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Students Being Forced Out of Dorms Because of Poor Grades

Students attending State University of New York at Old Westbury may find themselves homeless and hungry if they don’t keep their grades up, according to a story in The New York Times.

The college has recently began enforcing a 14-year-old policy that says any student with a cumulative grade point average lower than 2.0 will have their campus housing and meal plans revoked.

The policy is meant to “inspire higher academic achievement,” Michael Kinane, spokesman for Old Westbury, told the Times. “If you want to live in the dorms, you have to be serious about studying,” he said, noting that students may be readmitted to campus housing if their GPAs rise back up to 2.0 or higher.

While the policy may have been put into place to motivate students to do well in the classroom, it is causing some students to decide whether to stay in school or drop out. Twenty-three of the 87 students kicked out of the dorms last month have opted not to return to school.

Much of Old Westbury’s faculty oppose the policy, saying it is “overly punitive and counterproductive.” The Faculty Senate unanimously passed three resolutions seeking to suspend the policy.

Other higher education institutions have not adopted Old Westbury’s policy. Educators, for the most part, operate under the “philosophy that students who are struggling academically should remain in an academic environment and close to advisers and study groups. Students living on campus have a higher academic achievement rate,” said Kevin Kruger, a spokesman for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

At Seton Hall University in New Jersey, students must keep at least a 1.8 GPA but dorm keys are not revoked immediately if their GPA falls. Students can stay in the dorm if they agree to attend tutoring and other academic services, said Tara Hart, the director of housing and residence life at Seton Hall. 

Seton Hall has yet to remove a student from the dorm due to failing grades. “It’s not meant to be punitive and remove them, but rather to help them succeed,” Hart said.

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