Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Crashing at Grandma's? College Students to Bunk with Elderly

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Crashing at Grandma's? College Students to Bunk with Elderly

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - Ah, college. Halls of ivy. Stimulating class discussions. All-night cram sessions. Sleeping in an old woman's apartment? New York University is introducing a program next fall to help students save money by putting them up in elderly people's spare bedrooms.

It may get snickers from some students who see college as their first chance to get away from mature adults, but it is bound to get consideration from others straining under the institution's $66,000 annual bill for tuition, room and board.

The program, to be operated in conjunction with the University Settlement social service organization, will start with 10 to 15 students bunking in senior citizens' spare bedrooms.

Neither the students nor their elder hosts have been selected yet, but the basics of the program are in place: Participating students will pay $5,000 a year, thousands of dollars less than the cheapest on-campus housing option.

Almost all of the money will go to their senior hosts, said Ellen Schall, a professor of health policy and management who chairs NYU's affordability steering committee. The initiative will be expanded if it's popular.

"This is a win-win for both the seniors and the young adults, said University Settlement CEO Eric Weingartner.

Living in an older person's spare room wouldn't be for everyone.

NYU history major Brendan Gutenschwager, 19, said the option doesn't appeal to him, but might attract serious-minded older students. He envisioned that might be students who think, "You know what? I just want to get through my classes and have a good place to study where I'm not surrounded by a bunch of loud college students.

Christine Park, 19, who is studying music business at NYU, said she'd consider applying.

"If it meant that there were other NYU students in that building, and it's cheaper, why not? she said.

Under the plan, the first group of students will all be placed in one building where many elderly tenants have spare rooms. …

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