Students see new housing changes

With housing registration right around the corner, a new email about off-campus housing regulations sent April 2 from Jeff Mackay, associate dean of students/director of Residence Life, has some students rethinking their living situations for next year.

Mackay announced in an email that off-campus housing is now only available to students who are in their fourth year, 21 years of age prior to the start of the 2013-14 academic year, living with parent(s) or guardian(s) in their primary home of residence within 20 miles of the McMinnville campus, married or in a registered domestic partnership or have a qualifying dependent living in the primary home of residence.

This is a change from the previous exemption rules in which off-campus housing was determined by amount of credits. If a student had a senior standing in credits, he or she was able to get off-campus housing.

This year, Linfield examined housing exemption criteria at other private colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest.

It was discovered that Linfield was the only institution that had a financial criteria to exempt students from the college housing requirements and allowed an appeal process.

After this discovery was made, the president and President’s Cabinet approved the new exemption criteria.

“At Linfield, students who live on campus get higher GPAs than students who live off
campus. National research tells us those students who live on campus graduate at higher rates than students who live off campus,” Mackay said in an email. “Students who live on campus are generally more engaged in campus life and have higher cognitive development in many areas than students who live off-campus. On campus students have more exposure to a diverse living community than students who live off campus. On campus students have closer access to resources to help with their success: RAs, library, academic advising, counseling, learning support services, etc.”

Mackay and other administrative officials have noticed that students are concerned about the changes and that they may no longer meet the criteria to move off campus prior to their fourth year at Linfield.

This is not the first year changes have been made to the exemption factors. Last year, the financial exemption amount was increased by $2,500.

In previous years, the mileage for students living at home reduced from 60 to 30 and finally to 20 miles.

To respond to student concerns, the administration has agreed that old exemption rules continue to apply to some existing situations, while the new exemption rules will apply to all future situations.

If a student lived off-campus this year and will not meet the new criteria, administration will allow them to continue living off campus as long as they meet the previous criteria again.

Administration will be following this grandfather clause for any student who was exempt last year as a result of the financial criteria.

“Some students have been taking extra classes during Jan Term and summer sessions in order to achieve senior status (94 or more credits) in order to meet the former criteria and move off campus. As a result of conversations with students, we will allow any student who reaches senior status (94 credits or more) by the start of fall semester 2013 to file a housing exemption,” Mackay said in an email. “This will be a one-year only exception to the new exemption criteria. This will not apply to the 2014-15 academic year so please do not base academic plans on the assumption that you will be approved to move off campus without meeting the standard three-year residential requirement at Linfield.”

Alyssa Townsend /Opinion editor

Alyssa Townsend can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com.