Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I should have swallowed my pride and gone to a technical school

So, in case you’ve missed all the social media blasts, NGU is installing a new housing policy.

The gist of it is that in order to commute, you have to either live with your parents or be over the age of 23.

Now, you might as well just ignore that last part, because, if you’re on the four year plan (or trying to be on the four year plan), you will have graduated by the time you turn 22.

I’m a senior at NGU who’s set to graduate in December. (The way our classes are set up for certain majors make it impossible for almost anyone to graduate on time.) For the first two years of school, I lived on campus even though my home was only 15 minutes away. I thought it was required to live on campus in order to receive my scholarship from the university. I then moved back home, and have been commuting for the past two years.

The old standards of being a commuter were for the student to be 21 years of age, live 5 miles from campus, live with a parent/guardian, be married, or have part-time class hours as a student.

So, why are these new rules problematic?

Let’s first weigh out the pros for the students:
That’s easy, there are none.

Now, let’s weigh out the pros for the school:
  • The average cost of education for a commuter is around $14,000 a year. The cost of education for someone living on campus is around $24,000. That’s an extra $10,000 dollars a year NGU gets to rake in.
  • More rules apply to those who live on campus (meaning more control), some of which also involve monetary compensation. 

The cons for the school:
  • Campus is already cramped and running out of room. Almost as many students commute as do those that live on campus. We don’t have any new dorms or housing so where are all these people supposed to live? NGU claims they've built two new resident halls and will be able to provide a place for everyone but what about the waves of new students coming in with each new year? The number always increases, sometimes by the thousands.
  • Commuters rarely opt to have a meal plan, so the cafeteria will now have to supply twice as much food with every meal to provide for those living on campus. That will be twice the cost and twice the work. See ya later, what little quality we did have in the food.
And that’s about it.

The cons for students (where do I begin?):
  • NGU dorms are extremely disgusting. Even the “newer”, “nicer” dorms are constantly being fixed for leaks, heating and air not working, locks breaking, or being sprayed for bug infestations. Why would I give up living in a brand new apartment by myself or with a roommate to go live in a ROOM with someone else, in which I had to share a tiny-ass bathroom with four people and sleep in a bed that was hard as a rock and also three times smaller than the one I currently have? I have a full and functioning kitchen in my home or apartment that allows me to cook REAL AND HEALTHY MEALS on a stove or in an oven. You can only make so many things in a microwave.
  • There is still not a single place where people (and by people I mean men and women) can meet to fellowship or study or pray comfortably. The few places we do have are at a holding capacity of only about 100 people. At a home or apartment, I can host a church group, have a study session, or invite a friend over to just hangout after a rough week. There is no possible way to do that living on campus at North Greenville.
  • On top of that, North Greenville IS IN THE MIDDLE OF FREAKING NOWHERE. The university tends to forget that some of us have jobs in order to stay afloat or more importantly, pay for school. Many of the students work in the food industry and have no choice but to work evening shifts that don't let out until the later parts of the night. They’re then faced with a long drive back to school, potentially waking their roommate up if they’re asleep and also not getting much sleep themselves due to the extra time needed to drive back to campus. Sorry, not everyone can be a work study.
  • On another work note, what if I happened to find a well-paying job in Greenville but my parents lived elsewhere? While that might be fine and dandy to live on campus during the semester, what about summer and winter break? Students aren't allowed to stay on campus, so how am I supposed to work my job in Greenville from 2 or more hours away? Are you going to ask me to give up my job to continually move back and forth each semester and break? You can’t just rent an apartment for three months. Or do you want me to pay for it for 6 months and only be allowed to live in it for three?
There’s plenty more that I could say in defense of not only just commuters, but the students that go to NGU.

No one deserves to have their life controlled by an institution. This is our education. We are paying these people to teach us things that are supposed to be preparing us for a job in the line of work we want to be in. And we've chosen this institution because Christ is supposed to make the difference.

Many people will tell us to be grateful and that none of our rights are being infringed upon. They say, "Oh, if you go over the hill, they're charging 40,000 dollars a year for education, so be thankful you aren't in the same boat" or "Many  universities, locally and nationally,  have very similar policies." Quite frankly, I don't give a flip what they're doing over the hill or nationally at other universities. I'm not attending those universities, I'm attending NGU. Stop trying to distract me with what other people are doing in order to slip by what you're trying to do. What they're doing at other universities isn't directly affecting my living situation.

Another argument asks us what's wrong with the school asking us to live in a place where our light, electric, and water bills are covered no matter what, and we're provided three hot meals a day. 

That's funny, I could say the same thing about prison.

Granted, NGU isn't prison, but our rights to express our opinion and live in ways that are best suited to our situations are slowly being taken away.

At age 18, we’re considered adults by our country, so why are we still being treated as children in the schools that are supposed to preparing us to live as “grown ups” in “the real world”? 

Part of the e-mail explaining the new housing policy said that, “The University believes that students benefit more from their college experience when they are a resident student.”

As a student, I think I am the better interpreter of which choice of residence benefits me more.

In case you haven’t noticed, NGU, I am an adult and I can make my own decisions. That doesn’t mean that my decisions are always good, but it’s still my right to make them. And when I do make the wrong ones, I will (hopefully) learn to deal with them myself, as I should.

If you don’t want me to drink alcohol on campus, fine. This is your campus.
If you require me to take certain classes for general education, fine. This is your curriculum.
If you don’t want me to wear a hat inside a building, fine. This is your dress code on the premises.

But I have a problem when you try to take away my freedoms of being an adult, particularly off campus. And just because I don't want my life controlled by an institution doesn't mean that I'm an ungrateful or negative person. 

By attending NGU I've learned to respect authority while disagreeing with it and I've learned a lot of self-discipline, which I am genuinely thankful for. I've also grown exponentially in my talents as a writer. I will never regret my studies under certain professors. 

My prediction is that NGU is going to face losing a crippling amount of students due to this increase in what it's going to cost a lot more people to get an education. Their ploy to get more money is going to fail and the commuting rules will remain the same. But that may not happen unless we voice our concerns about it.

So to my fellow students, graduates, NGU supporters (or haters), Billy Watson says, "If you have any questions, please come see me and I will sit down and talk to you and try to answer any questions or concerns you may have." 

So, let’s take him up on his offer. Send him all the e-mails, all the letters, all the phone calls you can informing the university just how ridiculous and harmful this policy is to the students as well as the university.

There's no need to be nasty, angry, or spiteful. As Christians, we should explain to them in love why this is so harmful to a lot of our future and current career paths, as well as the spreading of the Gospel.

And if Christ really makes the difference at NGU, they'll receive our concerns and genuinely reconsider.


  1. would like to see the administration honestly respond to these valid concerns

  2. Is there any way this could be sent to administration? You bring up incredibly valid points and arguments. Love this.

  3. As a NGU alumni, I believe that I am able to look at the various "controversies" in a much clearer light. I remember the "uproar" over the school requesting students not to patronize a restaurant that served alcohol 5 minuets from the school. I remember the protest and petitions for different rules.

    As I become further and further removed from that context (2 years in May) I realize just how petty these issues really are. Not to belittle the concerns mentioned in your post, but I believe that the administration has their reasons for this policy.

    I would also question some of these concerns. I wonder how many students are actually commuting who are not married or live with their parents. I found that having a dorm with a meal plan is cheaper when scholarships are applied than an off-campus apartment. Most of the commuters that I knew during my time at NGU were living with their parents since it was free.

    I agree that students are capable of making "adult" decisions at this moment of their lives, but I also believe that most students need time on-campus as a sort of incubation period.

    My main point in all of this is that while these new policies may seem unfair for the school to implement, little progress is being made by speaking out over social media. I promise by next semester the students will find another thing that causes an uproar among the student body.