After two years of rejected applications, lost arguments and frustrating meetings, I will be living off campus next year. And I have my high school to thank for it.
Four score and some time ago, I had a couple of my teachers encourage me to take AP classes my last two years of high school. They were very persuasive, and I listened to them. For that reason, I have the 12 credits I needed to meet the off campus living requirement of 112.
Although I’m looking forward to living the commuter life, I’m not writing a perspectives article to give a detailed description of my battle with campus life. I’m writing this to say that Goshen’s regulations for off campus living are inflexible and unaccommodating for students, and that they remain this way for the wrong reasons.
It’s no secret that Goshen College wants students to live on campus for their entire four years they attend school. And who can blame them? With the cost for room and board adding up to about $5,000 per semester (and don’t forget to add the amount of money spend for the gourmet Rott cuisine to the bill), this school makes between an extra $10,000-12,000 dollars off of every full time student enrolled.
I understand that what we’re paying for is the unique learning environment of a culturally diverse, spiritual community. And as great as that environment is, students need spend time away from campus in order to save money. As much as I can honestly say that you can’t find a learning environment like Goshen’s anywhere else, I’d like to save money where I can.
For an institution that advertises itself to be “an affordable Christian college in Indiana,” this institution is incapable of allowing students to invest their money in places other than the school. In order for students to live off campus without lying to campus life in their application (which students get away with all the time, mind you. Students just need to know that lying is the only way to apply before senior year and be successful) is if you meet any of the following requirements: if you are at least 23 years of age, you’re married, you’re living with your parents or an immediate family member or you have accumulated 112 credit hours.
Last time I checked almost every student enrolling at an undergraduate institution is 18 years or older. Which means we’re allowed to vote, purchase cigarettes (not that I’m advocating for smoking), and enlist in the armed forces, but we aren’t allowed to live off campus unless we live with our parents?
College is supposed to be an experience that helps students develop into adults prepared to enter and survive in the real world. Living on our own is a part of that experience. Living in the conveniently expensive apartment complex or in one of the three remaining off campus houses isn’t quite the same. You can tell me that commuting is too much of a hassle and spending money on rent, gas and food would mean you’re not really saving money living off campus, but students can easily spend less than $10,000 a year as a commuter.
College students are adults. They deserve the ability to make their own decisions about living on or off campus, whether or not they are married, 23 years old, or have parents who live locally.
I understand living on campus for the first year or two to experience dorm life and roommates. But after that we shouldn’t have to apply to live off campus. As an institution you should support our decision for wanting that responsibility, not being stingy about the money we wouldn’t pay you for room and board. Remove the bubble wrap sheltering us from real life experiences, Goshen. Let us grow up.