Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, ABAC has decided to shut its doors early this semester and only allow students who signed a 12-month housing contract the option to stay over break.
Usually students who presented a signed letter from their employer, or paid $300, stating they need to stay on campus for work were also allowed to stay, but was changed as part of ABAC’s plans for the Coronavirus.
Students are asked to renew housing during February and March for a discount renewal fee of of $75. The longer people wait to renew the more it costs. This decision was made after many students had already renewed their leases and has left some students without a place to stay over the break.
Many students rely on ABAC housing during the break for financial or other reasons. Vicky Gonzalez, a sophomore, has had to find other means of staying near Tifton over the extended holiday so she can continue to work.
“It’s actually put a lot of stress on me,” Gonzalez said. I live an hour and a half away from ABAC but work here in Tifton. It has affected me by having to find somewhere to stay for two months or so while being out of school. I had to do the same thing this past summer. All of this has been very stressful because of money, as it plays a big factor in this because I owe ABAC money every semester out of pocket. So financially it is a burden, having to pay for school then having to find a place to live and pay for that.”
Gonzalez plans to live in a camper behind her aunt’s house during the break. Rodriquez’s commute from her camper to work is about 45 minutes.
She believes that ABAC did not consider its students when it made its decision. “ABAC really does not give [students] many options,” Rodriguez said. “They do not understand that some people can’t go home due to work.”
Like many students, Rodriguez is left to fend for herself in regard to housing, with ABAC not giving students who didn’t sign a 12-month lease any alternative besides returning home. This also impacts students who may be homeless or have dangerous home lives.