Editorial Board

Transfer students at Syracuse University deserve more recognition for their struggle to obtain satisfactory housing

It’s time Syracuse University takes the initiative to further accommodate the housing needs of its transfer student population.

Transfer students are often forced to live in undesirable or costly locations both on and off campus due to the university’s lack of prioritizing their on-campus housing requests. On-campus housing may be assigned to transfer students if, at the university’s discretion, the space is determined to be available, according to the SU 2016-17 Terms and Conditions of Student Housing.

If transfer students are granted on-campus housing, they are relegated to live in the Skyhalls on South Campus, which are isolated from Main Campus and are less comfortable than Main Campus’s residence halls. It’s understandable that there is only so much space that can be allocated to students to live on campus, but transfer students deserve opportunities to make friends and connect to their new campus. Being isolated from Main Campus in a subpar housing complex is not an effective way to make the most of their experience at a university they chose to transfer to.

The alternative to on-campus housing is also a tough break, since transfer students who were not assigned Skyhalls room are forced to find off-campus housing. Last year, transfer students who weren’t granted on-campus housing were placed in Campus West, an off-campus apartment complex on Henry Street near the Brewster, Boland and Brockway residence halls. An apartment in Campus West is significantly more expensive than a dorm room in the Skyhalls: A four-bedroom Campus West apartment costs $5,945 per semester, whereas a Skyhall room costs $3,345 per semester, according to the SU housing website.

Although Campus West is considered off-campus housing, SU still owns the apartment complex. Since the complex houses transfer students, who deserve the same considerate treatment SU gives its freshman classes, the transfer students living in Campus West should be given a discounted rate that would be equal to living in an on-campus dorm, like those in BBB. It’s absurd that the university does not provide a lower rate for transfer students who don’t have a space on campus to live.

The university’s current housing system for transfer students does not grant them the same opportunities it grants freshmen, who, like transfer students, are experiencing SU for the first time. The university bends over backward to ensure freshmen are acclimating to their new university and making connections to campus, but there is a serious disconnect in the way the university treats its transfer students. These students come to SU for the same experience as the students who began their college careers at SU, but the way in which their housing is handled suggests the university does not value them as much as it values freshmen.

It’s ironic that SU is considering the implementation of a three-year housing requirement when it seems to show a lack of initiative in accommodating its transfer student population. SU officials claim students have better and more productive university experiences when they live on campus, but transfer students often do not get this luxury due to their lack of consideration in the housing lottery.

If SU really cares about the success and well-being of its students to extend the on-campus housing requirement, university officials should first evaluate how they can better serve SU’s transfer student population.

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