Housing in the Commons: Class of 2023 Left Unhappy


Courtesy of Villanova University

The Commons are the newest dorms available for students.

Kylie Horan, Staff Writer

Many members of the Class of 2023 have been left scrambling to find off-campus housing for the 2022-23 academic year. Despite filling out housing contracts early in the fall semester, rising seniors are just now being notified as to whether or not they won the golden ticket: on-campus housing. 

When the Commons were built, many students were abuzz with excitement. They thought that this new housing would accommodate upperclassmen, allowing them to live on campus for their full four years at the University. However, the Commons has become home to many underclassmen, instead, leaving some members of the Class of 2023 feeling ousted. 

“Overall, my roommates and I were disappointed with the housing lottery since we have enjoyed our time on campus,” rising senior Sarah Wisniewski said. “Our parents were all so excited about us possibly living in the Commons, but we did not get in.”

Kelly Dougherty of Residence Life addressed the discontent over who gets housing in the Commons, stating that “given the available housing inventory, residence halls on all areas of campus are needed to meet the second- and third-year student housing guarantee. This includes some space in the Commons.” 

When the Commons were first completed, the University claimed that 85% of undergraduate students would now be able to live on campus. As younger students were guaranteed housing, this statement implied that more seniors would be able to stick around. Why, then, are so many of them disappointed with the results of this year’s lottery?

“We heard rumors that the Class of 2025 is too large and took up a lot of housing,” Wisniewski said. 

These whispers have been running rampant throughout campus, with speculation that more students were admitted than usual due to COVID-related stipulations. Without confirming or denying these rumors, Dougherty acknowledged that there are many students being squeezed out of on-campus apartments, stating that “after allotting enough space across campus to meet the housing guarantee, demand for housing can exceed our housing supply.” 

As there is such limited housing, determining who gets a spot has also been a hot-button issue. The current procedure is that rising seniors that are not guaranteed housing due to scholarships or other programs can enter a lottery in groups of one, two, three or four, with each group receiving one lottery number that determines its eligibility to receive on-campus housing. The lottery is completely random, a point of contention for some students.

“I wish the lottery was less of a lottery and maybe based on how many credits a student has or GPA,” Wisniewski said. “I know a lot of other schools do it so people are prioritized for good behavior and so on.” 

Qualifiers like this could incentivize students to perform better academically in order to guarantee housing, which could possibly push the University to a higher standard.

However, Residence Life refused this idea. When asked about the option of considering other factors in the housing lottery, Dougherty responded, that “to ensure that lottery numbers are randomly assigned, Residence Life does not consider factors such as academic standing, previous housing assignments, difficulties with roommates or facilities concerns when generating lottery numbers.” 

So, what can rising seniors do if their housing is not affected by anything that is in their control? For starters, Residence Life does offer information on off-campus housing on the University website. Perhaps it is not quite time to give up hope, though. Dougherty did offer some comfort to saddened seniors. 

“Residence Life hopes to be able to meet the needs of more seniors as we move through the rising junior and rising sophomore housing selection processes, confirm the number of students studying abroad for Fall 2022, receive housing cancellations from students who decide to move off campus and finalize the housing needs of the incoming first-year class,” she said. “Villanova is committed to offering on-campus housing to as many rising seniors as we possibly can.”