Let students rent off campus

Bella Lee, Staff Writer

As most people are aware, Mercyhurst students are required to live on campus for all 4 years that they are studying for their undergraduate degree. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as those who commute or, in last year’s case, those who approved to remain at home and continue their studies remotely. However, these exceptions can be seen as unfair, which raises the question of whether or not all students, regardless of where they’re from, should live on campus all 4 years.

One crucial point to consider in all of this is cost. Part of college tuition is room and board, which is the cost to live on campus and to have a meal plan. With commuters, though, they don’t have to worry about living on campus and, for most of them, they don’t have a meal plan either. Therefore, they are saving thousands of dollars. This can be seen as unfair to those to have to live on campus because they are too far away from home. Additionally, money can be tight for some students and their families, resulting in relying on student loans, which can lead to further debt. However, this doesn’t mean that commuters have all the benefits.

One major setback that commuters have to not living on campus is that they don’t have as easy access to experience as many fun activities on campus as residents do. Most of these activities, such as club gatherings and MAC/SAC events, occur in the evening, so it might not be as easy for commuters to attend. Also, for those that have their own cars as a way to get on campus, gas costs can easily pile up. Furthermore, some commuters don’t have a car of their own or don’t know how to drive, so they have to rely on their family members or carpooling to get to or from campus, which can also cost money and time.

One thing to think about, however, is that students do not have to live on campus if they can have the opportunity to live off campus. There are plenty of apartments that are near campus or in the city that students could rent with roommates if they wanted to. This can give them the opportunity to experience independent living off campus as preparation for once they graduate. Since all Mercyhurst students have free access to “the e,” Erie’s public bus system, students could use that as a way to get to or from campus if they choose to have their own independent housing.

I believe that students should not have to live on campus for all 4 years if there is no reason to. If students are able to commute from home, let them. If students are able to live on their own with roommates in independent housing with rent and utilities to take care of, let them. If students have no choice but to live on campus, let them. Each option has its ups and down, but all can still help to prepare students for independent and successful lives once they graduate.