SAU Buzz

Students consider alternative housing options

by Lindsey Row
Posted on Apr 14, 2016

Students renting their first homes is often a rite of passage in a young adult’s college career, and here at St. Ambrose it’s no different.

“I think living off campus is beneficial for upperclassmen because it gives us a sense of freedom and teaches us how to be more independent,” Senior Grace Doubek said. “I like living off campus because I get to have a back yard and a front porch. It’s way more space to hang out in than I would have if I was on campus.”

But before students jump the gun and start house hunting, there are many factors that need to be considered before deciding if off-campus living is the right choice.

For some students eligibility might be a cause for concern when it comes to moving off campus.

“The requirements to move off campus were updated in January,” Assistant Director of Housing Sherry Whetzler said. “Full-time students are required to live on campus until they have completed two years of post high school studies at St. Ambrose or another accredited institution.”

Students who live with a parent or legal guardian within 30 miles of campus, or students who began college more than one year after graduating from high school may be eligible to  have the residency requirement exempt.

Another important factor in moving off campus is financial security. Financial aid, scholarships and grants vary from student to student, but for some, off-campus living can actually end up saving them money.

“When I sat down and did the math, it ended up being a little bit cheaper for me to live off campus,” Senior Dave Smith said. “I lost a little bit of my scholarship, but I didn’t have to pay for housing or a meal plan, so it evened out”.

For students ready to take the next step, the Residence Life office and website has a listing of houses and apartments for rent near campus. They are not affiliated with SAU, but the university does check with the city of Davenport to make sure the properties are in good standing with the City Inspector’s Office. Websites such as Zillow or Apartment Finder have also received positive reviews from students.

Mike Hayward is a local landlord who has been renting to SAU students for the past seven years.

“I love having SAU students as renters. So far, they’ve all been very respectable and great tenants,” Hayward said. “I always know that when they leave, it won’t be hard to find new tenants because they’re usually telling their friends, or their friends ask them about off campus houses nearby.”

Students also need to consider the extra costs that come with moving off campus. Things like groceries, utility bills, cleaning supplies and other expenses can add up quickly. When graduate student Taylor Kaul moved off campus last year, she had to adjust to her new lifestyle.

“I definitely had to get used to grocery shopping every week, but that’s a small price to  pay for the freedom I get living on my own,” Kaul said.

Whether students are living on campus or off campus, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Residence Life encourages students to think the matter over thoroughly before making any decision.