It’s that time of year again. On-campus apartment contracts become available on Feb. 1 and students must weight the benefits of living in an on-campus apartment versus an off-campus apartment.

The University has three apartment complexes available to upperclassmen: East Campus Apartments, West Campus Apartments and the newly completed Nicholson Gateway Apartments. All three apartment complexes offer students the convenience of living on campus, but with the privacy that students typically don’t get in residence halls.

Associate Director of Communications and Development of Residential Life Catherine David said on-campus apartments are a great option for upperclassmen and offer many amenities they may not find at off-campus apartments.

“It gives our students the privacy and independence they want as upperclassmen while still helping them ease into adulthood,” David said. “They don’t have to worry about monthly bills, but they still have the convenience of walking to class, having a 24-hour front desk, police presence -- some features they might not know are important until they need them.”

Sociology senior Tiana Lazard lived at University Edge last year but moved back on campus once Nicholson Gateway Apartments opened. Lazard said she prefers to use her fee bill to pay for on-campus housing rather than paying monthly for an off-campus apartment. She also appreciates the police presence at Nicholson Gateway.

“Because it’s on campus, it has to be really tight on security,” Lazard said. “It’s so well lit and officers drive around. I feel a lot safer here than I did at University Edge.”

However, some students feel that on-campus apartments don’t afford them the same privacy as off-campus apartments. Like residence halls, on-campus apartments have resident assistants (RAs) to provide support to students, but some students would prefer to live in on-campus apartments without RAs.

“I live in an off-campus apartment for the freedom,” said psychology senior Brooke Fountain. “I don’t like having an RA and feeling like I’m being babysat.”

The main complaint many students have about living in an on-campus apartment is the price compared to off-campus apartments.

Finance junior Evan Waguespack lived at East Campus Apartments last year, but he currently lives in an off-campus apartment. He enjoyed the convenience of living on campus last year, but said he now pays less for a better experience off campus.

“There’s really not much LSU can do besides lower prices,” Waguespack said. “When you go off campus, you’re getting a better living space for cheaper.”

Residential Life completes a market analysis for on-campus rent rates every year and compares the University’s prices to prices at local apartment complexes, as well as within other SEC schools. David said students should also be aware that the University lists their rent prices by semester while local off-campus apartments list monthly rates, which appear much lower.

David encouraged all students to do their own research about living in on-campus and off-campus apartments and compare the benefits they would receive at the apartment complexes they’re interested in.

“Weigh your options and compare apples to apples,” David said. “Pick what’s best for you as a student, not what you think is cooler to do or what you think everybody else does.”

Residential Life also encourages students to tour the on-campus apartments before making a final decision. On Feb. 4, Residential Life will host Apartment Hop. Students can hop on and off the LSU Trolley, which will travel to East Campus Apartments, West Campus Apartments and Nicholson Gateway Apartments on a continuous loop from 5:30-8 p.m.

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