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On or off campus? A financial comparison

On or off campus? Living off campus with a roommate could be up to $3,000 cheaper than living in the residential dorms at ORU, according to a comparison study conducted by The Oracle.

Though finances are a key concern in the discussion of college living options, students also cite issues of space, lack of curfew and independence as reasons to leave the dorms.

“It’s great to live off campus because you get to learn how to relax and be happy without other people,” said Rachel Curylo, senior communication major and commuter.

Getting permission to leave, however, isn’t easy.

The housing office did not respond to comment on living off campus but recommended students refer to the university handbook.

According to the student handbook, there are five ways to be eligible for approval to live off campus.
• Your parents live in Tulsa, within a 50-mile radius of the school, and you plan to live with them.
• You’re married.
• You’re a single parent with custodial responsibilities over your child.
• You’re attending ORU as graduate student.
• You’re attending as a part-time student, enrolled in 11.5 or fewer hours.

If a student meets one of these requirements and desires to move off campus, he or she must still petition with the dean of men or women to become a commuter student. Aside from the reasons listed in the handbook, some students have obtained special permission to live off campus due to health and medical concerns.

Senior Janey Ebener suffered from allergy-related breathing problems and chronic coughing after moving to the dorms in fall 2009. Her respiratory problems persisted. With a doctor’s documentation in hand, she obtained special permission to move off campus.

This is Ebener’s second year to live in her own apartment.

“I’ve never had problems before I moved to school,” she said. “I don’t have any problems now that I’m off campus.”

Though the reasons for living off campus vary from student to student, many dorm residents see money as the bottom line when thinking about  petitioning to leave the dorms.

The key question then becomes: Which is actually cheaper?

When comparing the financial cost of living with a roommate on or off-campus, The Oracle found the estimated off-campus to be $3,276 cheaper.

That includes a large food budget, gas and other amenities such as cable and Internet.

Still, living off campus may present drawbacks of its own.

Commuter Curylo misses living on ORU campus and the camaraderie from living so close with other students.

“Also, I miss being able to get food whenever I want,” Curylo said.

Sophomore international community development major Kelsey Prather, who is also a chaplain on Frances 6, enjoys living on campus.

“I love living on campus because it builds  so much more of a feeling of community,” said Prather.

“Living on campus gives me the opportunity to stay spiritually, physically and mentally  disciplined with there being easy access to the gym, a track, the library, the Prayer Tower, devotions and frequent prayer and worship events,” Prather said.

“I think there is a totally different ORU experience for students who choose to live on campus.”

It’s this element of student experience that the ORU housing office cites as the main reason they want students to remain in the dorms during their four years in school.

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