Housing incentives designed to save students money

The University is introducing two new housing incentives that aim to help students graduate faster and spend less on college.

The Spring Transfer Housing Allowance can be applied to a transfer student’s first semester to reduce or offset the cost of living on campus.

According to Vice President of University Affairs Dr. Steve Westbrook, this incentive aims to reduce the amount of time it takes to graduate, increase the number of transfer students on campus and encourage students to increase the number of semester credit hours taken.

The Summer Student Housing Rebate allows students who live on campus in the spring and take nine credit hours across all summer semesters, and then continue living on campus in the fall, to get a rebate equal to the amount paid during the summer terms, Westbrook said.

“Each of these programs were reviewed over a period of months by Residence Life staff and other departments to make them as understandable and impactful as possible,” Westbrook said. “Once we believed we had these ideas in place, Admissions began promoting the spring transfer program to prospective students and the marketing for the summer program began being developed, so it could be in students’ hands before registration for summer school begins in March.”

Director of Residence Life Winston Baker said the incentives have been in development for about a year, taking inspiration from other universities to make a program that works best for SFA.

“We basically did our homework to make sure that it could be something that would be good for SFA,” Baker said. “Other schools have done the same thing. Some incentive programs are done by other universities, but other universities are not SFA, and we want to make sure this is the right situation for us. And, we believe it is.”

According to Baker, there is an application process that students need to go through to utilize the incentives.

“There’s going to be an application process because we have to know who’s part of this,” Baker said. “You will qualify [for the summer incentive if you’re] a student here. Now the key is, next fall you have to stay with us. And if you decide to stay with us, that money now will go back to you, so you will have to pay for the summer. But if you stay true and take nine hours, including Maymester, summer one and summer two, then in the fall you will see that credit on your account.”

The summer hours can be divided among the summer semesters in any way, as long as the student takes nine hours.

“You can take three, three and three, or you can take summer one and take nine hours,” Baker said.

Carrie Charley, director of Auxiliary Services, said the incentives stem from a part of a bigger plan to benefit students.

“These ideas were born from the strategic plan to have a more affordable education and experience for our students,” Charley said. “And time to completion is a huge piece of that, too.”

Charley also said that living on campus helps not otherwise students be more successful, especially transfer students who might have otherwise lived off campus.

“Studies show that students who live on campus have higher GPAs and then are also being immersed into the community,” Charley said. “It’s more convenient. So, it was a great incentive for us to give a chance to some transfer students who might not otherwise have that opportunity.”

Meredith Janning has worked on The Pine Log since her second semester at Stephen F. Austin. During her time at The Pine Log, Meredith has held the positions of staff writer and news editor.

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