Emerson College Pauses Domestic Partnership Exemptions To Live Off-Campus

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — College room and board is not cheap, so some Emerson College students have found a way to get out of the housing requirement.

Domestic partnerships are legal relationships in Massachusetts, and are on the short list of exemptions from Emerson College's residency requirement.

For a fee of $50, a couple from the college can file a domestic partnership if they meet the following criteria:

  • you are responsible for each other’s well-being, and the well-being of any dependents
  • you are both at least 18 years old
  • you share basic living expenses
  • you are both mentally capable of entering into a contract
  • you are each other’s only domestic partner
  • you aren’t married to anyone else, and you aren’t related by blood, and
  • if your relationship status changes, you will let the City Clerk know.

According to Emerson's school newspaper, The Berkley Beacon, "Since April 1, at least four pairs of Emerson students have obtained the unconventional last option, according to data obtained from the City Clerk’s office. All of these students got domestic partnerships at least in part to skirt the on-campus residency requirement, The Beacon has confirmed."

This trend of students forming domestic partnerships has caused administrators to place a "temporary pause" of the exemption.

The Office of Housing and Residential Education Director Christie Anglade told the Beacon through email that, “The temporary pause was implemented to allow time to further examine individual requests and clarify the legitimate parameters of the exemption.”

Students at Emerson are mandated to spend their first three years living on-campus, a policy enacted from the fall of 2017 onward. The residency requirement was extended after former mayor Martin J. Walsh issued colleges to have more on-campus housing capacity since students were placing a strain on the city's housing market.

The price for living at this private school is not cheap; room and board costs for a double-occupancy room is over $19-thousand for the academic year. So, it costs about $2,700 monthly for room and board.

According to a Boston Globe study, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Boston is $1890 (excluding groceries and other expenses). Many students believe that being granted off-campus housing will save them thousands of dollars a year.

WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@KarynRegal) reports:

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Written by Edyn Jensen

(Photo: Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)

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