Gettysburg Ends Off-Campus Housing Starting Fall 2022; Local Housing Market Affected

By Nicole DeJacimo, Managing Editor

Last semester, Director of Residential & First-Year Programs Danielle Phillips announced at a Senate meeting that the College had decided not to renew any off-campus leases due to a long-term decrease in enrollment over the last two years, and warned students against signing any leases going forward. Gettysburg College Alumni Chris Kohn ‘17 and Michael Moore ‘17 reached out to The Gettysburgian to explain how the College’s decision has affected their’s, and others’, rental properties. 

“The College has decided that students will no longer be able to be released from their residency requirement and will implement this decision over the next two years, reducing the number approved for the 2022-2023 academic year to approximately 50 students, and then no longer releasing students from their residency requirement starting with the 2023-2024 academic year,” Phillips said. 

Kohn and Moore founded Stine Tree Partners in January 2020, named after Stine Hall where they met their first year, to give back to students after enjoying living off-campus themselves their senior year. They bought their first property that month and expanded to a second property in June 2021. The second house needed a good amount of renovation and was set to be done this month. The plan was to exclusively rent to Gettysburg students. 

“We thought that doing this, would be financially good for us and we would be able to help these kids out during their senior year,” Kohn said. “We had good discourse with the kids from the first year, they were calling us to network and that’s really what we envisioned.”

After the announcement, a group of Gettysburg alumni had a meeting with President Iuliano to explain their concerns, but Kohn recalled the administration dismissing the alumni’s concerns, claiming camaraderie as an important part of a residential college. Kohn worries that decision this will decrease the College’s likability factor for a prospective student. 

“Not only does this disrupt the landlords but it also disrupts some of the micro-economies in these environments. The cleaners, the handymen, the local banks, etc,” Kohn said. 

According to Phillips, between 98–133 students lived in off-campus housing each year in nearly 23–30 houses for the last five academic years. 

“Upset parents and alumni are not good for the college financially. Gettysburg was part of my philanthropic plan and now I don’t know if I want to turn it around because it didn’t make me want to open my wallet up,” Kohn said. 

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Author: Nicole DeJacimo

Nicole DeJacimo, ‘22, is the managing editor of The Gettysburgian and is a political science major with a double minor in writing and peace & justice studies. Outside of the Gettysburgian, Nicole is a Fielding Fellow and co-manager for the College Union Building Information Desk. During her free time, Nicole enjoys singing, reading, going to Waldo's and having movie nights with her friends. She plans on moving to D.C. after college to work as a political journalist.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow, this is a really unfortunate move from Gettysburg College that hurts their students and the local economy. Maybe the school should reconsider their absolutely insane tuition increases over the last 10 years as a way to make the school more accessible for new students.
    This comment comes from a 2016 GBC alumni, currently paying off significant debt from student loans.

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  2. The college-age population was already supposed to bottom out around 2025 as a result of the economy tanking in 2008 with fewer births. The pandemic has added to the decrease in student numbers.

    Living off campus was a valuable part of my G’burg experience 50+ years ago. (The opportunity was only available for males.)

    Are private rooms available in the dorms? They weren’t in my era.
    Are the rooms large enough for all the electronics etc. that are necessities these days. The rooms of the 1960’s were OK for that era but would be extremely cramped for this time.

    Can the Quarry apartments be rented out to non-students?

    Just thinking that some creative ideas for current dorm use could result in better on/off experiences for the students yet satisfy the monetary needs and mission of the College.

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  3. I live in Gettysburg near several homes that house large numbers of off-campus seniors, and I am incredibly happy that the college is reverting to fully residential. The college needs to keep its dorms full, and most residential liberal arts colleges are exactly that – residential. Part of the experience is living on campus in community. I do believe the elimination of off-campus housing creates an unfair situation for women. Eliminating the frat houses would go a long way to equivalence (and I was in a frat in undergrad, and would be happy to see them go away) but it will never happen, so the college needs to find some sort of equitable solution for the sororities using existing campus housing. On the community side, while many senior off-campus students are generally good neighbors, this isn’t the case for some of the houses. The amount of trash and noise generated by parties at a few off-campus houses is ridiculous and their actions violate the noise and property ordinances. Calling the boro police to report noise, public urination, and dangerous behavior doesn’t seem to dissuade them, the college’s security is unable to assist, and code violations are rarely followed up on, giving absentee landlords little incentive to do anything about the bad actors. So I am glad this is coming to an end. Landlords will sell or find other ways to make up the business, so I don’t feel particularly sad for the alums in this situation. Building your business on an accommodation that could have been revoked at any time is taking a risk, you have to be willing to accept that.

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  4. I’m sure that the landlords in question will be able to find new tenants, even if they aren’t Gettysburg college students. The rental rates in Gettysburg have been artificially inflated for years because students were able to pay much more than the locals. When I worked at the college in the early 2000s the rent was the same as my former apartment in Pittsburgh (which was also larger than the 1 bedroom in Gettysburg).

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