Res Life catches up with the times: No more aid cuts

Parents know that at some point their children are going to grow up and leave home. Guilford College is now learning a similar lesson. The campus is growing with record-breaking numbers of incoming students. This expansion has led Guilford to face what parents face: the necessity of letting

students leave the Guilford home to live off campus. Guilford has long cut the financial aid and scholarships of students seeking to live off campus by 25 percent.

However, repercussions for wanting to live in Legacy or Woodborough (formerly Friendly Hills) instead of Bryan are about to come to an end. Guilford’s policy of rescinding financial aid is a malleable one and has been adapted to fit the needs of the College’s recent housing crunch. At the beginning of the fall 2007 semester, Guilford said that financial aid of students in triples who wished to move off campus would not be cut.

The question this raises is how people placed in an unfortunate situation are any more or less deserving of getting to live off campus. Clearly in hindsight the situation was avoidable.

Community is obviously important at Guilford, however, the community has grown too large to manage, and the last people who deserve to suffer for campus growth (and the lack of housing that comes with such expansion) are the students. The benefits of keeping financial aid and scholarships intact for students opting to leave campus are plentiful.

Students previously unable to move off campus for fear of getting their aid cut now can, freeing up spaces on a tight campus. Not only does it create more living spaces, the new off campus policy makes Guilford more affordable.

In the past, Guilford has offered student in severe financial crisis the option of off campus housing. The student’s petition would be reviewed and a decision made; but how can a review from an outside point of view truly assess the severity of a financial crisis?

It’s no secret that living off campus is usually cheaper. For example, the cost of room and board for one semester in the Old Apartments (with five meals) is $4180 and a room in Bryan with 10 meals is $3095 each semester, compared to Woodborough, which charges from $525 to $755 for one or two bedroom apartments.

The cost at Legacy Apartments, which ranges from $595 to $1005 for one-three bedroom apartments, is cheaper too. Living off campus is even less expensive if you split the cost of rent with one or two other people.

College tuition only goes up from year to year, exacerbating the financial burden on families putting students through college. The new policy makes getting an education slightly more affordable. Of course, the policy does not spare everyone from 25 percent reduction of aid. Students who hand in their off campus petitions late will not be exempted from the aid cut. The decision to keep aid intact is a good one for Guilford College, and with a small campus that’s growing, it really is time to let go of previous policies and change with the times. Giving students more freedom seems like a good step in that direction.