BOUNCED: UPPERCLASSMEN FORCED OFF CAMPUS
As of this semester, juniors and seniors attending the University at Albany no longer have the option to live in one of the four dorms on the uptown campus. Instead, they are forced to either get an apartment on campus, live on Alumni Quad (located downtown), or find their own housing. Juniors and seniors, especially those who have a difficult time paying to attend the university, have lost the ability to be able to live affordably on campus. This is due to the university trying to cater towards incoming freshman and sophomores, giving them more options for them to live on campus.
Students that live in any of the dorms on campus — State, Indian, Colonial and Dutch Quad — are required to have a meal plan. According the university website, meal plans cost between $2,000-$2,640. The average dorm room, a standard double, costs $8,042 during the 2016-2017 school year. To be able to live on campus and have an all inclusive plan that costs between $10,000-$11,000 seems ideal to people who may not want to live in an apartment and have to pay for their own food.
Unfortunately, as of this semester this option has been taken away from juniors and seniors. The apartments on campus cost anywhere between $8,911-$12,101, not including the groceries you have to buy every week. Aside from the cost, two of the apartment complexes, Liberty Terrace and Freedom Apartments, are both a considerable distance away from the podium and require a shuttle to get around. Alumni Quad, another housing option for juniors and seniors, is located downtown, also requiring a bus to get to and from campus. This dormitory isn’t particularly safe either, with multiple reports of robberies within the past year.
Students who choose to search out their own apartment or house off campus actively take the risk of not being recompensed if anything were to happen. Amber Lindner, a senior who chose to live off-campus, lost her apartment after it caught fire during the summer. She was unable to get out of her lease and had to stay with the company who owned her original apartment.
“Option one was to choose a new house with the same company, all of which were more expensive than our original house,” Lindner said. “And option two was to continue to pay for our lease for the burnt down house for the next 90 days; if the company fixed the house by then we were still obligated to continue the rest of the year there.”
She chose a new house with the same company and is paying a lot more then she was before. Her new apartment has plenty of problems, one of them being water damage.
Syeda Hasin, a senior at the UAlbany, wasn’t aware that she wouldn’t be allowed to live in the dorms for her final year and had to quickly figure out a living situation. She was able to find a four bedroom/four bathroom apartment in Empire Commons, but is paying significantly more than she had to when she lived in the dorms. She currently relies on financial aid to be able to afford tuition costs and now has to take out more loans due to her forced living situation.
“It felt very unfair,” Hasin said. “It makes it a lot more difficult for me on aid to live on more expensive apartments on campus when I shouldn’t have to deal with this. I had to take more on student loans to be able to afford living on Empire just because it’s the closest to campus.”
The university’s decision to kick juniors and seniors out of the dorms will force many people to start looking for other options whether or not they are affordable. The university is willing to isolate upperclassman with fewer options so that the campus looks more appealing to people deciding whether or not they should attend. The dorms may not be the greatest, with many problems including the lack of air conditioning in most of them and the underwhelming food served in the dining hall, but it’s affordability helped out students who may not want to pay more to live in the apartments or off-campus.