The main topics of concern at the Transition Advisory Team’s Student Experience subcommittee meeting Thursday were requiring freshmen to live on campus and financial aid.
The Transition Advisory Team is examining the LSU System and will recommend a reorganization plan to the LSU Board of Supervisors. It will present its initial findings to the Board on March 18.
Mass communication freshman and committee member George Bevan said there are pros and cons for requiring students to live on campus.
“It was distracting for me to sit down and study and have people coming in and out of my room, or go into the study room and have other people there,” Bevan said.
Renford Cindass, Student Government president at LSU Health New Orleans, said students who live on campus are more likely to be involved in student life and activities on campus.
“The ones who live farthest away tend to do their own thing,” Cindass said.
Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Enrollment Services Kurt Keppler said the problem with making living on campus mandatory is that the University will lose students because not all of them want to or can afford living on campus.
“A good 10 percent, if not more, live within 50 miles of our campus, many of whom have siblings, have parents, relatives or someone who lives in an apartment. If we make it mandatory, our research shows we’ll lose students,” Keppler said. “Because we have 700,000 people in Baton Rouge … they don’t all want to live on campus. They want to stay home or live with siblings.”
Mark Tassin, head of the Department of 4-H Youth and Family Development at the AgCenter, said affordability is also an issue for many people.
“I have a daughter who lives in a residence hall. We’re fortunate enough to be able to do that. That’s what she wanted to do,” he said. “But it is costly. Ninety-five percent of my friends and colleagues who have children at LSU, they commute.”
Lisa Pickering, assistant director of Financial Aid at LSU-Shreveport, addressed the issue of financial aid as not being enough for students.
“The gap is what aid covers and what students’ financial situation is,” she said. “Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in this country … Students are borrowing for living and for car expenses, for the indirect costs that factor in.”