Occupying Off-Campus Housing During Breaks

College life is nothing without dormitories and off-campus housing where students learn a great deal about independence. However, when coming close to the end of the semester, such freedom can feel like it is ending. While it stands to reason that some students are excited to go back home, other may have different reasons to stay and want to remain in their housing through the break until the following semester begins.

For the most part, this situation is geared more toward those living in off-campus housing than dormitories. Although there are some dormitories that have kitchens, those who live in off-campus housing, students are given more amenities, in addition to having a form of transportation. With dorms, it means more work for the University police to make sure everything is safe and sound at a time that’s generally void of students. If you have the accommodations to allow living off-campus and choosing to remain there, why should students have to depart?

For some students, this means taking a leave of absence from any employment they might have while on campus. If they are working at a store in the mall or a local business to earn money for classes, book, etc., then it could put a dent on their plans. In other words, this would mean leaving one job and searching for another for only a few weeks. Staying in the area would allow students to keep working and then use that money for tuition, etc.

This financial issue is a key factor in allowing off-campus University sponsored housing to stay open for students when semesters are over. Today, it would be an understatement to say money is tight for everyone except the one percent. Therefore, if students travel far and wide to come to the University to study from places like Florida, California, or Nebraska to name a few, should they really have to spend more money to go back home only to leave a couple of weeks later? The University could maybe offer a price break here for students that live far away to pay a certain price for living during the year and then pay a smaller dividend during breaks. Who knows? This could be cheaper than having to buy a plane ticket back.

Keeping off-campus housing open for students during breaks should also be considered for international students that are not only acquiring an education at the campus but getting a taste of American culture. This could allow them the chance to explore what the US has to offer that couldn’t be viewed while studying. However, this also ties with the previous reasoning that maybe it is easier to just stay on campus until classes begin than to venture back home and return at a later date.

Then again, for some, living in off-campus housing keeps them in a warm, safe place. If students don’t really have a place to return home, then staying in these houses can be extremely helpful. It gives them the home they might not have where they came from and help set forth a plan for their own home in the future.

Of course, this isn’t to say that the University doesn’t offer its students the opportunity to stay in their off-campus housing during breaks. All one has to do is get permission to remain in their housing when the semester is done. However, so many individuals might be submitting claims to stay during breaks that some get chosen over others. So, while it is difficult to leave, this isn’t to say that the University doesn’t allow people the chance to have a sojourn in the area while classes are done. It can feel like playing the lottery with request to stay, not knowing if you’ll hit the jackpot or have to try again. Still, the fact that this is present for students shows that there are ways to work around issues with housing.

Then again, sometimes, going the extra mile might mean paying a couple more dollars. For off-campus housing like Fountain Gardens, students can pay more to be allowed residency in the area during breaks between semesters, however, here it feels like a commitment than a desire. It is like saying that you’ll see how things go instead of I’m willing to stay here. This goes for dormitories as well. According to the Office of Residential Life Guidebook 2010-2011, “Students staying during the break period are subject to an additional housing fee, which will be applied to their student account. A supplemental housing contract must also be signed by students staying during any break period.”

However, one also can’t rule out the issue of insurance and students. Having students stay in housing off- campus might be sound with their own living utilities but it could cost more to make sure everything is running for them. Who’s to say that this wouldn’t increase paying for housing even more than before?

Overall, we aren’t saying that everyone wants to say on campus during breaks. There are definitely many out there reading this who can’t wait to go home, sleep in their own beds, and get a nice helping of home-cooked meals. These are a few reasons why students should have the opportunity to live in off-campus housing when they aren’t writing term papers or studying textbooks. Although the University does work with students who choose to stay on campus during breaks, maybe more can be done for those who want to partake in off-campus housing during the semester vacations.