount due for housing can scare anyone away from dorm life.

Paying the bill up front for campus housing can be intimidating.  In our experience, we always assumed that the lump sum for the semester to be the norm, but that isn’t the case.  There is actually a payment plan available and we encourage the University to push this plan more than the lump sum amount.  The smaller amount isn’t as scary for students to see and it might even encourage more of them to live on campus if they know this is an option.

In the end, students will have to decide between convenience and independence.  Some students may decide that being on campus is worth more than a feeling of independence that can come from renting an apartment. Each decision has its own consequences, but the consequences can create very different college experiences.  The decision should be made with care.