When moving out of your family home to attend your preferred university, finding somewhere to live is at the top of the priority list. For many, University campus accommodation is the way to go as it offers convenience and security for someone who is moving away from home for the first time.
30,554 students attend University of Wollongong (UOW), 12,360 are international students, that’s 40.5 percent of the overall student enrolment; you can imagine how many students would be interested in campus living. And for students moving to Wollongong to attend the university, campus living is sometimes the only option, especially when you do not know the area well and have little to no contacts in the town. I can relate to the worries of moving to a new city for study. I had never visited Wollongong before attending its university and had no friends or family to lean on for help. Campus accommodation seemed like the best bet as it provided furnished living space, close proximity to the university campus or the free shuttle bus stops, and gave me the opportunity to meet other people who were in a similar situation to myself. However after living on campus for a year, I started to weigh up the pros and cons of living on campus.
UOW offers a choice of 9 living quarters, with an availability of 1906 beds, however studies show that additional 1100 beds will need to be on offer by 2020. It is clear that the demand for university housing grows with numbers of student enrolments, and this unfortunately results in a raise of living fees. In 2015 I paid 189 dollars per week at Kooloobong Village, including utility bills, for a bedroom in a 5-bed unit. The 2016 fee to live in the same quarters are 230 dollars per week. This proves that it is acceptable to predict that fees will rise each year. After experiencing first hand the very simple living conditions, I question whether it’s the standard you’re paying for or the convenience of campus living. The conditions can however be easily ignored if you are lucky to live with friendly, like-minded students, although what if you’re luck falls short and you and your room mates don’t get along.
Moving away from home is always a gamble, however after living on campus for a year, is the money you pay worth it? This has resulted in the motivation to answer the question; Does University housing stand as the best option for university students?
With students outnumbering the campus living availability, it would be interesting to compare the pros and cons of off campus living conditions. By utilising both primary and secondary research methods, I hope to find out if there is indeed a better choice for the students at UOW. I plan to make use of primary methodologies at the university campus as it provides a stomping ground for a variety of student body. I will direct both survey interviews and focus group interviews; They will not only question off campus and on campus students but also those who have experienced both arrangements so I have a vast range of opinions to avoid a biased attitude. From the data I collect I hope to receive some thoughts on the experience and costs that UOW living offers, which will drive me closer to answering my research question.
It is important in the outcome of my research to collect journal articles, statistics and dig for any other similar studies carried out on student accommodation, as it will add depth to the research profile and support my reasons for believing my topic is an issue worth learning more about. From reading an article published by the Investopedia Newsletter, I was further convinced that there are real concerns with the pressure costs of living put on a student and how living on campus is not always the best option.
I feel that my research is important and relevant to a large portion of society, that being young university students, as it provides insight into a topic that is very serious to many people who move out of home. I hope to impart people with knowledge that will help people make a decision that makes a big impact on personal well being.
Bram, T unknown, ‘College Dorms: Good Value or Ripoff?’, Investopedia, viewed 25 March 2016, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/younginvestors/08/dorm-live-on-off-campus.asp?rp=i
Driscoll, E 2013, ‘Great Housing Debate: Living On or Off Campus, Fox Business: College Planning, viewed 25 March 2016, http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2013/07/19/great-housing-debate-living-on-or-off-campus.html