Paying Students Not To Live On Campus

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Iowa State University is paying studentsnot to live in its dorms. But the move is not necessarily due to the popularity of the Ames, Iowa, residence halls — it’s the downside of experiencing record enrollment levels.

The university shot out an email in June offering $500 to any returning students willing to give up their dorm, the Des Moines Register reports. That wasn’t enough, students complained, so ISU upped the payout to $1,000, which 95 students accepted. The goal was to free up more traditional housing for freshmen.

The university will have an estimated 32,000 students enrolling this fall, up from 25,462 in 2005. ISU expects 1,300 to live in campus housing, a 7 percent increase from last year, according to the Des Moines Register.

But living off campus could actually save students money — even without the $1,000 — since the rates to live in a residence hall at ISU run from roughly $388 to $833 a month, and require a meal plan on top of that. A student in Ames can find rent in off campus apartments starting between $300 and $500 a month.

ISU didn’t stop handing out money with the upperclassmen they convinced to drop their dorm. Another 100 students still waiting for a room assignment will get $500 in compensation for their inconvenience, ISU said.

The university also secured a number of off-campus apartments to provide housing for students it didn’t have room for in its regular dorms, something the University of Iowa also did in 2010.

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