Equity in Campus Housing Reform

Equity in Campus Housing Reform

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DeJané Manuel started this petition to Colleges and Universities

There is an alarming number of college students who live off-campus that are struggling with food and housing resources. These students have reported being food and housing insecure (inability to support self or household). Students are expected to study 30 + hours/week, find a job to sustain their bills and provide a home for the latter part of their college experience.

On college campuses, there are a limited number of jobs that are flexible with your schedule. There is also a select number of on-campus positions, work-study programs, and internships which then causes students to compete for jobs within the community against local residents. This leads most students to pick up minimum wage positions or commute more than 20 minutes away from campus. $7.25/hr is not enough to cover basic housing on campus which results in students taking out loans or working two and three jobs to make ends meet.

Once a student has completed two years of on-campus living, they are then instructed to begin to find housing off campus. The university does not have housing partnerships with these local companies so students are getting into leases, getting evictions, debt and derogatory marks on their credit reports for late payments or failure to pay. Off-campus housing starts at $400 minimum and utilities are more often times, the student's responsibility. Off-campus students typically use their refunds for housing, food, and textbooks. For students who have already experienced financial despair, their refunds can go to repaying debts or catching up on bills. A small percentage actually goes to personal enrichment.

We are demanding the administrations of colleges and universities for off-campus student housing reform. Students don't need to struggle when universities has resources already in place for on-campus students.

We are seeking supportive services on the following:

  • Developing a housing contract for off-campus students that binds the university and local housing companies for the sake of the student by automatically allocating funds to the student's selected housing company.
  • Allocating a monthly stipend for off-campus students for food and household-related purposes
  • Allocating a semester basis stipend with the campus bookstores that allow students' financial aid to cover textbook and course-related materials.
  • Develop a meal plan that incorporates the local restaurants on and surrounding campus.                                                

    Institutions that have implemented such programs and have seen economic growth between the university and local businesses. College towns are being revitalized and once students become alumni; they tend to want to donate to their alma mater. That is only if they had a successful roadmap to get them to graduation.    
                                                                This initiative is not to disintegrate the student's financial aid refund but to hold the university accountable for basic student needs such as food and housing. Colleges and universities have the resources to enhance student life for all college students, on and off campus. By signing this petition, we aid in the success of getting off-campus students to graduation, as smooth as a transition as possible. 
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