Simpson’s dorms: what campus living shouldn’t be

Simpsons dorms: what campus living shouldnt be

by Jack Sawyers

Believe it or not, Simpson College may be paying you to live oncampus.

While this may not hold true in all cases, Dean of StudentAffairs Jim Thorius said the majority of Simpson students wouldlose about $2,700 each year in financial aid for choosing to liveoff campus.

Unfortunately for senior Nick Feller, he wasn’t in the majority.Feller was approved to live off campus and had moved into anapartment in Indianola when he found out he would lose nearly$6,000 in financial aid this year by foregoing campus housing.Coupled with rent, this would cost him almost $10,000 a year.Logically, Feller made the choice to move back on campus and save afew bucks.

However, Feller is only one of many students who would losemoney for moving off campus. According to Thorius, the money istaken because the dormitory and meal-plan charges no longer appearon the students’ university bills, and thus their financial need isless. According to this Simpson policy, living independently isfree.

Too bad it’s not.

Off-campus students have just as much financial need as thosewho live at Simpson, and to deny them financial aid for livingindependently is wrong.

The financial burden carried by those who live off campus,however, is not the source of the problem. The fundamental issue athand is Simpson’s housing policy, which has more than outlived itsusefulness.

Under the current regulations, any unmarried, non-commutingstudent who is not at least 23 years old must live in a dormitoryor other approved on-campus housing. This is because studentsgenerally earn higher grade point averages while living on campusand are more socially involved with the college, according toAssociate Dean of Students Stephanie Krauth.

Unfortunately, this policy ignores the unrealistic environmentprovided by the dorms in light of real-life responsibilities.College these days is as much about growing into adulthood as it isabout education, but this growth is being restricted in order topromote the hallowed GPA.

What about the equally important domestic and financial skillsdeveloped while living in an apartment or divided house? Payingbills, dealing with upkeep, balancing work and school, anddeveloping a self identity are all integral parts of the off-campusexperience. Are they such unimportant skills that students shouldput them off until after graduation?

I think not.

In addition to this developmental block applied by studenthousing is the overall lack of value in doing so. To use BarkerHall as an example: eight people share two bedrooms with onebathroom for $2,669 each. For eight months, they pay $21,352 forthe suite and utilities, and that’s before the required meal plan.With that much money, the roommates could easily afford to rent anapartment where they wouldn’t have to sleep communally or share abathroom with four other strangers.

The simple solution to this problem would be for Simpson toeliminate housing restrictions and off-campus penalties foreveryone but freshmen. By mandating living arrangements andfinancially bulldogging students, Simpson seems to be implying thatwe are incapable of succeeding off campus or making responsibledecisions until we are married or 23.

However, the truth is that students shouldn’t need to live oncampus to qualify for cost-of-living financial aid, and they don’tneed to be 23 to live without supervision.

The policy is unrealistic, and college is supposed to be reallife.