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Housing 2012: students decide to live on, off campus

The housing sign-up process is under way again at Indiana Wesleyan University, leaving students to search for roommates and decide where to live, whether that be in a traditional residence hall, an on-campus apartment or somewhere off-campus.

Friday, March 2 is the application deadline for theme housing in Kem and Scripture halls, marking the first cutoff to reserve a room on campus for the 2012-2013 school year, according to informational packets distributed by the Housing Office. Subsequent deadlines are scattered across the rest of the month, with open room selection in April.

To self-select a room before April 2, the start of open housing, students must sign up in groups of two, four, six or eight and fill the suite or apartment for which they are signing up. The Housing Office has introduced an online system to simplify the process of finding suite mates.

“Last year, you had to go the specific hall that you were interested in,” said Melissa Sprock, IWU’s director of housing. “There was a sign-up sheet with numbers listed of people that were willing to be contacted. Now it’s all through the housing home page.” Students can visit housing.indwes.edu for detailed forms and guidelines on the many facets of the housing process.

Full-time freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are 22 years old or younger and do not live with their parents must live in one of the 16 residence areas on-campus, according to Sprock.

Incoming students will be charged $1,824 for a room on campus in fall 2012, according to data from the Student Accounts Services Office. Since residential students are required to purchase meal plans, they will pay $3,706 in room and board fees next semester, an increase of more than 16 percent since fall 2007.

Students who qualify for a room and board freeze can lock in the price they pay for housing and food each semester to avoid subsequent hikes, and students who have accumulated 90 or more credit hours are considered seniors, making them eligible to live off-campus, according to Sprock.

“You can fill out an exemption form online,” said Sprock of underclassmen who desire to live off-campus but not with their legal guardians. “It’s a packet of information that details basically why you’re asking for an exemption and then letters from people that can tell us that you would be a good candidate. And then it goes before a committee and is decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Those who do opt to live off-campus for the 2012-2013 school year could build a budget around the $7,412 they would’ve paid for on-campus food service and living arrangements (if they did not qualify for a room and board freeze) and allot $926.50 per month to pay for meals and lodging for the eight-month September-to-April school year.

Between spring 2011 and fall 2011, 196 students chose to move from on- to off-campus lodging, and others joined them between fall 2011 and spring 2012, according to Sprock.

Luke Dubert (jr), a current residential student, said he decided to move off campus in fall 2012 for three main reasons: to be able to cook for himself without purchasing a meal plan, avoid the regulation of open house hours and forgo the compulsory chapel attendance policy.

“There are many different reasons for why, but the prompting was to live in a situation which I enjoy the most,” said Dubert, who calculated he will save $900 over the course of the 2012-2013 school year.
But many upperclassmen decide that on-campus housing is better-suited to help them reach their goals. Sprock said there are five main reasons she believes upperclassmen decide to remain in on-campus residences their senior year: community living, proximity to facilities, convenience of food services, general safety and programming.

“You can live off-campus with a group of friends, just like you can live on-, but obviously there’s a lot more chance of interaction and getting involved in things outside just your closest friend group,” said Sprock. “Stats show that you’re more likely to participate in anything from study groups to majors, people in your same major, that are having activities.”

In addition to theme housing in Kem and Scripture halls, upperclassmen can now choose to live in one of three six-student Living-Learning Communities, according to Polly Graham, resident director of the South Townhouses at IWU. Graham advised a group of students in a Christian practices LLC this year and has expanded the program next year to include houses designated for those interested in Spanish and women in leadership.

“The rhythms and habits that we choose are shaping us into a certain type of person. Many times, our habits and how we live our day-to-day receive less attention than our classroom work – but both are important,” said Graham, explaining one reason why some upperclassmen prefer the intentional community of on-campus housing.

Acceptance into an LLC qualifies one for early housing placement, according to Graham, who said that applications are available on the housing home page and due Monday, March 12.

This post was written by:

- who has written 50 posts on The Sojourn.

News Editor. Steven joined The Sojourn in the fall of 2010 and is News Editor for the 2011-2012 school year. He will graduate in the spring of 2012 with a B.S. in Media Communication, a minor in Journalism, and membership in IWU’s Mary C. Dodd Honors Program. Follow him: @stevenp1329.

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