The Peacock Press

Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students

Free Summer Housing No Longer a Perk

By Dylan Smith

For many international students at Saint Peter’s College, who have been welcomed with opened arms by the college, the opportunity to remain in America is a unique one. Many international students will even try to land one of the many work-study jobs on-campus that  offer free summer housing, making their stay in America possible. Some of these students, however, may find themselves without a place to live when summer arrives because of changes in the financial structure of summer housing.  The changes will mean fewer work study jobs that normally include free housing as a perk.

In the past, some departments as part of the college’s work study program offered free housing over the summer for students. The jobs include research assistants, resident assistants, and tutors or working in a secretary-like job for a department. There are currently 105 international students currently enrolled or who have recently graduated in both undergraduate and graduate programs at Saint Peter’s.  Many were counting on free summer housing as a way to afford staying in America for the summer. Other students at the college, however,  feel as though free summer housing is a not a right, but a privilege.

“Obviously the school needs money, so they are cutting back – no more free housing for students,” said senior Myrberline Saint-Pierre. “They have to do what they have to do.”

However, another student, a sophomore who will be working during the summer at Saint Peter’s in two work study positions that did not want her name revealed, complained to The Peacock Press. She  believes that if someone was going to be working for the school, summer housing should be free if the commute from home was not an option. Other students, who may not live in international locations, but within the tri-state area, also feel that the summer housing rates are far too high.  The high rates keep many from applying for internships or jobs in the city.

“I find it to be completely unfair,” said sophomore Brendan O’Neill, a student who is from Bridgewater, New Jersey. “I cannot afford to pay for summer housing’s full price. I will have an internship in NYC this summer and now, instead of living on campus and commuting to NYC, I have to do so from home. The amount of time that it will take me to travel from my hometown to the NYC internship location and back home every day is at least two and a half to three hours, each way. I will have to travel at least four hours a day to go to my internship and back home.”

Not all jobs on campus offer free summer housing. Students who work at The C.A.L.L. Center are paid to tutor students involved in both the summer academy and EOF programs, and students who work in the library, in recent years, are not entitled to free housing. Also, research assistants for summer research programs may get a stipend for their work, and other possible benefits including iPads for those who qualified for the Title V grant. More often than not, it is those whose work actually involves living on campus, like resident assistants in training for the upcoming year or assisting in the summer academy program, or those who are on O-Team, Saint Peter’s freshmen orientation team, that are allowed to live on campus for “free” during the summer, as it is part of their job.

Other students sympathized with those who are left scrambling to make new housing arrangements.

“Just because they miscalculated doesn’t mean that the students should suffer again,” said junior Phylecia Palmer.  “We go through enough during the school year as it is.”

Still, some departments will continue to offer free summer housing, but, according to the students we spoke to, the number is smaller than in past summers. Honey Minkowitz, the Director of Resident Life, and Dean Carla Tharp were contacted but did not return emails before the story went to press.

“If they’re eliminating [some departments giving free housing] this summer, than that’s bad because not everyone can afford this even with the reduced rates,” added Myrvanica Estimable.

We want to hear from you!  If you are a student having an issue with summer housing, leave us a comment below or email us!



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This entry was posted on April 22, 2012 by in SPC News and tagged , , , , , .
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