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NYU Students Weigh In On Plan To Offer Up Housing With Senior Citizens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In an effort to try to reduce the cost of living for students, NYU has decided to try a different idea involving senior citizens with spare rooms.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, the price to live in NYU dorms goes from $10,000 to $18,000 a year. To combat rising costs, the university is set to roll out the pilot program.

"We think it'll save them half of the cost, which is huge," said NYU Senior Presidential Fellow Ellen Schall. "It could save a student $5,000, which is a significant amount of money."

Students would be paired with seniors for roommates – not college seniors, but senior citizens.
Schall explained how the program might work.

"It could be a 50- or 60-year-old too whose kids have moved out," Schall said. "The person doesn't have to be 85."

Not all students were enthusiastic about the idea.

"Not for me," one woman said.

"I don't think I would consider it, and I don't think my parents would be OK with that either," said NYU sophomore Ashley Jankowski.

The school is currently looking for a nearby complex with seniors who have an extra bedroom to offer up. But one 74-year-old man also said he wanted to part of it.

The man said, "No," and laughed when asked if he would ever take in a college student.

The program will not be open to everyone at first. It will begin with grad students, and will then open it up to mature juniors and seniors.

"If you're a freshman, it's probably not for you," Schall said.

On the school's Facebook page, there was plenty of positive feedback about the idea. CBS2 also found many students on campus – more than expected – who would be down to live with much older roommates.

"I might actually," one man said.

"Yeah, maybe," a woman said.

"Depending on who it is, yeah," another man added.

"It sounds like a great idea," said NYU senior Daniel Hidalgo, who said he would not mind having an older roommate as long as the rent is lower.

Others said the atmosphere would not be as noisy as that of dorms;

"People are glad to come home to a home; not just a dorm," Schall said. "It's quiet."

One student even looked forward to home-cooked meals.

But that may not be in the cards – the program is not the equivalent of staying with grandparents. Neither roommate is expected to do anything for the other, so students should be prepared to do their own dishes.

NYU is partnering with University Settlement House, a nonprofit that provides social services to low-income seniors. The program begins next fall.

NYU said the program is similar to home stays for their study-abroad programs, where students are paired with host families.

All roommates will be screened.

A similar program has already been pressed into use in Chicago, though it works slightly differently Students from DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have been placed with local seniors for free in exchange for chores and housekeeping, the New York Post reported.

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