Fewer rising juniors were given permission to live off campus in the 2019 – 20 academic year, due to a smaller freshman female class and the planned re-opening of Galloway men’s residence.
When deciding which students receive off campus permission, the deans consider a student’s high school graduation date — in order to account for students who have taken a gap year — then credits earned at Hillsdale, and the number of dorm beds they have to fill. Filling the beds depends on the incoming class size and which upperclassmen choose to live on campus.
The deans operate on a staggered release system, giving a certain number of students off-campus permission in the first round. Once those students either accept or deny permission by a certain deadline, the deans release another round of permissions.
This spring, the deans gave 45 men (32 rising seniors and 13 rising juniors), permission to live off campus next year, with eight students declining. Last year, 171 men were given permission, with 151 accepting.
Dean of Men Aaron Petersen said an unusually high number of rising sophomores were given off-campus permission last year, since Galloway men’s residence is under construction this school year and also because this year’s freshman male class was unusually large. Since many of these students were rising sophomores and do not need to re-apply for permission, the numbers appear smaller if looking only at the number of rising juniors given permission to live off campus this year.
“In next year’s junior class, there’s a fair amount off that just got off a year early, depending on how you frame it,” he said.
The percentage of student men living off campus has varied, depending upon class sizes and which students choose to stay off campus. In the fall of 2016, it was 40 percent; in 2017, 31 percent; and in 2018, 40 percent.
Seventy-six women — 72 seniors and 4 juniors — were given permission to live off campus next year, compared to 125 last year. The number of women who actually ended up off-campus last year was 178; 21 sophomores, 48 juniors, and 102 seniors, since some were granted permission in late spring or summer.
Fewer women were given permission to live off campus for next year because the current freshman female class is smaller — around 160 — whereas it’s normally around 180 to 190.
“Twenty to 30 more would have pushed that next group off, but that’s not happening,” Dean of Women Diane Philipp said. “That’s just a weird anomaly that we had that big guy class and small girl class.”
Philipp said she based the number of off-campus permissions last year on what she thought would be a female class of the same size, which accounts for the discrepancy between this year and last.
Philipp went on to say that she had empty beds this year because of this discrepancy.
The new women’s dorm also played a factor last year, since it opened up Whitley Residence for the men.
“We built the new dorm because we had too many sophomore guys off campus, and there was a discrepancy between men and women getting off because we had more housing for women. It made more sense,” Philipp said. “The difference was around 50 beds. The guys last year had to be let off, which was around 50.”
Philipp said the deans like having freshmen and sophomores on campus because students will be more likely to be involved in campus activity.
“We love students to stay on campus and stay involved on campus,” Philipp said. “The only thing that we notice is once you go back to your off campus apartment you tend to not come back in the evenings.”
Petersen said keeping students on campus, especially underclassmen, is important to strengthening campus community.
“We like to keep students immersed in the campus community as much as we can during their four years,” he said in an email. “ A strong campus community is an important part of fulfilling the College’s mission. The underclassmen benefit from the mentoring of upperclassmen not only in the classroom and dining halls, but in the residence halls.”
The only reason a student would receive off campus permission as a sophomore is if there were not enough beds on campus to house both the incoming freshmen class and upperclassmen who wish to remain on campus. Freshmen always remain on campus unless they commute.
Sophomore Grace Stokman received off campus permission last year but said she is having trouble finding a group of girls to live with in the off campus house, Graceland. Stokman said the staggered process of giving students permission to live off campus is difficult, especially this year.
“It’s really difficult to form a cohesive group in your house because your list of friends are given permission at staggered times,” she said. “Landlords often demand leases to be signed at certain times. If your friends don’t get off campus, then you have to find random people to room with which isn’t ideal.”
Sophomore Gabe Kramer, who was seventh on the list to receive permission, did not receive off campus permission until the second round; however, he will deny the acceptance since he and another sophomore, Henry Eising, had agreed to room together, whether that be on campus or off campus, and Eising was not given permission.
After being initially denied permission, Kramer said he was looking forward to living off campus.
“I was very excited to live with my friends,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t guaranteed but I thought, OK, last year everyone who applied to get off campus, got off campus, I have a good GPA, lots of credit hours. I was leading the pack.”
Kramer will instead live in Galloway with Eising next year.
According to Miranda Parker from Hillsdale Rental Management, local landlords are “finding it more challenging this year” to offer housing for students, and the “the significant reduction in students that have received off campus permission for next school year has certainly created an obstacle for landlords.”
Philipp said the numbers next year will return to normal. The predicted freshman class size for next year is 370, which was the target number for the admissions office, according to Associate Senior Director of Admissions Fred Schebor.
According to Philipp, it looks like the incoming freshmen class it will be almost evenly split between men and women.
“The changes should even out next year,” she said.
Petersen went on to say that as the academic semester rolls to an end, it is not unlikely that a few more students will be allowed off, since there may be small changes in the actual class size of the incoming freshmen and other factors.
“There’s always been some movement late spring, early summer,” he said.