It’s that time of year and the search begins for Keene State College students to find affordable off-campus housing. Students may have just arrived, but the 2016-2017 school year plans are already on their minds. Leases are getting signed and deposits are securing the new homes of many KSC students.

For Junior Ben Potter, the race is on. “I got into a heated argument with my roommate the other day about choosing a house for next year. I don’t want to wait last minute like last year and get shafted for housing my senior year,” Potter said.

KSC’s Residential Life has apartments listed on their website. However, for landlords to receive this free advertising their house must pass an inspection.

Rent for these apartments start as low as $385 a month, and some are up to $1,100 a month. For a student to pay for an apartment that’s $700 monthly, not including utilities, they would have to make $175 a week. But students are struggling to find any work at all.

Several students, like Junior Bobbi Hinsman, have a restricted amount of spare time, limiting their ability to work.

Hinsman said being a biology major here at KSC requires a lot of extra hours for school work, limiting her availability and thus lowering her chances of getting hired over the hundreds of other students applying all over Keene.

Athletes like junior lacrosse player Nick Morin are also having a problem finding work with such a busy schedule. Morin not only has to budget his time for class and homework, but also for practice and maintaining a social life.

Senior Camille Harrington says she has applied for on-campus work studies and although she has ample availability she has

Sarah Morrison Equinox Staff

Sarah Morrison Equinox Staff

yet to find work. Harrington also explained that she receives assistance from her parents and must budget her money to afford her apartment in Arcadia. Students like Brianna Neely believe that on-campus housing is pricey too.

According to Keene State Admissions, room (multiple) is $6,372 and board (platinum plan) is $3,340. That’s a total of $9,712, or about $1,000 a month for one academic calendar. Neely is required as a student living on campus to have a platinum meal plan, which she believes she does not use nearly enough to warrant the cost.

One option for students to cover the costs of off-campus housing is to take out a loan.

Although the majority of leases start in June, refund checks are not dispersed until mid-September. Tenants are then left responsible to pay for rent three months before school starts.

Junior Katie Kiley has her apartment for the 2016-2017 school year already secured. Kiley says her landlord, Keene Student Rentals, negotiated a “good samaritan deal,” allowing her to pay for only half the cost of her rent for those three months. She is responsible for paying the remainder back in her September 2016 rent.

Junior Nick St. Jean paints houses and also has a work study in the TDS center on campus, which he explained doesn’t cover all of his living expenses.

St. Jean said even though he has a few years to pay back his student loans, the future debt he will face is a concern of his, saying it’s “always in the back of my head.”

With a student body made up of approximately 5,500, there are currently only 161 available on-campus employment listings on the Keene State College website. These include Federal Work-Studies (FWS) and Student Hourly (SH) such as parking enforcement assistants, tutors and building monitors. There are also businesses throughout the city of Keene hiring such as Athens Pizza House & Restaurant, Amici’s Pizza and McDonald’s.  So, what’s the best option? According to Res Life Director Kent Drake-Deese, “Housing is expensive on campus. Living on campus isn’t for everybody”.

Drake-Deese also advises to be careful, landlords have no relationship with the college and students can get taken advantage of. You can try to negotiate your lease but landlords aren’t always understanding.

Keene Cribs Student Rentals own over 20 properties in Keene with each property varying in price depending on location and number of occupants.

Landlord Trevor Grauer says that leases are negotiable and that he works with students to do that. When considering living off campus, Drake-Deese said, “you always want to see that lease in advance.”

Alex Enayat can be contacted at

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