This year, along with admitting the largest class in its history, Davidson also instituted a four-year on-campus housing requirement.
According to Residence Life Office policy, and as stated by Jason Shaffer, Director of Residence Life and Associate Dean of Students, “as long as there are enough beds available, students are required to live on campus.” Dean Shaffer explained that the number of students who are expected to live on campus is generated by the Enrollment Management Group, which reports the number of transfer and study abroad students, as well as the size of the incoming first year class. It is necessary to determine “‘how many people are going to be in town taking [classes],’” Dean Shaffer noted, because granting off campus housing permission is not “‘an arbitrary decision.’”
The average rate per semester for a single room is $4,039 and a double room is $3,347 per person. Doubles and singles that are part of a pod are slightly more expensive, for they each feature a bathroom and some form of a communal living space. An apartment shared between four members is $4,184 per person.
A single room is approximately 179 square feet, and a double room ranges from 160 square feet (Belk Hall) to 260 (Sentelle Hall), the average being 222. For the average-sized double room, the monthly cost per square foot is approximately $1.67 per person ($3.34 total). Compared to a studio apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which can be upwards of $6.11 per square foot per month, or a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, which is on average $7 per square foot per month, the monthly cost of on-campus housing is reasonable.
Nevertheless, the price of on-campus housing prompted Danny Howard ’16 to consider off- campus housing options with three friends. He notes, “[We] found a fully furnished house on Lake Norman that we were going to sublet for $2,400 a month,” Howard explained. “For four people, that is $600 per person per month, which is $200 cheaper than an on campus apartment.” Davidson denied him and his friends permission, and, although, he was initially disappointed, his apartment in B has “proven to be very nice.” But still, Howard believes that Davidson “must up the quality of living if they are going to force the students to pay more for less,” as Ryburn, Armfield, and Jamieson “desperately need renovation.”
According to Dean Shaffer, there are several factors that contribute to the price of on-campus housing, and comparing on-campus to off-campus housing is an “apples to oranges comparison.” The price of on campus housing accounts for utilities such as internet and electricity, the labor of physical plant staff, and flexibility to rent for one semester (as is the case with many study abroad students). To address Howard’s concern about the quality of on-campus apartments, Dean Shaffer notes that renovations are being done to older buildings at a “‘faster rate,’” compared to the rate at which older off-campus alternatives are being renovated.
The decision regarding whether off-campus housing will be permitted for the 2016-2017 school year is still under discussion.