Free is the Question, Not the Answer.

This week I heard an intriguing question: should on-campus housing be free? My first reaction was honest disbelief, I truly couldn’t believe that someone thought that the free actually means free. However, I gave it some serious thought, and this is what I came up with: a resounding no.

As someone who spent my freshman year in the dorms, I understand how obnoxiously overpriced they are. No, I’m not kidding. What I paid for the dorms my first year is triple what I pay now. But I still don’t think free is the way to go.

Think about what providing free housing for each person to live in the dorms would mean for a second. It would spike tuition costs through the roof. That money has to come from somewhere; nothing in life is truly free.

Every other student’s tuition would have to rise for the school to make on-campus housing free to some students. I don’t know about you, but I’m not thrilled about the idea of paying out the nose for someone else’s housing expenses.

Then comes the trouble of deciding who gets to live there: should it be only for freshmen? What about the large population of international students who occupy the on-campus housing?

Most people move out of the dorms after their first year and rent an apartment or house with the friends they made. These students might be shocked when they actually find out how much housing costs.

But what about the holdovers who choose to stay in the dorms year after year? Should they be allowed to repeatedly reap the benefits of free housing or would they be charged as a second-year student?

While I can understand that this idea has merit for many people, I don’t particularly like paying rent either, however I don’t think the people who are proposing this idea are considering all the details.

Paying for housing is quite simply a part of life and in a theoretical sense, college prepares students for our debut into the “real world.” How can we be ready for that when we’re still living like freeloader children in our parent’s house, or in this case the university’s? Will we have to pay for their food and basic necessities like toilet paper next?

This may seem harsh, but it’s time to grow up and put on the big kid pants, and that includes paying your own rent. So, stop your crying and shell out the money as a freshman so you can make friends in the super social atmosphere of the dorms. Then, once you’ve paid your dues, you can move into an apartment with those friends and become a sleep-deprived, anti-social hermit like the rest of us.


Story By Alexis J. Taylor
reporter for SUU News

Featured Photo By
Carlee Jo Blumenthal