Living Off-Campus: Acceptable Exemptions

California Lutheran University aims to provide the best education it can, and this stems far beyond the classroom. Students are welcome to live on campus, most through their first three years, but Cal Lutheran does have commuter students. However, these students must fit specific requirements to live off campus.

Students who are exempt from living on campus must be married, at least 23-years-old, senior-standing with 90 or more credits on file or live with their parents/guardians within 30 miles of campus, Associate Director of Housing Operations Nathan Fall said in an email interview.

Fall and Chris Paul, director of Residence Life and Student Conduct, said in email interviews that these rules have been in place before they both began working here. As a small school, Cal Lutheran wanted to create a lively campus with actively engaged students. With keeping students on campus, they are given a chance to be more involved.

“The benefits to living on campus, to name a few, are meeting new people, getting involved in academic and social resources, campus and community engagement, as well as research shows that students living on campus have higher GPAs than those who live off,” Fall said in an email interview.

Cal Lutheran cares about our academic and social engagement, and this has been a big reason for promoting on-campus living. However, everyone has their own circumstances and Cal Lutheran aims to help each student in whatever way possible.

If a student wishes to petition their on-campus living, they must complete a petition form and meet with a committee after completing four semesters on campus, Paul said in an email interview. Students can also pursue living outside of the 30-mile radius. Each circumstance is handled on a case-by-case basis. It is encouraged for students to consider all aspects of living off campus.

“Some students, depending on their scholarships, experience a large reduction in aid if they move off campus,” Paul said in an email interview. “We inform students of this during the process and some are surprised by this.”

However, if students go through the process to officially move off campus, the university still provides support. The Student Union building was created to provide a space for students to relax in between classes and participate in activities, which can be a big benefit for commuter students.

Student Life also creates events and activities for commuter students. They understand that living off campus can prevent a student from being as engaged with the university as the rest of the students, so they come up with several events each semester to bridge the gap.

Ashley DesLauriers, coordinator of transition and retention, said they put on events like the commuter lunch during orientation, commuter coffees, commuter give away at a football game, commuter trick or treat and the finals de-stress event. The participation at these events are wide ranging with a minimum of about eight students, but the biggest event was the recent trick or treating.

“We were very pleasantly surprised to have such a big turn out for the trick or treat, and had we known, we would have prepared a little better,” DesLauriers said. “But I think we worked well with still having enough supplies to give out and still being able to accommodate and reward students for coming out and attending the event.”

In the future, DesLauriers hopes to provide additional support for commuters with one idea especially. She hopes to find local mechanics who can give a discounted rate to commuter students, since they are much more reliant on transportation.

Makenna Pellerin
Staff Writer