Off-campus housing policies tied to student enrollment

Skeptical is one of the main words that can be used to describe the feelings of Guilford College traditional students towards the off-campus housing policy.

“I feel that Guilford’s off-campus policy is just another way for the College to control you,” said sophomore Emmanuel Williams. “Dictating (to) us and controlling where we stay is totally against what a college is supposed to be.”

Guilford’s off-campus policy doesn’t match up to that of neighboring schools.

Other colleges in Greensboro don’t require students to apply. They are simply given the choice between living on-campus or off-campus.

Guilford students, on the other hand, must meet certain requirements in order to live off-campus.

These include having 88 or more credit hours, being over 21 years old, having a child or living with a legal guardian within 30 miles of Guilford. The student must then apply and wait for the school’s response. In most cases, few students are granted off-campus housing. The policy tends to be more accommodating towards students with ADA accommodations.

Students are encouraged to meet at least one requirement, but keep in mind that if more requirements have been met there will be a greater chance of approval.

The underlying issue is attendance and enrollment rates.

Guilford College needs to make sure that the residence halls are being kept occupied in order to provide revenue. Unfortunately, the small student body can’t fill up every dorm building, so the school created the policy to meet the required number of occupancies.

“Acceptance to off-campus is case by case, but a lot of it depends on the projected enrollment of next year,” said Susanna Westberg, director of Residence Life. “The goal is to have residence halls full. From that, minus the people already approved for off-campus, we try to establish a pretty firm number of people we can approve to live off-campus.”

If enrollment rates are down, off-campus-approval rates will be down as well.

During the past five years, enrollment numbers have seen a drop-off.

According to Andrew Strickland, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Administration, for spring 2014, the College had 2,162 students enrolled, while in spring 2013, 2,331 students were enrolled.

“For off-campus housing next semester, we had 117 applications and approved 77,” said Maria Hayden, coordinator of housing operations. “Last year, with 224 applications, we approved 152”

This is a 2 percent decrease in off-campus housing acceptance over the course of one year, which is the direct result of decreased enrollment rates.

After the data was presented to students, some hesitantly changed their views on the policy.

“I think it is unfair at times,” said sophomore Reggie Bullard.

Until enrollment rates increase, applications and rejection letters will continue to be a necessary hurdle for students wishing to live off campus.

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