College students challenges living off campus

Taylor Ford

Ryan Stewart faced an unexpected challenge when he came face to face with the decision of moving off campus.

Many students from both Loyola and Tulane University often face the problem of finding suitable off campus housing in the Uptown area.

Ryan Stewart, biology pre-med junior, said he overcame these challenges when looking for a place to live off campus.

“It was challenging at first especially with the school being in such a nice part of the city,” Stewart, biology pre-med junior said. “Of course you can’t afford a whole lease by yourself, so it takes a lot of balance between what you want and what your friends or roommates want and just finding the ideal place that is something you guys can afford.”

Incoming freshman are required by residential life to live on campus in the dorms until they complete two years of living on campus. Students who live with a parent or legal guardian in the New Orleans metropolitan area are exceptions to the rule of living on campus.

According to Courtney Williams, Associate Director of Student Involvement at Loyola University New Orleans there are approximately 1,371 commuter students at Loyola University.

With living in such a developed part of the city and thereby paying higher rates, this can add new responsibilities onto a college student’s plate.

Mike Duckworth, music industry junior, said that living off-campus forces students to adapt and become responsible.

“I didn’t have rent money for the second month when I actually moved into this house so yeah it was a struggle. I had to go find a job so I guess it made me be more productive,” Duckworth said.

Tulane and Loyola University are located in the heart of Uptown New Orleans, La. just along St. Charles Avenue, which can be characterized as being a very affluent part of the city.

Some students such as Alfred Jackson, economics junior, believe that living in the heart of Uptown plays a part in the type of rent they are forced to pay in order to stay in close proximity to campus.

“Yeah I definitely think it plays a part. Thankfully I have parents that are pretty supportive. I couldn’t imagine having to work a job where I would have to bring in at least six or seven hundred dollars a month,” said Jackson.

However, even outside of their standard monthly rent, there are often other factors that play into living off campus that can cause students a serious financial strain.

Stanford Norwood, a New Orleans landlord, said the largest thing that affects the amount that college students pay is property taxes and insurance.

“The property taxes in the area has more than quadrupled in the past few years. Insurance for flood insurance and homeowners’ insurance has more than tripled as well,” Norwood said. “So if there is a property where a person does not have a mortgage on the property, it is virtually impossible to rent it really cheap because of the amount of money that insurance and taxes actually cost.”

With most colleges being for profit businesses and in favor of college students staying on campus for monetary purposes; colleges can build a stigma among commuter students for not doing their due diligence with the assistance of helping their students finding housing options outside of the residential dorms

Jackson said the links that Loyola provides to help find off campus housing are sometimes out of date.

“They’re very minuscule when it comes down to actual variety they are showing you and it’s kind of understandable because it’s not like they want you to move off campus,” Jackson said. “They want that bill, they want that payment of you staying there for like $9,000 a year so I completely understand why the school doesn’t.”

“I really don’t think the school helps at all. Luckily I’m in a sorority and I had a lot of older friends when I was a freshman and sophomore so I could go to them to find the best spots to live at that were around something that I could afford,” Ashley Tagliero, graphic design junior, said.

Brett Stewart, finance junior at Tulane University, said that students can become overwhelmed when trying to balance bills and other responsibilities.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty because of your bills. Like your utility bills aren’t always included in your rent price, so I know that some kids just get swamped with bills that they weren’t expecting in addition to their standard rent,” Stewart said.

Even with all the difficulties that come with being a commuter student, both students and school administration official seem to agree however that living off campus can have a positive effect on a student’s college experience and life after graduation.

“Living off campus can be a great experience. Staying off campus allows the opportunity to experience the real world while still in college and provides students the chance to learn how to manage themselves, their finances, and deal with all of the necessities of personal life without a built in safety net,” Williams said.

“It’s really night and day to be honest. It’s nice just having your own space and not having to worry about people all up in your room and whatnot. It’s a lot more responsibility but it’s worth it to me,” Stewart said.