Hotels, lounges

Jeremy Taff

While the shortage of on-campus housing this fall will force more incoming freshmen than ever before to stay in hotels and study lounges, now the possibility of living all year in makeshift housing also looms for new students.
Since 1995, when the University started to guarantee housing for every student meeting the May 1 application deadline, freshmen have stayed in what University officials call “expanded housing” until residence hall rooms became available. This year more than 500 freshmen will live in lounges and over-filled residence hall rooms; about 200 of those students will live in a nearby hotel yet to be named.
University housing officials said they are negotiating a contract with neighboring hotels and will announce their choice in the coming weeks.
“Our plan is to move students out of the hotel first,” said Nancy Lee, assistant director for housing and residential life administration. “Then we’ll move students in on-campus expanded housing into their permanent spaces.”
There have already been about 100 less residence hall room cancellations than usual this year, said Laura Chartrand, associate director of housing and residential life.
And due to the increased number of freshmen deciding to stay in University housing, there is a greater possibility than ever before that students might have to live there all year, Lee said.
At the same time, putting up added freshmen in additional spaces will cost the Department of Housing and Residential Life extra cash.
“We’re not gaining any money, we’re losing money,” said Lee. “Students’ room and board fees are the only thing that support this department.”
The rate for a double residence hall room is $865 per quarter. Students forced to stay in study lounges or live with more students than a room’s capacity will receive a discount of about $100 per quarter. Students staying in hotel rooms will pay the same price as the standard residence hall room while having access to all hall amenities, including food services, computer labs and free laundry.
“I hope students take a look at what expanded housing space is before they make any judgments,” Chartrand said. “It’s not uncommon for students to request staying in them for the entire year.”
Three types of letters will be sent out this week to the 3,916 freshman that applied for student housing this year. Although there are 4,623 available University housing spaces, returning residents will blackjack freshmen into study lounges and hotel rooms.
The letters inform students they may either accept their guaranteed space at the University or decline and find a place to stay on their own.
Some administrators think University President Mark Yudof and the University 2000 plan to increase the number of incoming freshman living on campus might be working too well.
“It’s great that the University’s on-campus housing is popular among high school seniors and other prospective freshmen,” Wayne Sigler, director of admissions, said. “But at the same time we’re experiencing growing pains.”