Students, staff weigh in on off-,on-campus housing

As the second semester creeps up on students, a question is proposed – mainly to the upperclassmen – if they should live in Gannon University-owned apartments or not.

Denise Bakerink, director of Student Living, said she has a few ideas for why students may choose to seek lodgings off-campus.

“My guess is the cost, but I’m not sure that’s the reality of this issue,” she said. “Maybe they feel that they have more freedom.”

University-owned apartments are fully furnished with several couches, desks, beds and armoires, so students don’t have to worry about moving heavy objects in and out at the end of the year, Bakerink said.

Shelby Heppner, a sophomore education major, said she thinks it’s easier to live on campus.

“You don’t have to deal with landlords,” Heppner said. “Everything is taken care of in your tuition.”

When living in on-campus buildings, you don’t have to worry about water, electricity, or heating bills that need to be paid monthly, and that is a prime matter with college students, Bakerink said.

Harborview Apartments are $3,240 a semester if you’re getting a double, while all the other campus owned apartments are $2,935 a semester.

Lyndsey Walker, a junior physician assistant major, says living in non-campus owned places seems to be cheaper for students, while also teaching them valuable skills about taking ownership of their water, electric and cable expenses.

“It’s a chance to be responsible for paying your own bills,” Walker said. “What better time to take on this challenge than in college.”

Walker said she is living in Harborview right now and although she loves it, she plans on moving off campus next year.

According to Walker, her off-campus house next year will run her $300 per month, not including utilities, but with complimentary laundry services and parking space.

Henry Real Estate Management is a bit pricier, and has a house off of 9th and Chestnut streets with a rent of $455 a month, but that does not include either utilities or laundry.

Henry Real Estate also has more expensive parking than Gannon.

Gannon’s general parking for students is $60 per semester, while Henry Real Estate is $180 a semester.

“Lots of landlords keep the price close, but you have to be sure to look at all costs, including installation fees,” Bakerink said.

Gannon also provides police services that are on duty 24 hours every day.

“I think safety is the strongest matter,” Bakerink said. “This is what parents care about.”

When living in a non-Gannon owned building, you have to take issues to Erie Police and they won’t arrive as fast as Gannon’s police because they have a larger area to cover, according to Bakerink.

Walker said that one concern she has taken into consideration is maintenance issues. While she said she has had experience dealing with maintenance issues in North Hall, she is not sure what to expect from her future landlords when these types of problems arise.

“Gannon had some maintenance issues, but the big issue was I feel like we didn’t always know what was going on,” she said. “But they always made sure we were safe and things like that.”

She said she anticipates things being slightly different with an off-campus landlord.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit slower of a response time because they have other things to do during their day,” she said.

Another important aspect for a college student is internet access.

Gannon’s internet is $165 a semester and Henry Real Estate is $30 a semester.

Bakerink said she believes that students are more likely to be a more successful student with a higher GPA if they live on campus.

“Studies show that commuters have a higher drop-out rate,” Bakerink said.

However, there are some off-campus options available to students that are equally as close if not closer to campus buildings than the furthest Gannon-owned apartment building, Kenilworth. But, according to Walker, proximity to locations like Nash Library really did not factor into her decision to move off-campus, as she said regardless of where she resides, she prefers to study in her own room as opposed to venturing to the library or power room in Waldron Campus Center.

“As long as I have my quiet, personal space, I’m good to go,” she said. “It gets busy in the library, so I just like to be somewhere I can get comfortable.”

Despite all of the many pros and cons both options hold for students, Walker said there is one thing she is most looking forward to by moving off campus.

“I think it will be closer to learning how to deal with real-world issues,” she said.

 

COLLEEN LANGHAM

[email protected]