Editorial | Helpful resources for off-campus housing available for students
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
For most Miami students, it is already too late to snag the perfect accommodations for the 2014-2015 school year. Seniors and graduate students are used to the competitive atmosphere of housing but for juniors, international students and others with different financial situations, playing the housing game in Oxford is not an easy one.
With 51 percent of students living off campus at Miami, it’s important for students to be able to have options when shopping for housing. The average cost for off campus housing at Miami is around $10,500 a year — that’s almost $1,400 a month.
Even though 46 percent of Miami students rated the university as “not being very helpful” with off campus housing according to a collegeprowler.com survey, Miami does offer resources for off-campus life that students are either unaware of or do not take advantage of. The Miami Student Editorial Board encourages students to take advantage of the help that Miami provides and to contact the off-campus student senator, David Doggett and Secretary for Off-Campus Affairs Ari Frum when it comes to housing and off-campus issues.
“Ari Frum puts a great deal of effort into advertising events that ASG puts on for off-campus students,” said Doggett. “We had a housing fair September 5 and he sends out emails alerting students of off-campus news. But it is up to off-campus senators to get that information out to our constituents as well. ASG can’t reserve housing for students, but we make it our goal to educate students about Miami’s unique housing.”
The Office of Community Engagement and Service’s website, miamioh.edu/student-life/off-campus-affairs/ offers some initial, preliminary advice and information for making sound housing decisions. Not only does the website go over Oxford Rental Permits, how to choose the proper roommate and how to shop for housing with a budget in mind, it also provides relevant links for additional information on questions students may have about Oxford Law and who to contact in case of an emergency. The Office of Community Engagement and Service also goes over what types of leases are the most common in Oxford, something crucial for students to understand, especially if they have to sign a lease by themselves.
Associated Student Government (ASG) also puts on a Housing Fair every September as Doggett mentioned, giving students a chance to meet local landlords, review properties and listings and help them make informed decisions they sign a lease.
Frum, who was quoted in a Sept. 9 USA Today article on college housing leases, said students often feel pressured to sign a lease early because they may not be able to find good housing on time. Students at Miami often sign 18 months in advance in order to secure their dream digs, which can become problematic if students make a rushed decision when it comes to pricing, or if they are planning to study abroad one semester.
Hutster.com, a popular student housing website, already has leases for the 2015-2016 school year —leaving students already feeling the pressure for the following academic year.
Doggett understands the pressure students feel, but said they can alleviate it by keeping ahead of the game with the resources they are provided.
“I don’t know if students fully take advantage of the services Miami offers,” Doggett said. “Students need to understand that if they want a house or apartment for senior year, you need to be legitimately looking for it August of junior year. The most important thing is taking initiative with your friends and talking to housing companies and current residents.”
Students have to know what they are getting into when they are signing a lease, and they can do this with the help of Miami services for off-campus students. Timing is key on some properties, so the board encourages students to start early and to save many options so they can compare them.
“Miami’s housing challenge isn’t like most universities,” Doggett said. “Fraternities and sororities ‘pass down’ their houses to form ‘annex’ houses so they can keep their prized locations within the Greek system. There’s nothing unethical or wrong about this, it just creates more challenges for students who are non-Greek. Also, Miami’s student body is only getting bigger, but our housing options are not. The university is trying to accommodate the growing number of students on-campus, but only so much can be done off-campus.”
Keep ahead of the housing market game in Oxford so these challenges don’t affect your time spent here. Housing doesn’t have to be a hassle, and by keeping up with the resources Miami offers as well as what ASG offers students can make informed decisions about their living arrangements.