Breaking down the housing contract

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 at 9:20 PM
Breaking down the housing contract by Britton Rozzelle

One of the first things a student must do upon committing to Edinboro is submit a deposit — a sum of $75 that allows hopeful students to pick their meal plan and housing options for their first two years at the university. Many of these students, however, glance over the electronic document on myHousing, and aren’t truly aware of what is not only required, but expected of them for two academic years.

This expectation stems from a 2004 university decision titled Policy A026, signed into action by former president Jeremy D. Brown, which states all full time students who are not commuters (and by extension live further than 50 miles away from the campus), or have less than 59 credits, are required to live on campus for two academic years or four-consecutive semesters (not including summer sessions). The same, however, is not true for transfer students, many of whom are confused when they cannot leave their housing agreement (or never choose one to begin with). According to the policy, “transfer students entering the university with less than 59 credit hours completed will be required to remain oncampus for two consecutive years or until they have completed 59 credit hours.” This means that unless a transfer student has 59 credits and can be considered a sophomore, they must stay on campus for the two-year period, or until the credit total is reached.

This is all unless students can obtain (and complete) an application for release from the Residence Life and Housing Office, a small but important document that serves as a backup for students who wish to pursue other housing options. According to another policy, A058, established in 2012, this application “must be accompanied by all documentation that is relevant to the student’s release request,” meaning financial information (proving the student cannot afford to stay on campus) or medical documentation.

Edinboro isn’t the only campus that requires four semesters of on-campus living — local university Clarion does as well. However, their policy states that students that are part-time, married, 21 or older, single parents, or military veterans, are not legally obligated to complete two years of on-campus living, and can immediately live off campus. Transfer students who have earned less than 24 credits and are enrolled full time are also required to live on campus, similar to Edinboro’s policy. Even Mercyhurst, a private university, requires freshman and sophomore students to live on campus. Grove City College students are required to live in their residential halls with no limit listed, unless the student commutes from their home within a 40 mile radius. Students who attend more than four years are then required to move off campus.

For two years, then, students are required to live in “university owned or affiliated housing,” including the Highlands (1-8) and Rose Hall. Earp, the other remaining traditional housing option, is unelectable for students as of now due to its impending partial closure.

First, however, residential students are required to select a meal plan. Meal plans range from four meals per week and flex (overflow money that can be used on anything from campus food to bottled sodas) to 19 meals a week and flex. Effective now, “underclassmen” who have been present on campus for less than two semesters must choose an option that provides at least 10 meals per week with a varying amount of flex. “Upperclassmen,” or students who have been on campus for more than two semesters, however, pick from options that range from 14 meals per week (or 210 block) to 4 meals per week.

According to the agreement, if no plan is selected by a student, they are automatically granted the most expensive option — 210 Block and $350 Flex as it is the default option. With these standards in mind, the current minimum cost for living at the university as a first year student is $4,114 per semester, and that includes a double room in a traditional housing location (Rose), and the lowest amount of meals/ flex permissible. Returning students, however, can stay on campus for $3,565, which covers the cost of a traditional double room as well as a 4 meal-per-week plan with $150 of flex.

Once meal plans are selected, as per the agreement, students are prompted to select their housing — a process that generally begins after the mid-term season of the spring semester in order to “afford students the maximum opportunity to get to know their roommate(s), discuss living arrangements, etc,” according to residence life. Students have many options for housing, with rooms ranging from single studios to four person semisuites. As per the agreement, a selection must be made between one of the Highlands buildings or Rose (the last remaining traditional hall).

After this selection is made, the agreement makes it clear that students can live on campus for the duration of their time as a student. This being said, many students (after the first two years of their contract are up) choose to move to an offcampus hall or apartment because of cost differences (for example, Hidden Lane apartments off campus have a lower price of $1,600 per student, per semester, for their 2 bedroom/3-4 occupancy rooms, with additional costs being internet and electricity) and freedoms (such as no “rules” other than general decency or floor meetings) that cannot be found in a residence hall, as 70 percent of Edinboro’s student population (including online students) lives off campus.

For more information regarding the housing agreement, meal plan options, or room assignment, contact the Office of Residence Life and Housing located on the second floor of the Frank G. Pogue Student Center on campus. 

Britton Rozzelle is The Arts editor for The Spectator. He will be the Executive Editor for the Fall 2016 semester. He can be reached at

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