The Louisville Cardinal

Students weigh the costs and benefits of housing

By Michael Kennedy

Patrick Beiting has lived both on and off campus, but now enjoys the freedom of the latter.

Like many other students at the University of Louisville, Beiting lived on campus his freshman year, but has since moved into a house with some of his friends.

“You have more freedom and more responsibility when you live off campus,” said Beiting, a junior communication major. “You can set your own rules about noise and having people over. [Living on campus] you always had to sign people in, or an R.A. would tell you to ‘keep it down.'”

Only 19 percent of U of L students live in on-campus housing. Other students own their own homes, live with their parents, or, as in the case with Beiting, rent apartments with their friends.

Campus housing was filled to 98.5 percent capacity last year and with, according to Housing Director Shannon Staten, and a growing student population looks to only make things more crowded.

Most of the residence halls on campus are managed by Housing and Residence Life. However, Community Park, Bettie Johnson, Kurz and Billy Minardi Halls are managed by University of Louisville Properties, a separate entity from the university.

Students who live in ULP buildings are not required to pay the $995 per semester meal plan.

However, some in the student body have stressed the advantages of on-campus housing.

“Living in the dorms is a great opportunity to get to know people…really branch out and try to meet as many people as possible,” said Kate Brueggemann, a senior political science major.

Despite these advantages, some students feel that living with parents simply makes their situation much easier.

“It’s all about money, really,” said Amy Fossaluzza, a sophomore history major, who lives at home with her parents. “It’s so nice to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars and not have to pay rent.”

If that isn’t possible, many students have found that it may be more economical to live off-campus.

“The housing is cheaper and I can live with my friends who don’t necessarily go to U of L,” Michelle Byrd, a junior secondary education major said.

According to a survey of five apartments within 2.5 miles from campus, available on apartments.com and craigslist.com, the average cost of rent per bedroom, per month was $391.60. Meanwhile, rent at Wellness House, Unitas Tower, West, Center, Threlkeld and Stevenson Halls were $509 per bedroom, per month.

Beiting said that living off-campus does provide its own obstacles though.

“The distance and transportation of getting to campus is a negative [of living off campus],” Beiting said.

Indeed, underclassmen living off-campus may only purchase a purple pass, a cost of $80 a year, which permits them to park at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and take a shuttle to campus. Upperclassmen may purchase green passes, for $100, which allow them to park in designated spots in the Floyd Street garage, behind Ernst Hall and various other spots.

Meanwhile, for residents with vehicles, yellow passes are available for $124. Students with yellow passes may also park in green spots.

Students with a Cardinal Card may ride the TARC busses free of charge. Several TARC routes run by campus. A complete list may be found at ridetarc.org.

However, for students who live close enough, walking and biking are two popular options.

“I used to take the TARC bus, but it was too much trouble to coordinate my schedule, so now I ride my bike and I like that – its good exercise, fresh air and I don’t have to pay for parking,” Byrd said.

Also, some students have said that the price of housing makes it simply implausible as an option.

“The convenience is great but the price of the halls is really expensive,” Blake Whelan, a freshman mechanical engineering said.