Out the door

Ferris changes policy for on-campus housing

Roommates, The Rock Café and residence hall activities are all great opportunities for students living on campus; however, some may want the experience of living off campus as an option.

After receiving observations and concerns that most other state universities do not have this same age requirement, Director of Housing and Residence Life Jon L. Shaffer said this has provided an opportunity to review the housing policy.

“We know students have many choices of where to go to school and we want to ensure we’re balancing the right mixture of what we feel are important components of the educational outcomes with what students desire in their college experience,” Shaffer said.

Students must still be 20 to have the option of living off campus; however, for the 2012-13 academic year, the birthdate threshold from having to be 20 by the first day of class (essentially Sept. 1, 1992) was changed to having to be 20 after the first semester, specifically Jan. 1, 1993.

Changing this policy gives a wider range of which students are eligible to choose.

Kellie Tate, a junior in social work, said, “If parents are willing to pay for their child’s rent and utilities each month and would prefer to do that instead of adding on more money in loans for a meal plan that is limited and not such a perk to living in the dorms, then Ferris should not dictate what students are allowed to do over their parents.”

In watching the number of living assignment contracts coming in over the past month, Shaffer said they are seeing a very similar pattern to last year.

“I think this reflects that students understand living on campus is an important part of the educational process and what we offer is hard to beat in the off-campus market,” Shaffer said.

This policy has essentially been part of Ferris since the residence halls were built 50 years ago.

Emily Tiesenga, a sophomore in graphic design, said, “Living in the dorms is a good experience for the first couple years of college because you meet new people, but having the chance to move off campus would be nice because you get the chance to be a little more independent.”

“We’ve recognized the importance of living on campus in how it augments inside the classroom learning facilitated by our great faculty,” Shaffer said. “We will watch the effects of the changes closely, analyzing what we feel is in the best interest of our students and balance those off the resulting impact on the university as we consider future changes.”

On behalf of the housing department, Shaffer said they are always open to considering the appropriate policy for students, which would imply that the birthdate could adjust in either direction.

Shaffer said it was of little surprise to see that the majority of those students now eligible to move off campus have chosen to remain on campus.

“I think it is a result of our ability to create some great incentives for these students,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer said the overall student satisfaction rate has been at or above 90 percent for many years in a row.