The pros and cons of on-campus housing

Michael Melkonian
Contributing Writer

The price for on-campus housing at VCU is more directly influenced by the number of suitemates or roommates you have than by which building you live in or what kind of amenities are provided.

The most expensive apartments to rent from VCU are single bedrooms in West Grace North. Kevin Wade, senior associate director of administrative services for residential life and housing, said the building also has some of the cheapest rooms.

Regardless of if you have made the decision to live in on-campus housing or in a Fan apartment next year, the main concern is finding the cleanest space with the most amenities for the cheapest price.  Wade said the advantage of renting through VCU is they will take care of most of the hassles of apartment living.

“The main benefit is, as far as utilities are concerned, it’s one bill,” Wade said. “As far as safety and security, all those things are there. We manage those.”

Wade said another advantage to living in on-campus housing is the ability to focus on school rather than the myriad of distractions that accompany living off-campus.

“We’ve had some good data that shows that GPA is higher for undergrads that live on campus,” Wade said. “For all four of those years, the GPAs on campus are higher than those off campus.”

Oshane Thomas, a sophomore who lives in West Grace South, agrees with these advantages but says that the “signing-in” process freshmen become so accustomed to, quickly gets old.

“I do understand it’s for security purposes, but at certain times it can be an inconvenience,” Thomas said. “And they do limit the amount of people you can sign in which is kind of a bummer if I have friends visiting from other campuses.”

Leonard Efuet-Ateh has also spent the past year living in West Grace South. He said he is going to move to an off-campus apartment next year but would recommend the on-campus option to anyone who asked.

“You get to meet a lot of people and you get to learn a lot too,” Efuet-Ateh said. “It’s a quiet environment. You can study and you can talk to folks if you need advice, too.”

Efuet-Ateh said he was not bothered by the security except for when family came to visit.  He also said the biggest factor in having a good year in on-campus housing is largely dependent on the person you spend the most time with.

“You enjoy your room if you have a decent roommate, if you are lucky to have one,” Efuet-Ateh said.

The five buildings with 12-month leases for upperclassmen, Ackell, Broad & Belvidere, Cary & Belvidere, West Grace North and West Grace South, are all priced about the same and share many of the same amenities, though newer buildings have larger beds.

“None of those buildings are more than 10 or 15 years old, and what they’ve brought is apartment style living to campus,” Wade said. “Before that it was only residence halls or suites.”

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