Aug

13

AHinks Responds to Barnard Housing Crisis

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Late last week, we learned that Barnard students returning from leave or transferring in will probably have to live off-campus, which could mean the loss of some financial aid and on-campus housing the year after. We reached out to Dean Hinkson to hear the Barnard administration’s side of the story.

Upside: Barnard students might not be screwed. Downside: she didn’t give us conclusive answers regarding financial aid loss or the restoration of on-campus housing for those affected in 2013.

First of all, Dean Hinkson confirmed that not all transfer students and students returning from leaves of absence are not guaranteed on-campus housing, though they’ve often gotten it in the past. Dean Hinkson:

There has never been guaranteed housing for transfers, however, in previous years we have been able to accommodate their requests. Students on leave have also traditionally been accommodated but this year’s situation did not allow for that.

Update, 8/14 2 pm: A sharp-eyed tipster points out that Dean Hinkson never technically says that students on leave have not been guaranteed housing, though that’s clearly the implication. We’ll ask Barnard to clarify this.

Will those students forced to live off-campus still be eligible for next year’s housing lottery? Barnard’s Housing website says no, but Dean Hinkson says maybe:

That decision has not been finalized. An announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

And what about financial aid? Barnard’s Housing website says off-campus students will receive less financial aid, since they’ll lose on-campus housing grants, while a commenter on our last post claims that off-campus students still receive some housing aid, just not as much as on-campus students. Dean Hinkson is a little more evasive here:

Each student receives a financial aid package based on individual circumstances. The Office of Financial Aid takes into account many factors including whether that student lives on campus, off campus or commutes from home.

For now, the housing crisis only affects students returning from leaves of absence and transfer students (and residents of Plimpton corner rooms). Is there any chance it could spread to students with guaranteed housing? Dean Hinkson says absolutely not:

Everyone who was guaranteed housing has been housed.

Dean Hinkson also explained to us what caused the Barnard housing crisis:

We had fewer housing cancellations than we normally do, we had more returning students request housing, and overall, we have more students opting to stay on campus instead of seeking off-campus housing.

Looks like Barnard’s attempt to guilt students into living on-campus may have worked too well.

So there you have it: there was never a policy of guaranteeing housing for transfers or students taking time off, even though in the past they were accommodated. It all sounds eerily similar to Barnard’s last administrative flub. After closing the option of part-time registration for Barnard seniors, Dean Hinkson equivocated: she maintained that while part time enrollment had been allowed in the past, there was no explicit policy allowing it.

Moreover, Dean Hinkson understands that students forced to live off-campus this year would be looped into a catch-22 if they were barred from the Housing Lottery the year after, and she says she’s considering ways to sidestep that.

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14 Comments

  1. You accidentally a word, Bwog

    "Dean Hinkson confirmed that not transfer students and students returning from leaves"

    Should it be "Dean Hinkson confirmed that not ALL..."?

  2. Anonymous

    Barnard made a great mistake in not joining Columbia College and SEAS when they had a chance.

  3. a "little" evasive...is an understatement

    Hinkson's "response" about the financial aid was so frustratingly ambivalent that it could almost be considered flippant. I don't understand why she even wasted her time saying it. What useful information could that answer possibly have revealed to a Barnard student caught up in this mess? They need to stop avoiding the truth when it comes to something as important as financial aid. Not everyone can just pull tuition money out of their ass.

  4. Baroko  

    Hinkson as you quote her is unambiguous:
    "Everyone who was guaranteed housing has been housed."
    If "this year's situation did not allow for" students on leave to have housing, then students on leave were not guaranteed housing.

  5. archives, bitch

    In February 2009, Barnard's policies stated "Eligibility for residence is limited to full-time registered Barnard students and approved visiting students who have made all required payments by the payment deadlines. Eligibility also requires that each student sign her Housing Contract by the first day of classes. If she fails to do so, she forfeits her assigned space. Eligibility for participation in the Room Selection Process is limited to those students who are registered full-time students in the spring semester, and who are currently living on campus. Students applying for re-admission to the College and those not enrolled in the Spring semester are guaranteed housing if accepted (for the upcoming fall semester), but must submit an application and wait for a room assignment from Residential Life and Housing in August."

    This would indicate that in previous years it was Barnard's specific policy that students returning from leave were guaranteed housing if they applied properly. However, the language disappears by May 2010. Either students returning from leave (i.e. "readmitted") are guaranteed housing, or they were hella shady and changed their housing guarantee without alerting students. There is no way that anyone can argue that in the past, students returning from leave were not guaranteed housing, though. Someone should go through the physical copies of the student handbook to compare the language year-over-year.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20090228194107/http://www.barnard.edu/reslife/policies/terms_and_conditions.html

  6. Nina S. Kretzmer

    "It all sounds eerily similar to Barnard’s last administrative flub. After closing the option of part-time registration for Barnard seniors, Dean Hinkson equivocated: she maintained that while part time enrollment had been allowed in the past, there was no explicit policy allowing it."

    That's strange. I'm a Double Degree student with JTS and I am only expected to have 3 full-time semesters at Barnard over 8 semesters. It's never been a question that I can be part-time.

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