Two new housing incentives being offered this year by Stephen F. Austin State University are designed to help students graduate sooner and take on less debt.
Plans for a Spring Transfer Housing Allowance and a Summer Student Housing Rebate approved in January by the SFA Board of Regents are part of a larger university initiative to increase enrollment and semester credit hour production, which drive funding for state institutions of higher education.
More than 20 current SFA students already are taking advantage of the Spring Transfer Housing Allowance, which can be applied during the initial spring semester either to completely offset the cost of a lower-priced residence hall or significantly reduce the cost of a more expensive facility. To qualify for the one-time allowance, students must be transferring at least 45 credit hours to SFA, have at least a 2.5 GPA and enroll for at least 15 hours during the spring semester. This year’s Spring Transfer Housing Allowance totaled $2,034, which is equal to the current cost of living in one of the three lowest-priced residence halls.
“The housing allowance is helping me tremendously this semester,” said Maegan Huddleston of Santa Fe, a transfer student from College of the Mainland majoring in communication sciences and disorders at SFA.
“At first, I didn’t think I wanted to live on campus, but now I am so glad I decided to. It has definitely helped me financially and is also really convenient for me to get to my classes. Having a meal plan has helped, too. I’ve already had a great experience living on campus, and I have met a lot of people. I am really glad I decided to live on campus for my first semester at SFA.”
The Summer Housing Rebate will allow students who reside on campus during the spring semester and complete at least 9 hours across all summer terms (including Maymester) to have the cost of their summer housing rebated if they continue their residency through the fall. The rebate will be applied to the fall semester bill and will be equal to the amount paid for summer housing.
“SFA is now laser focused on student success and finding innovative ways to decrease the cost of a college degree,” Dr. Scott Gordon, SFA president, said. “With our recently unveiled tuition models, a ‘15 to Finish’ campaign and these new housing incentives, we are taking the lead in providing students with cost effective and timely degree completion options.”
The new housing incentive programs have significant benefits for both SFA students and the university, said Winston Baker, director of residence life at SFA. “They are truly win-wins. We will hopefully see an increase in transfer enrollment, semester credit hours, retention and graduation rates while lessening both the short- and long-term financial burden on our students and their families.”
These new programs can help significantly lower the amount of debt students take with them after graduation, not only by reducing overall housing costs but also by shortening the time it takes to complete a degree, according to Dr. Steve Westbrook, vice president for university affairs at SFA.
“We are diligently working to find more creative programs like these to incentivize students to take 15 or more hours every long semester in order to shorten time to degree because we know that is one of the best ways to reduce the overall cost of higher education,” Westbrook said.
For more information about the new housing incentives, contact the SFA Residence Life Department at (936) 468-2601 or via email at email@example.com. For more general SFA housing information, visit sfasu.edu/reslife.