Students voice complaints about housing rules

You applied to move off campus for financial hardship but were denied. And now you have to take out loans just to be here.

This is Alicia Mims’ reality. The sophomore dental hygiene student applied to live off campus not only because she can’t afford it, but because all her classes are going to be online next semester. 

Mims told housing that even if all her classes weren’t online, she still didn’t want to stay here. She was told that without a valid excuse, she would have to stay.

But this isn’t an uncommon situation. Last month, student Ashlynn Henderson took to the ULM Student to Student Facebook page to share her criticism of housing policies. Other students related to her situation and began telling their own stories.

“I just want to say housing is a joke,” Henderson said. She went on to explain that just because a student’s parents make a lot of money doesn’t mean they help their child pay for school.

“Just because they claim me [on their taxes] does not mean they help me whatsoever financially,” Henderson said.

According to Tommy Walpole, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises, problems like Henderson’s aren’t unfamiliar.

He said ULM is audited based on state policy, which means if a student comes to them and says their parents make a lot of money but aren’t helping pay for college, ULM can’t just accept their word for it. There has to be documentation to prove that. 

Walpole said his department always goes the extra mile to help students in this situation, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. 

After all, ULM doesn’t make the housing rules. The UL system does.

Another problem for a lot of students is the credit requirement. If you don’t qualify for one of the exemptions, you have to live on campus until you have at least 75 credit hours.

Kori Meshell, a freshman nursing student, said her application to move off campus was not declined. But she still thinks the rules should be changed. While she understands the university’s desire to keep newer students on campus, she said nobody except freshmen should be required to stay.

According to Walpole, when he started his job six years ago, the credit requirement was 90 hours. But he and the other auxiliary staff worked to get it down to 75.

He said they always try to help out students who want to move off campus. In fact, 233 students applied to live off campus next fall and 208 of them have been approved. About 20 of them are still under consideration.