Changes to housing procedure allow more flexibility for students



Margaret Keane

Freshmen, sophomore and juniors with guaranteed senior housing saw several major changes as they began registering for housing this month.

In past years, rising juniors selected first and were only eligible to live in the West Campus apartments or single rooms in St. Mary’s hall for their junior year. Rising sophomores were then able to select from all remaining apartments and certain residence halls on Main Campus.

This year, all students will select from the same group of residence halls, giving all upperclassmen will have the same housing options.

This year, Residence Life also began sending confirmation emails to students who submitted their housing applications. This helps the Office keep track of who has submitted an application. For Schauder, the hardest part of the housing process is waiting for students to turn in their applications. Schauder has to delay assigning selection times because she has to deal with students who have turned in their applications late or have turned in the wrong application.

Rising juniors and seniors began registration on Jan. 28, choosing from all residence halls, including those traditionally reserved for sophomore students. Registration times are issued randomly, with students able to choose their housing on the best housing time of any student in their apartment. Using the same process, sophomores will start selecting on Feb. 5 from the remaining housing options.

Residence Life made no changes to freshmen housing policy. For the past several years all freshmen have lived on South campus, with a select few residing on Southwest campus based on the date of their deposit.

According to Marie Schauder, the Associate Director for Housing and Residence Hall Operations, the new process will help her know how much housing is available, before she assigns the incoming students to their dorms. The changes will also make it easier for Residence Life to manage larger classes. 

“We’re also looking towards the future,” Schauder said. “With the new residence halls, the selection process is going to change anyway. We will be looking to house more seniors on campus.”

Currently, housing is not guaranteed to undergraduate students for four years, unless otherwise specified by a financial aid package or scholarship. In September of 2015, construction of new residence halls began as part of a four-year building project to expand the University’s living space. The new buildings are expected to bring 1,135 upperclassmen back to campus. This construction will be making housing available to 85 percent of undergraduate students.

Although housing will not be guaranteed for four years, Schauder believes that with the new buildings Residence Life will be able to accommodate all students who want to live on campus.

“I don’t think we’ll ever get to four years guaranteed housing,” Schauder said, “But with the new residence halls we’ll get close. Every year a good amount of juniors decide to find their own space off campus, but more and more seniors are requesting to live on campus. With the size of each class, we haven’t even been able to start a waiting list.”

This year, only 180 seniors were guaranteed a fourth year on campus. This privilege is granted primarily through select athletic and academic scholarships, such as the Presidential Scholarship. 

Schauder hopes that the new residence halls will allow Residence Life to move upperclassmen out of the smaller spaces on campus, such as St. Rita’s Hall, and to provide doubles for all freshmen. Once the new residence halls are built, more buildings on Main Campus may become freshmen housing. This will drastically change the all-freshmen demographic of South campus, spreading the new students throughout campus and integrating them more quickly to the rest of the campus.

New housing policy also allows students from different classes to room together.

Freshman Alexis Kerney selects her housing on Feb. 10 and hopes to live in an apartment for her sophomore year.

“I think that living on West Campus will be more comfortable and roomy,” Kerney said. “Also, I like to cook, so the kitchen is a bonus. I think sophomores, juniors, and seniors living together will be great. We as sophomores can learn so much from them. It will be a positive experience for everyone.”

Students can research their housing options online before registering. Details of each building and room are published online, including dimensions of rooms and closets, availability of air conditioning, and locations of bathrooms and laundry rooms.