Living off campus reduces Simpson-funded financial assistance by $2,780 per semester

by Vania Quiroz

For senior Laura Becker, deciding to live off campus wasn’t a big deal.

“The only option to live in a campus apartment is to have four or so roommates,” Becker said. “I need my own space and the rooms at Simpson are very small. Now in my apartment I have a walk-in closet.”

Every semester Simpson students petition for permission to live off campus, and they have to get approval from the Business Office, Financial Assistance and Student Development. However, it doesn’t come without drawbacks: modifications are made to financial aid packages.

“When they come to me, we tell the student how it’s going to affect them and check a little mark that says the student has been counseled on what would happened to his financial aid, and don’t do anything until all the forms have been approved,” said Tracy Pavon, assistant vice president and director of financial assistance. “Then, when we get a copy of the forms what we do is we reduce our Simpson funded financial assistance by half of the standard room and board costs.”

This reduction translates to $2,780 per semester, but it can be less if the student keeps their meal plan. For Becker, this wasn’t an option.

“[Financial Assistance] takes that money away from you, but you’re still spending it,” Becker said. “We still have to pay for rent.”

Pavon said when Simpson awarded money to students living on campus, it was subsidizing its own expenses. So when students move, that money subsidizes something else.

“Now, if students move off campus and they don’t like it and they move back, we’ll give them their money back, too,” Pavon said.

According to Director of Residence Life, Mandy Fox, there are currently about 150 students who live off campus.

“Last fall we were completely full and we needed free spaces to place underclassmen,” Fox said. “So when some juniors requested to live off campus, it made our job a little bit easier.”

Fox said Simpson requires full-time freshmen and sophomores to live on campus unless they’re married or live with their parents. Fox said no student should start making plans to live off campus before going through the whole process.

“[There’s a] sophomore who’s paying room and board to Simpson and living off campus because he had already signed a lease with his friends before he had received his termination of contract,” Fox said.

Although she has no regrets about her decision, Becker advises students to seriously think about what they’re going to do.

“There are plenty of advantages such as not having the baby-sitting of the RAs, but you also give up things such as walking to class, Internet, telephone and cable TV,” Becker said. “You just can’t bring your phone, plug it in and it’ll work. You have to make a contract for that.”