Welcome to the jungle

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

irst you have to buy furniture, plates, pots and pans, cups, dishes and silverware. You need to pur-

chase everything you took for granted at home," she says. "An iron and a vacuum are two more expensive items to add to the list."

When Jill Trumbull-Harris decided to move from Coronado Residence Hall to Country Gardens apartments, she had no idea there would be so many hidden costs.

"You also have to pay installation fees for water, phone, gas and electric companies," she said. "And the phone company wants a $200 deposit before they will give you long distance services."

Trumbull-Harris said in addition to monthly rent and utility bills, the cost of buying the things she needed was almost too much for her pocketbook to handle.

"I learned my lesson the hard way, after I moved into a studio apartment thinking I could handle the rent myself," says Trumbull-Harris, an undeclared sophomore. "And now I'm working 30 hours a week, going to school and barely making it."

Rent is only one aspect of off-campus living, says Jill Lemna, marketing director for the Department of Student Programs.

"A lot of students don't realize the full financial obligation of renting an apartment," she said.

When students are budgeting their cash to spend on rent, they often forget about their other bills, and don't set aside enough money for utilities or moving-in costs and deposits, Lemna says.

Like Trumbull-Harris, most students opt for off-campus housing after their freshman year.

About 69 percent of upper-division students live in apartments or houses, according to two surveys conducted in 1992-93 by the University of Arizona Center for Research on Undergraduate Education. In addition, 13 percent live at home with parents or other relatives.

Holly Price and her twin sister Amy want to move into an apartment of their own, but for now, the UA juniors realize Mom and Dad's house is the only financially feasible option.

"I don't mind living at home. It's easier than having to pay all the bills," Holly Price said. In addition to majoring in communications, Price works about 25 hours per week but doesn't make enough to cover rent expenses.

Price says the roughly half-hour drive to campus, finding a parking space and commuting to school at night for extracurricular events makes her eager to move closer to campus.

She plans to save her money during the school year and summer so she and her sister can get an apartment next year.

Price's mother, Debbie Leonard, said the twins plan to move out each year, but finally decided to wait until they have a large portion of their school finished and are able to get better-paying internship jobs in their areas of study.

"A lot of students are deciding to stay at home because they are smarter than we were . they are realizing that if they have a good home environment that is conducive to their studying and allows them enough freedom and independence, they don't need to move out," Leonard says.

"A lot of students move out too soon and have to move back home. It's tough to go to school and work enough hours to pay for an apartment and still finish school in a reasonable length of time," she said.

Most students will do "almost anything" to avoid moving back home after living on their own, said Robert Wrenn, psychology professor.

"It's almost always financial reasons that would cause students to move back home," Wrenn said. "Almost no one does it if they can afford not to. Most students see moving home as a regression. They are afraid their parents will treat them the same way as they did in high school."

Parents are not the only possible inhibitor to adjusting to college life, Wrenn said. Students who grew up in town and live at home during college find it harder to get involved in the flow of campus activities, he said.

"Most of their social life still revolves around their high school buddies. They don't


get hooked in," he says.

Wrenn said instead, most students will try to cut costs by rooming with friends before they consider going home.

When money gets tight and moving back home is not an option, some students make residence halls their home.

Althea Stachow spent her sophomore and junior years living off-campus, but she moved back into the dorm as a resident assistant her senior year.

"It took a lot of transition to get used to it. I felt like I was a freshman again. It was weird coming back," Stachow said.

"I support myself, so the primary reasons I decided to be an RA were financial reasons," she said. "But it is a lot of fun and a great way to meet people.

"Last year I had to take out $4,000 in student loans and this year I didn't have to take any," Stachow said. "That's a plus."

Besides living rent-free, other benefits of the job include no electric bills and $600 for food on her All Aboard account, Stachow said.

Wrenn said another national trend among college students is moving in with their boyfriend or girlfriend and postponing marriage until after college.

Lori Simpson said money and time prompted her decision to move in with her fiance.

"We decided to move in together for financial reasons and because of convenience," she said. "We were spending so much time together that it wasn't smart to run two households."

After dating for almost three years, Simpson, a communications and biology senior, and her boyfriend know they wanted to get married. Engaged since last year, the couple plans to wait another year before they get married.

"You don't have enough time to spend creating your perfect wedding while you are working at a job and trying to do schoolwork," Simpson said.

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