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Trend among students to move off-campus
As students prepare to choose where they will live next year, there is a trend that is hard to ignore: the trend of moving off-campus.
There are currently 6,581 undergraduate students attending Quinnipiac, according to Joshua Berry of the University Registrar. Roughly 5,000 of them live on-campus, according to Director of Residential Life Mark DeVilbiss.
“We guarantee housing for three years, and we have historically been able to meet the needs of everyone who wants senior housing, but it’s not guaranteed,” DeVilbiss said. “We find that by their senior year, many students wish to have the experience of living in the community.”
The number of students looking to move off-campus has become extremely prominent.
According to a survey of over 200 undergraduate students conducted by The Chronicle, while just over 16 percent of those surveyed currently live off-campus, over 43 percent plan to live off-campus next year.
This recent trend could be due to the university’s seemingly ever-growing student population.
This year, the freshman and sophomore classes make up over 56 percent of the undergraduate student body, according to the University Registrar. Also, this is the first year Quinnipiac’s York Hill campus became available to sophomores.
“We have worked very closely with our Residential Life staff, the Residence Hall Directors, the RAs, to compensate for the number of students in the halls,” DeVilbiss said. “We’ve done a good job, I believe, of adapting to those numbers, while still being able to provide a superior residential experience.”
According to the survey, more than 22 percent of students have lived in a forced-triple during their time at Quinnipiac. A forced-triple is defined as a room designed for two occupants that instead houses three.
“I know that the university is interested in expanding the options for students,” DeVilbiss said, referring to both on-campus housing as well as QU-owned off-campus residences. “We have an apartment complex that we use for student housing called Whitney Village on Whitney Avenue, and we also have some houses that QU owns and they’re mostly on New Road.”
The Director of Residential Life explained a number of benefits to these Quinnipiac off-campus living spaces.
“It can be a nice transitional piece where you are going from a residence hall experience to more of a house, yet the university is still handling all of the arrangements,” he said. “It’s our folks that handle the maintenance, and you have that security of renting from Quinnipiac.”
DeVilbiss stated that some of the apartments and houses are more spacious than dormitories on campus.
Tara Palumbo, a junior marketing major, chose not to live on York Hill next year in exchange for a QU-owned off-campus residence.
“I just think, for my last year, having that experience of living in a house is probably the main reason,” she said.
But students are faced with a third option. According to the survey, over 39 percent of students plan to live in unaffiliated off-campus housing next year, while just over 4 percent plan to live in QU-owned off-campus residences.
“Financially, it’s going to be a lot more helpful,” Michael Pepper said, a sophomore computer science major who will live in a non-university-owned residence next year. “Also, I’m going to be in a situation where I think I’ll have a lot more freedom and be with people that I trust, rather than random placement.”
Just like many things in life, where you live often comes down to how much it will cost. According to the survey, more than 50 percent of those living off-campus next year will pay between $600 and $800 a month, totaling to a yearly amount that is significantly less than the cost of room and board at Quinnipiac.
While students might find a better price off-campus, there are a number of amenities they will be giving up if they are to leave campus residence halls behind.
“Our residence halls enhance the academic experience,” DeVilbiss said. “We view our residence halls as an extension of the classroom. Residence halls are a place that you can live with peers who are in your classes.”
Pepper, who currently lives on York Hill, echoes this sentiment.
“I think it’s convenient that I can get breakfast, lunch and dinner steps away from my room,” he said. “And I also think it’s convenient constantly being around students who can help me with work or that you can bounce ideas off of.”
DeVilbiss emphasized the quality of on-campus residences and facilities.
“I think we have beautiful facilities here at QU,” DeVilbiss said. “I think we have a nice variety of traditional style residence halls with townhouses and apartments and suites.”
In addition, DeVilbiss discussed the comfort of having Public Safety on campus, as well as the ability to live a short walk away from the majority of the university’s classrooms.
“There’s not many times in your life where you have this opportunity,” DeVilbiss said. “Where you can live in, truly, a community with people who are close to your same age, similar goals academically and otherwise.”