This year, Housing and Residence Life announced that priority points would become even more competitive, with the point requirements rising for both room retention and roommate pull-in. On-campus living has therefore become more competitive, with a limited number of spaces in prime residence halls such as Xavier or Cabrini. Many students may find themselves turning to off-campus options, but they likely will not find any Seton Hall affiliated, unless they are willing to pay an unnecessary high price.
Seton Hall's two off-campus apartment buildings, Ora Manor on Valley Street and Turrell Manor on Turrell Avenue, both offer the comfort of Seton Hall security, but with a steep inflation in rent. As a sophomore, I lived in Ora Manor, expecting a slight increase in room and board fees, but nothing that was beyond the realm of affordable. However, I was quickly mistaken, as I discovered my single in Ora billed at over $11,000 for the academic year.
For ten months, which included winter and spring breaks, Seton Hall charged over $11,000 in room and board, arguing that I was living in a two bedroom apartment with all utilities included. However, simple math and research will show that their argument is a farce, since I was sharing a space with two other individuals, and many two bedroom apartments in South Orange bill at under $2,000 monthly. The numbers simply don't compute.
How can the University justify charging one student $11,000 for ten months, when two other residents in the same apartment are paying thousands of dollars in room and board as well? It is unfortunate that the University fails to understand this, since their living spaces off-campus offer many benefits, including a furnished space, security, proximity to campus or SHUFLY service and utilities included in overall cost.
Is it safer to live in Seton Hall housing? I would argue that it absolutely is. Resident Assistants, Residence Hall Directors and Securitas presence are all beneficial. Is the living experience worth the current cost? Not at all. I could save myself a slice of the student loan dent in my future bank account by leaving University housing for a village apartment. I do not think that the living spaces that the University offers are worth the money they charge, nor do I think that the cost of living is remotely justifiable.
I challenge the University to look deeper into their off-campus living experience and create something that is far more affordable for students. Otherwise, students will go into South Orange, or nearby Ivy Hill, but will sacrifice safety and convenience for a more affordable monthly (or per semester) payment. If any lesson has been learned this academic year, it is that South Orange has been compromised in its level of safety for Seton Hall students.
Samantha Desmond is a junior public relations major from Vernon, NJ. She can be reached at email@example.com.