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  • Former MBA director receives sentence

    | Kelsea Renz copy editor |

    Former MBA director Michael Muoghalu was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Monday, June 8, after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, according to Barry Grissom, U.S. Attorney.
    Muoghalu was also ordered to pay $148,430 in restitution to the university, which the university has yet to receive.
    Muoghalu admitted in his plea agreement that he committed these crimes while he oversaw the Nigerian graduate student exchange program at PSU.
    According to the press release from the Kansas District U.S. Attorney’s Office, Muoghalu and an unknown accomplice in Nigeria created fake documents that allowed certain Nigerian students to join the PSU Nigerian exchange program. The students paid a deposit when accepted and were later refunded part of it. Muoghalu then would demand a fee for his services as intermediary.
    Once the university discovered the scheme through an internal review, university officials sought help from the IRS, the FBI and the Crawford County Attorney’s Office, as well as hired the accounting firm BKD to audit the foreign exchange program.
    “We’re grateful for the efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Crawford County Attorney’s Office in this matter,” said Chris Kelly, associate vice president for university marketing and communication. “They were very helpful in working with us to bring this matter to a proper resolution.”
    According to the press release, Grissom also “commended IRS Criminal Investigation, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger for their work on the case.”
    The university has been working to reform its policies and procedures, particularly for the exchange program and the MBA office.
    “We actually began moving forward in the weeks following our discovery of the matter,” Kelly said. “(BKD) didn’t find any major concerns with our program, but did recommend we update our policies and procedures.”
    These are mostly general updates to close potential holes.
    “In general, we will be updating policies and procedures related to the program. An example of this would be updating exchange agreements,” Kelly said. “We are in the process of doing this now and will have them in place this fall.”
    Paul Grime, dean of the Kelce College of Business, has also been working on making changes within the college.
    “We are in the process of restructuring several positions,” Kelly said. “The first change took place…with the appointment of Dr. Bienvenido Cortes to the position of associate dean and MBA director.
    “Finance professor Kevin Bracker will become the chair of the Economics, Finance and Banking Department. We expect to be able to announce additional changes in the coming weeks.”

  • City, university hoping for local casino

    | Kelsea Renz copy editor |

    The city of Pittsburg may get the first non-tribal casino in Kansas if the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board (KLGFRB) chooses Kansas Crossing over the other two proposed locations.
    The three locations in the running are Kansas Crossing at the intersection of highways 69 and 400; Castle Rock near Downstream Casino in Oklahoma; and the former Camptown Casino site on Highway 69 north of Frontenac. The KLGFRB will meet on Tuesday, June 23, to discuss the applicants and could announce its decision that day.
    “The KLGFRB will look at a number of criteria, including potential revenue, viability, ability of the local municipality to meet the infrastructure needs, etc.,” said Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “I can’t speak for the KLGFRB, but I’m sure their ultimate goal is to select the project that will be best for the state.”
    The city has endorsed the Kansas Crossing location during these proceedings.
    “The city feels that Kansas Crossing would be the best fit and the best community partner for Pittsburg,” Benson said.”
    Benson says that having a casino would benefit the city, especially the local economy.
    “Expanded gaming would have a tremendous effect on our travel and tourism market, particularly as it relates to … conferences and meetings,” he said. “We have the amenities to host these events, but often lose out to communities that have recreational activities … available for conference attendees to enjoy after their meetings are finished.
    “Those visitors shop at our local businesses while they’re here, and the tax revenue they generate helps support essential city and county services that we all use.”
    Chris Kelly, associate vice president of university marketing and communication, says that a casino would also help Pittsburg State University hold bigger and better events.
    “Our greatest interest is in the possibility of adding hotel rooms to our community,” he said. “Obviously, the closer a casino is to our city limits, the more likely it is that our guests would be able to take advantage of a hotel.
    “We have many events planned for our new facilities and having enough hotel space is critical.”
    But support for the Pittsburg casino is not unanimous.
    Residents on Langdon Lane near the proposed casino formed a Facebook group called No Kansas Crossing. The residents say they are concerned about the casino’s traffic impact on their residential neighborhood and the potential increase of drunken drivers on Langdon Lane, also known as 220th Street.
    Benson says that although there are concerns about gambling in general, those problems already exist in Pittsburg because of the close proximity to casinos in Oklahoma and Missouri.
    “Those in our community that choose to game are already making the short drive to the Oklahoma casinos,” he said. “I don’t think that giving them an option closer to Pittsburg will create a significant number of new problems.”
    Even if new problems do arise, Kelly remains optimistic.
    “We understand and respect those who are concerned about the potential impact a casino might have on our community,” he said. “Our hope is that operators will implement proper controls, policies and programs to minimize the negative aspects of gaming.”

  • Not yet out of the woods

    | Audrey Dighans editor in chief |

    Although the state Legislature managed to pass a budget in time to avert furloughs that Pitt State and other government agencies were forced to enact, legislators say the budget bill fails to address the causes of Kansas’ financial troubles and many fear the state is not yet out of the woods.
    Kansas’ plan to balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, starts with raising $411 million. Sales tax will be increased from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent and a new tax has been levied on cigarettes: 50 cents per pack. E-cigarettes are also included, with a 20-cent tax per milliliter starting in July 2016.
    Other parts of the plan include a drop on the sales tax of food next year, but the food sales tax rebate for low income, those with disabilities and the elderly will be eliminated. Income tax rates for wage-earning workers are to be frozen through 2017 and are set to decline for low-income workers in 2018. The state’s cities and counties must also hold public elections to raise property tax income by more than the rate of inflation. In 2019, if state revenues grow by more than 3 percent, automatic tax cuts will be enacted. Dec. 31, 2019 is also the date set for when most sales and property tax exemptions will expire, except those for churches, agriculture, business-to-business transactions and select health-care related purchases.
    Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, was quoted in the Wichita Eagle last week as asking the Senate to pass the bill “with a strong vote, strong enough to send a message to the House that says this is the answer. Finish our work here.”
    The Senate passed the tax plan by the tightest possible margin.
    In the House, the plan was approved on Friday, June 12, and was resent to the Senate, which passed it 12 hours later.
    The House amended the plan by removing the Senate’s provision to reduce the food sales tax rate and cutting the rebate program for low income, elderly and those with disabilities. The House also eliminated income taxes for 380,000 low-income Kansans in the tax year of 2016.
    Rep. Blake Carpenter, R-Derby, cast the deciding vote and left the chamber without answering questions.
    Many in both the House and the Senate say the plan is flawed and they voted for it after being bullied by the governor and to prevent further, massive budget cuts.
    Sen. Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, was quoted in the Kansas City Star last week accusing Gov. Sam Brownback and his administration of bullying both the Senate and the House into action, threatening to veto any plan that removes Brownback’s income tax exemption to 330,000 businesses. There is also the matter of the entire budget shortfall being caused by the income-tax cuts Brownback urged and lawmakers approved in 2012 and 2013.
    Longbine said of the state’s plan in the Star: “The fix doesn’t fix the problem.”
    He says he wants to watch the plan burn and voted for it to prevent cuts in the state’s schools, universities and other services.
    In a media release by the office of the governor, Brownback says he congratulates the House and the Senate for “coming together in a spirit of cooperation and compromise to do what is right for Kansas.”
    “This bill keeps the state on a path of economic growth,” Brownback said in the press release. “It continues our transition from taxes on productivity to consumption-based taxes and provides a mechanism for reducing income tax rates for all our citizens.”
    Kansas’ so-called “pro-growth” tax policy will leave the state with the eighth highest sales tax in the country. Moreover, the promised job gains that Brownback promised have not materialized; in fact, the state lags the rest of the country in job and economic growth.
    It is estimated that about 42 percent of the more than $400 million projected to be raised by the new budget will come from the increased sales tax. Another 10.5 percent is expected to come from the cigarette tax and 25 percent from tax deduction changes and redistribution of existing funds/other elements of the budget plan.
    In his blog, Duane Goossen, former Kansas budget director (1998-2010), posted “The Obvious Solution,” on Tuesday, June 16. In his post, Goossen says the obvious solution to the state’s financial problems has gotten little traction and as Longbine argues, has been threatened with a veto if proposed: Undoing the tax policy that created the problem, Brownback’s “fiscal experiment” in 2012.
    “If tax policy had been left alone, our state sales tax would now be 5.7 percent and the state could easily pay expenses with adequate reserves left at the end of the year,” Goossen writes. “Our state highway fund would be healthy, our bond rating up and the legislative session long over.
    “In Kansas, we currently suffer from the latter irresponsible affliction. Income tax cuts that disproportionally benefit the wealthiest Kansans have destabilized state finances.”

    Sam Brownback

    Sam Brownback

  • PSU prepares for possible furloughs

    | Audrey Dighans editor-in-chief |

    Pittsburg State University is preparing for the possibility of having to enforce state furloughs if the Kansas legislature is unable to agree on a tax plan by midnight on Saturday, June 6.
    A furlough is a mandatory leave without pay for a preset number of hours.
    Steve Scott, university president, said in a university press release that the university is looking for guidance from the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Department of Administration.
    “Our intentions are to craft a plan that provides as high a level of support as possible given the limitations the state has placed upon us,” Scott said in the press release.
    The possibility of needing to enforce furloughs comes from lawmakers having yet to agree on a tax proposal to close an estimated $400 million budget hole. The Kansas Department of Administration’s website explains that the state must have a budget in place in order to distribute funds, and with no budget agreed upon, the state is only authorized to cover expenses through June 30. However, since employees will receive their paychecks for the payroll period that begins on June 7, the expenditure is considered to occur in the next fiscal year. Thus, each agency, meaning Pittsburg State University, must determine which of its employees are non-essential and essential. The non-essential will have to go on furlough.
    The decision of who is essential and who is not will be announced no later than noon on Friday, June 5. Those classified non-essential will be affected by furlough at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 7.
    “We’ve been placed in a disappointing and frustrating situation,” Scott said in the university’s press release. “Unfortunately, our options at the campus level are very limited.”
    The perhaps one ray of sunshine in this situation is that if state lawmakers manage to pass some form of legislation authorizing state expenditures for the next fiscal year by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, furloughs will not be enforced.
    University employees on furlough will not be able to use accrued leave to avoid leave without pay. They may be able to receive unemployment benefits, retirement salaries and health care. Sick/vacation accruals will not be affected. Employees who are already on paid leave and are classified as non-essential by Friday, June 5, will fall under furlough just like all other furloughed employees.
    For more information on furloughs go to https://admin.ks.gov.

  • Erwin new v.p. for student life

    | Audrey Dighans editor-in-chief |

    Pittsburg State University announced a title change in the university’s leadership on Wednesday, May 27.
    Steve Erwin, who has served as the university’s associate vice president for campus life and auxiliary services for more than a decade, will now assume the role of vice president for student life. With the title change, Erwin will report directly to Steve Scott, university president, on issues and operations within the university’s Student Life Division.
    “The vice president for student life will serve as the senior position on campus focusing on the needs of students,” Erwin said. “While that was really the core of my previous role, having these functions as a division with a VP reporting to the president elevates the importance of these functions.”
    Student Life Division works to provide services and amenities to students at PSU. The division encompasses several offices and departments on campus, including Student Health Services, Campus Activities, Greek Life, Student Government, Campus Recreation and Intramural Sports, Dining Services, Gorilla Bookstore, Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Housing and University Parking and Police, to name a few.
    “A robust campus support system is essential to a student’s ability to achieve in the classroom,” Erwin said in a university press release.
    He also says in the press release that he is looking forward to continuing the important work of the division for many years to come.
    Scott says the announcement is more than just a title change.
    “It represents both a symbolic statement about the importance of student life programs and activities on the campus and a practical statement as well,” he said. “Over the past number of years, Dr. Erwin’s duties have dramatically increased.
    “He’s become our person for crisis planning and response, he oversees our campus security and with the implementation of a health center, arts center, recreation center and student center, his responsibilities have broadened.”
    The decision for Erwin’s title change is also in line with the university’s new strategic plan, which Scott says will be revealed later this fall.
    “The plan will keep academic excellence at the heart of what we do,” Scott said. “But it will require that we maintain a campus environment that supports student success and degree attainment. The plan will require more from our co-curricular efforts in support of our students.”
    Before the announcement of the title change, John Patterson, vice president of administration and campus life, oversaw Erwin.
    “Patterson has encouraged Erwin to report directly to me with campus security and safety matters,” Scott said. “We’ve also worked together on dealing with inclement weather. I am looking forward to building an even stronger relationship with him.”

  • Pitt C.A.R.E.S about its students

    | Kyleigh Becker reporter |

    More than 1,000 incoming freshman have signed up for Pitt C.A.R.E.S so far and the admissions office expects that number to reach about 1100 by the end of the program this year.
    Every year admissions hosts Pitt C.A.R.E.S. so that incoming freshmen can learn about what Pitt State has to offer them in the fall.
    “We’re trying to raise student awareness of resources on campus and organizations,” said Tony Fuentez, associate director of admission. “We feel it’s needed for students, so when they show up in August they’re not lost.”
    Meagan Smejdir, program coordinator for campus activities, says that the Campus Activities Center was responsible for the club fair on Monday, with around 30 of PSU’s 150 student organizations represented.
    “We want to expose incoming students to a portion of student activities and get them excited about getting involved,” she said.
    Adam Fogle, freshman in mechanical engineering, says that it was overwhelming but surpassed his expectations.
    “I wasn’t expecting much,” he said. “But I came and it was awesome. The people are all really nice.”
    Fogle, like Westervelt, says he thought it better prepared him to start classes in the fall, but that it tended to drag.
    “I wish there was less sitting and listening to lectures,” Fogle said.
    Jordan Gorges, freshman in nursing, says she agrees.
    “I feel like the sessions could involve students more: less sitting and waiting,” she said.
    Aaron Westervelt, freshman in construction, says that the day was informative and he feels more prepared for what to expect on his first day of college.
    “But it did seem like (it took) forever because we were sitting all day,” he said. “And I wish we’d got more information on what to expect before we got here.”
    Gorges says she knew what she was getting into when she signed up, but, like Fogle and Westervelt, thought it was a bit overwhelming.
    “It’s a lot of information to take in all at once,” she said, “but I think it’ll be helpful.”
    Gorges’s mother, Cynthia Gorges, came with her daughter and says that the most helpful thing she got out of the day was some advice.
    “Listening to them telling me I need to back off and let her do their thing (was the most helpful),” she said.
    Jaina Mills, freshman in elementary education, says that Pitt C.A.R.E.S was just about what she expected.
    “It was really helpful for people who’ve never been in college before,” she said. “I think it’s a really good program and that they thought all about what we needed to know.”
    Mills said she was most looking forward to enrollment out of all the activities.
    “I was excited about getting put into my classes,” she said.
    Westervelt also says he had looked forward to enrollment the most.
    “It’s exciting to know it’s finally happening,” he said. “I can finally say I’m a gorilla.”

    Incoming fresman in biology, Bethany Brautman, recieves a free tee shirt at Pitt CARES in Whitesitt hall Monday, June 1st.

    Incoming fresman in biology, Bethany Brautman, recieves a free tee shirt at Pitt CARES in Whitesitt hall Monday, June 1st.

  • Overman on schedule

    | Audrey Dighans editor-in-chief |
    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    It has been near a month since the last pencil on the last final was put down, but work on the Overman Student Center is still underway.
    Since students have left, the renovation progress on the exisiting 34,000 sq. ft. of Overman and the 34,000 sq. ft. addition has continued on schedule.
    Starting on the main floor of the center, the temporary wall by the information desk, where the bank and ticket office once were, has been removed. The new tile flooring that appeared last year in the Gorilla Crossing has finally extended all the way down to the point entrance and carpet has been laid down in the newly created lounge area where the bank used to be.
    “This space was actually this way before the bank came to us,” said Jeff Steinmiller, director of Overman.
    The new lounge area is also the entrance to the outdoor terrace, which will be furnished with outdoor seating courtesy of Student Government Association (SGA). The west entrance and its bathrooms have also been redone, with the bathrooms getting a full gutting and refurbishing.
    “(It was) a needed update,” Steinmiller said. “Those bathrooms used to be straight out of the ‘50s.”
    The west entrance also no longer has access to the second level of the building, only providing passage to the main floor and basement.
    On the second floor, the temporary wall on the building’s south side, where the back entrance to the ballroom used to be, is still up to keep dust, dirt and noise out of the finished renovated sections such as the Balkans and Prairie rooms. Behind the temporary wall, the last bit of the old ballroom floor is still intact, but not for much longer.
    “The entire second floor of the building will be carpeted,” Steinmiller said, “including the new ballroom on the other side of the building.”
    What’s left of the old Crimson & Gold Ballroom will be turned into lounge space and a hallway that will lead from the west side of Overman to the east side, the full length of the building.
    “Beforehand it was a little complicated navigating through the building,” Steinmiller said. “We focused on straightening the hallways.”
    Where the stairs from the west entrance used to reach the second floor, there is now a balcony looking down. The bathrooms on this floor were also renovated and a unisex bathroom installed.
    The back area of what was the ballroom is now named the Meadowlark conference block, where three conference rooms are now located.
    The ballroom has further been transformed with the completed Sunset A & B rooms and Kansas One, Two, Three and Four rooms, where the back hallway behind Kansas East and West used to be. The Kansas rooms all utilize the building’s outer windows, giving them views of Horace Mann and the Newman Center.
    In the addition, the SGA, Campus Activities and Gorilla Activities Board offices are no longer just steel poles; the walls are up and the paint is dry. Each of the main offices, like many of the meeting rooms upstairs, also have window-walls to enhance natural light and visibility.
    “All these rooms will have electric roller shades to lower if the sun shines in too much or a meeting is taking place and privacy is wanted,” Steinmiller said.
    The stairway from the main floor to the second floor on the southeast side of the building has also been completed along with the installation of the building’s second elevator.
    “All the lighting in the building is new as well,” Steinmiller said. “It’s all LED, environmental.”
    The U-Club has also been expanded and painted, but Steinmiller says that, after looking at the yellow, the board has decided to repaint to better fit the U-club’s persona.
    “Our first order of the new furniture is scheduled to arrive on July 20,” Steinmiller said. “We are also reusing and repurposing all the building’s existing furniture.
    Crossland Construction has been the university’s subcontractor for the Overman Renovation. The company is on time to meet its completion date of July 9. Sodexo will then begin to install the new dining facilities in the U-Club, which is scheduled to take between 2 and 3 weeks to finish.
    “The building will be open and ready for fall,” Steinmiller said.

    The renovations on the second floor of the student center are progressing.

    The renovations on the second floor of the student center are progressing.

    The renovations on first floor of the student center are progressing.

    The renovations on first floor of the student center are progressing.

  • Multitasking in a digital age

    | Kyleigh Becker reporter |

    Sky Carter, senior in electrical engineering, says she multitasks as much as she can.
    “I do it every second possible,” she said. “Especially during projects of particular length.”
    While she says she isn’t on Facebook while working, she does use her computer for research, music or tutorials.

    Maddie Stewart, freshman in nursing, uses several different electronics to assist her when it comes to doing homework or studying.

    Maddie Stewart, freshman in nursing, uses several different electronics to assist her when it comes to doing homework or studying.


    “It’s really positive for me,” she said. “If I have Jackie Chan playing in the background, I can focus. If I don’t, then I can’t concentrate.”
    Her tech-toys include a phone, two laptops and an Xbox to use while studying so she can watch a movie, program robotics and draw in CAD.
    “If it’s a big group project or a long night at the lab, I’ll bring my Xbox,” Carter said.
    It’s not only technology students who bring the tech into their study sessions.
    Carlie Gernhart, senior in commercial arts, says she multitasks quite a lot as well.
    “I’ll usually have Photoshop open in one half and YouTube or Netflix in the other, and my phone just in case,” Gernhart said.
    Unlike Carter, Gernhart says she only uses two devices at once, either her laptop and phone or laptop and iPod.
    “I like music when I’m doing homework,” she said.
    However, Gernhart admits that it can be a little distracting.
    “I don’t know about academic (repercussions), but I think it makes me a little slower, less focused and more likely to make mistakes,” she said. “I have to think, ‘Am I actually getting more done doing it this way?’ It would probably help if I put my phone out of arm’s reach while I was working on the computer.”
    One thing Gernhart says she doesn’t do, however, is have her laptop or phone out during class.
    “I see a lot of people doing it, but it doesn’t usually distract me,” Gernhart said.
    Zach Mitchell, graduate student in communication, says he uses technology to multitask as well.
    “It’s a near constant thing,” he said. “And it’s even easier at home.”
    On average, Mitchell says he uses about two devices, with four being the maximum.
    “The TV’s usually off, but I’ll be using my computer and phone,” he said. “It affects my study habits, but I can’t say about my grades.”
    A second side effect of this multitasking, Mitchell says, is more in the realm of the social.
    “I just leave the house less (when I have technology),” he said.  
    Joey Pogue, associate professor in communication, says the usefulness of technology depends upon each person.
    “It’s a matter of cognitive engagement and responsibility,” he said. “It’s a matter of tools.”
    Pogue says the tools of technology are good when used to heighten awareness.
    “I graded a comp essay on my cell phone,” Pogue said. “And I edited my first thesis online this year.”
    In his classes, students are allowed cell phones and laptops, just not while he’s talking.
    “There’s no need for a technological bridge,” he said. “It’s taking us out of the present context … but it doesn’t have to.”
    And as for those who fall prey to digital multitasking?
    “There are no victims here, only volunteers,” Pogue said. “Nobody gets a raw deal unless they give it to themselves.”

  • Spring in the air

    | Valli Sridharan reporter |

    More than 100 students flocked to the Lindburg Plaza on Thursday, April 23, for Student Activities Council’s annual “Spring Fling.”
    Inflatables, snacks, ice cream, T-shirts, free goodies and games were spread out over the plaza, free of charge, for students’ enjoyment.
    “It is really amazing to see how many people came out to Spring Fling,” said Ryan Urban, freshman in communication. “Most students had a great time and I saw a lot of smiles.”
    Student Activities Council is also undergoing a name change. The organization used Spring Fling as a way to bring awareness to the campus that it is now the Gorillas Activities Board (GAB) and it would like all students to “Come GAB with us.”
    Gorillas In Your Midst and Residence Hall Association were some of the other organizations to have booths set up during Spring Fling.
    “The best part about organizing Spring Fling was getting to work with other organizations in order to provide all of the activities we had available,” said Malory White, sophomore in biology and campus stew for GAB. “SAC’s goal is not only to provide fun events for students, but to also collaborate and work with other groups in the process.”
    Students not involved in organizing the event or running a booth said they enjoyed Spring Fling.
    “It was just fun to jump around on the inflatable,” said Efigenia Pulgar, freshman in international studies. “I felt like I was a little kid again and not worry about a thing.”
    Dinner was also provided via Sodexo, outside, for students to enjoy the spring weather.
    “My favorite was the walking tacos,” Pulgar said. “They were amazing.”
    There was also music provided by “Barbados Band First Klass,” who played during the event to add to the fun.
    “It was like a festival because there was music, food and fun,” said Zhanita Assilbekova, sophomore in marketing management. “I can never forget this day.”
    Students weren’t the only ones to partake in the fun during Spring Fling.
    “There was a mom who asked me if her toddler son could run around inside the wrecking ball inflatable,” Urban said. “That was something.”
    Safety, however, remains an important concern for GAB.
    “Any student interested in using the inflatables provided by SAC is required to sign a waiver in order to participate,” White said. “We make sure that there are members of each organization monitoring the inflatables at all times in order to maintain a safe environment.”

  • How happy are you with housing?

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    It may be spring but that isn’t the only season this time of year. Signing leases and housing contracts are on many students’ minds as it’s that “time of the year” to be thinking about next year. So, what are the options?

    University Housing

    Commonly referred to as “the dorms,” Pittsburg State University is equipped with seven halls that house 1,248 students annually.
    “On-campus living has been a big component of the college experience,” said Melissa Beisel, associate director of university housing. “Living in the dorms adds to, particularly first year students, experience. A variety of studies, including ones conducted by PSU, show that students who live in the dorms have higher retention rates as well.”
    Beisel says the greatest reason students choose the dorms is convenience.
    “You don’t have to find a parking space every day,” Beisel said. “It’s a fixed cost, there are no bills, food is included, it is a great option for those on a budget.”
    Depending on the student’s choice of a meal plan, dorm rates are between $5,926 and $8,152 per year, with the cost divided up by half and paid at semester in advance. Living in Nation, Dellinger, Bowen, Trout or the Tanner Complex costs less than Willard or the Crimson Commons. There is also an additional $450 per semester if a student requests a single room.
    Beisel says PSU has the lowest rates out of all Regents schools and Washburn University and that this was determined at the annual housing directors conference earlier this year in which housing officials from all Regents schools and Washburn attended.
    “Our rooms are also the same size if not larger than other universities we compare ourselves with,” Beisel said.

    Off-campus

    For those who choose not to live in University Housing, there is a variety of housing options available from transitional apartments such as the Crimson Villas, University Commons and, for next year, The Edge at Rouse.
    These three options are apartment-styled living spaces where utilities are included with rent. The University Commons and Crimson Villas are also pet-friendly, an added bonus for some students; however the Villas has restrictions on what pets may live on the premise.
    Rent at the Crimson Villas ranges from $395 per month for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment to $695 per month for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment.
    For The Edge at Rouse, students are only allowed the option of a four-bedroom apartment for $489 per month. The Edge however offers a private bathroom with each bedroom as well as a fully furnished apartment and amenities such as a pool and fitness center.
    And as always, students are free to search for apartments and houses throughout the city of Pittsburg, either by owner or through a rental agency such as Pro X or Pitt Realty.

    The students’ side

    When it comes to the dorms, Bailey Jones says they are “pretty great.”
    Jones, sophomore in justice studies, has lived in Trout Hall both her years at PSU and plans to live there this coming year.
    “I like the rooms,” she said. “The cleaning staff is friendly and compared to an apartment with bills and groceries, I’m getting a good deal.”
    Jones says she still thinks University Housing is the best deal for her even though she pays the added $450 a semester for a single room.
    “It’s close to campus, I don’t need a car, I can meet people here and students won’t be so reclusive when they’ve been in the dorms,” Jones said. “It’s more of the ‘college experience.’”
    Luke Walker, junior in automotive technology, disagrees with Jones.
    “The survey they give you to decide who you room with meant nothing. I had a horrible experience with my first roommate,” Walker said.
    Walker added there were several encounters with his RA he felt his RA shouldn’t have been involved in.
    He also says that now that he lives off campus he feels more connected because his house is closer to the campus than the Bowen/Trout/Tanner complex.
    “My rent at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house is $100 less a month compared to the dorms,” he said. “We also have better toilet paper.”
    Walker says there is a variety of off-campus living options for Pitt State students, many of which are cheaper than living on campus.

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