by Kelly Wheeler ’21
This past fall, Providence College welcomed 1,127 new students to the class of 2022, making it the largest freshman class in school history.
Although this record is something to celebrate, it also creates a predicament for the College when it comes to student housing.
The number of residence halls, suites, and apartments on PC’s campus has yet to increase to accommodate its growing student population. Given the College’s policy requiring all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to live on campus, this is a major problem.
In fact, this year PC resorted to offering hybrid housing to the senior class and a few members of the junior class to deal with the shortage of on-campus housing options.
Several students that planned to live on campus for their senior year were offered deals by the College to live in houses off campus.
Although hybrid housing is one way to free up space on campus, a better plan to fix the housing crisis is to allow juniors to reside off campus.
In the past, juniors have been authorized to live off campus. However, PC reversed this policy in recent years because of the loss of revenue that resulted from juniors no longer having to pay room and board fees.
While this problem is valid, it is unfair for PC’s financial concerns to be valued above the comfort and needs of its students. Limited housing has resulted in overcrowded dorms and students being split up when trying to live with their friends. The College must do something to reduce the negative effects that limited on-campus housing has on students of all class years. If juniors were given the option to live off campus, many would choose to do so, causing more rooms to become available to house underclassmen and the upperclassmen who wish to reside on campus.
Allowing juniors to live off campus would have other benefits as well. Off-campus living is very different from on-campus living. Students that live in houses have to learn how to cook their own meals, clean their own bathrooms, and pay rent and utility bills.
By enabling students to experience this real-world way of living as a junior, responsibility would be instilled in them sooner. College is meant to prepare students for their futures, and exposing students to the duties and realities of “adulting” beginning their junior year would better prepare them for post-grad life.
Additionally, if juniors are able to live off campus, this would permit juniors and seniors to live together. Since students often meet and form relationships with other students who may be younger or older than them, juniors and seniors may want the option to live together.
Although PC does not restrict students of differing class years from living together on campus, the College indirectly restricts them from living in a house together since seniors are currently the only class year authorized to live off campus.
Unless PC plans on accepting fewer students in the upcoming years, something must be done to amend the housing crisis.
Allowing juniors to reside off campus is a viable solution to this problem, as it would increase the availability of on-campus housing, create more responsible and prepared graduates, and foster relationships between juniors and seniors.