To Dorm or Not to Dorm: Students debate whether dorming is worth the price tag

Gabrielle Fonrouge

Staff Writer

To live on campus or to not…That is the question. With the cost of dorms and meal plans averaging up to more than $7,500 a semester, according to the St. Johhn’s Web-site. Students question whether or not it is worth it to return to campus next year, or join the others who have found cheaper living off campus.

A freshman or sophomore living on campus is paying anywhere between $7,175-$8,275 a semester for board and meal, which averages out to an estimated $2,100 a month. The meal plan alone averages out to $180 a week for freshman and sophomores.

Juniors and seniors living in the Townhouses are paying an average of $4,875 a semester which averages to
almost $1,400 a month, just for room and board. With the commuter meal plan that students living in the Townhouses or Apartment are offered, they are paying an additional $1,750 a semester which is $500 dollars a month for food. Together, juniors and seniors are paying $6,625 a semester, or almost $1,900 a month. Many students choose to live on campus their freshman year because they are coming from a new state and are too young to live on their own. However, those who continue to live on campus after their freshman year have many different reasons for doing so, despite the cost.

Sophomore Michael Napolitano said it’s a matter of convenience and it’s what his parents want; the money doesn’t matter.For others, the availability of food closed the deal for them.“I didn’t want to fend for myself yet and it’s much easier to eat on campus. There’s less stress,” said freshman Vinny Manzo,.Some students just think it’s better for underclassmen to stay on campus, though not for all four years. “It’s smarter to live on campus as an underclassmen but after two years, I understand why upperclassmen choose to live off campus,” sophomore Martin Cadres said. “As an underclassmen it’s worth it but after that, I’m not sure.”

However, while many freshman do live on campus their first year and decide to stay their sophomore year, many others decide to leave because of the cost. Junior Alex Snider has lived off-campus since the end of his freshman year and said he has saved a lot of money.“My rent is only $440 a month and I have four other roommates,” Snider said. “With utilities and food, I am paying an average of only $840 a month and have more freedom living on my own. I have somewhere to stay during winter and summer breaks and I can have guests whenever I want.”

Some returning freshman say they wished they could live off campus but just did not prepare in time.“You’ll save thousands staying off campus,” freshman Chantel Marie said. “The only reason why I’m returning is because I wasn’t ready when it came time to put in housing deposits.”Many students stray from on-campus living because of the rules and the strict guest policies, however, as a campus situated in an urban neighborhood, security is very important.

In a report made on about St. John’s University, student author Sebastian Velez writes about the balance between giving student’s freedom and keeping them safe.“Campus security tries to maintain a happy medium between protecting the students of St. John’s and not invading their privacy,” he writes. Sometimes they succeed; other times, they fail. Some students complain that they are not being kept safe on campus, while others say campus security is constantly snooping in on their private moments.”So, the question rises again, is it worth it to spend more money and stay on-campus in a safe environment? For those students who have scholarships and grants, the money isn’t an option and staying on-campus is purely a matter of convenience and practicality.

However for those without, like freshman Olivia Jade, staying on-campus is just another loan they need to take out and another thing that restricts their freedom.“I don’t like the restrictions; I can’t have candles, I can’t have friends over. If I had prepared fast enough, I would’ve been off this campus.”