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Off-campus housing more convenient, cheap, students say

After Deanna Abbondola, a Boston University School of Education sophomore, and her friends realized they would have to split up and live on opposite sides of campus from each other in on-campus housing, they decided to move off campus.

“This was our last year with the five of us all being here, because some of us are going abroad next year and the other two are going abroad senior year,” she said. “We wanted to all live together for at least one year and there was no housing for five people left when we got there.”

Most students face the task of deciding on housing situations each academic year. While some students decide to stay on the BU campus, others choose to live in off-campus units within a commutable distance to BU.

According to the BU Common Data Set from 2010 until 2011, 99 percent of freshmen lived in university housing while 34 percent of all undergraduates lived off campus or commuted.

Despite these statistics, BU spokesman Colin Riley said there will be students who want to look at options outside of university housing.

“We know that some students would like to live off campus, so we’ll never have 100 percent [on campus] in the upper classes and, that’s just the reality,” Riley said. “There are options in the community and a lot of it is driven by the economy, the availability of apartments and the job market.”

Riley said it is difficult to factor in upperclassmen’s living situation because so many of them go abroad during their junior and senior years.

Katie Burns, a sophomore in BU’s College of Communication and Abbondola’s roommate, said this year she and her friends had to go through the process of finding an apartment that would allow them to study abroad for the fall 2012 semester and live off campus in the spring 2013 semester.

“We found another apartment for next year and it was kind of stressful, especially since three of us are going abroad next fall,” Burns said. “We needed to find a place that was just for a semester, a problem which it seems like a lot of people have that are off campus.”

Burns said along with the complicated process of choosing housing at BU, the close quarters in university housing was a problem.

BU Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences sophomore Genny Mudd said the untimely dining hall hours was an issue that added to her search for an apartment off campus next year as well.

“Some of the hours for the dining halls were inconvenient because I dance and I’d want to eat dinner pretty late after dancing,” she said, “and obviously I’d have to go to late night instead, and you run out of dining points after a while.”

Despite many students choosing to live off campus, Riley said the university has seen an increase in student requests to return to BU on-campus housing after experiencing off-campus living.

“Many of them have cited that living off campus wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and that their GPA wasn’t as strong this semester, they tended to miss classes or maybe get into problems because they weren’t as academically focused,” Riley said.

Off-Campus Student Council President and SAR junior Alisha Tubis said in an email students seek off-campus housing to gain independence, even though off-campus housing still comes with responsibility.

“Still, living off campus offers students freedom in decision-making and budgeting, offers less restrictions as far as quiet hours and guests and offers the support of the Off-Campus Council,” Tubis said.

Although Burns said it was stressful because all five of her roommates, including herself, had to listen to each other’s opinions in deciding what they wanted, it is convenient to come home to her apartment.

“It’s really nice to just kind of be able to come home, have your own freedom, there’s nobody telling you to quiet down,” she said. “It’s just nice being able to come home and cook your own dinner when you want to. You feel like you’re more at home.”

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