Off-campus housing process to undergo changes with its eligibility requirements
By Nora Tidey, News Editor
As the fall semester begins to wind down, housing options for the next academic year begin to enter students’ minds. Most students will live on campus since Gettysburg is a four-year residential college, but some will decide that they want to move off and see what it is like to live away from the amenities of a college campus. Only seniors are eligible to be released from their four-year residency obligation; being a rising senior is not the only eligibility requirement, however. Keira Kant, Associate Dean of College Life, explains that some aspects of the selection process are changing and wants students to be aware of these changes, so they can prepare accordingly if moving off-campus appeals to them.
All Gettysburg students know that their GPA will ultimately impact their chances of getting their desired housing. The housing system for both on-campus and off-campus housing currently works as a lottery system in which each student receives a lottery number based on their GPA. However, the off-campus lottery process will now differ slightly from the on-campus process. In the past, students needed to have a 2.5 GPA at the time of the application process to live off-campus. Now, students must have a cumulative 2.8 GPA at the time of application. Student must form a group of whom they are applying to live off-campus with before they begin the application process. Each group will receive one lottery number determined by the average GPA of all the individuals in the group. Each person in the group still needs to meet the GPA eligibility requirement.
Another important change is in how conduct impacts eligibility. Previously, students had to be in good standing the with college and have no more than four points at the time of application. Both of these components will still hold true, but in addition students can receive no additional points after being approved to live off-campus. If this occurs, their release can be retracted. Students also must never have been suspended in order to be eligible.
Kant explains that while some students may meet all of the eligibility requirements, there is still a chance they will not be approved for release to live off-campus. The number of students that can live off-campus is determined each year by the college’s enrollment – since the college does not have enough beds for every single student, the enrollment determines how many will be able to move off once all of the college’s beds are filled. Kant explains, “It’s the college’s responsibility to fill our beds, not landlords’ beds.” In the past five years, the number of students approved to live off-campus has varied from 207 to 132. In recent years the number of students who have applied for off-campus housing has actually decreased. Kant suggests that perhaps that dwindling number is due to the conveniences and amenities available in on-campus residence halls. For example, being able to submit a simple work order with facilities to fix an issue in a room or apartment is just one of the luxuries not available in off-campus residences. Kant also stresses how important student, family and faculty feedback is when making changes to any process on campus; housing can be a particularly passionate subject for some, so the college makes efforts to encompass feedback from numerous sources when it comes time for decision-making. Two information sessions are offered in December for students who are studying abroad in the spring and three more sessions are held in the spring semester to give ample opportunity for students to find out everything they need to know.