October 12, 2023 | NEWS | By Marynn Krull
On Monday, the Office of Housing and Residential Experience presented the first of nine housing information sessions for rising seniors to an empty room – no students attended; the announcement for the session did not include a location.
The next information session will take place on Monday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. in Gaylord Hall. The session will walk rising seniors through key housing selection deadlines, advice and details about the process.
This year, like last year, there will be 75 housing spots reserved for seniors on campus.
Housing Programs Coordinator Kaitelynn Ng says the main causes of the housing shortage are the three-year on campus living requirement, which was reinstated last year and is determined by the Board of Trustees, as well as growing classes of admitted students.
Curiously, admitted class sizes have decreased over the past four years, with 576 admitted to the class of 2024, 628 admitted to the class of 2025, 535 admitted to the class of 2026 and 521 admitted to the class of 2027.
At a Student Government Association-sponsored sit-in at the Office of Housing last December, students made several demands; an email called for an increase the number of housing spots for seniors to at least the capacity offered in the 2022-23 school year.
Other demands made at the sit-in last year included the creation of a position to assist students with the process of obtaining off-campus housing; the creation of an application process for students to receive an early disbursement of their financial aid award to cover initial renting costs; expanded transportation support for students living off campus and more advanced communications from the office to students.
The Housing office did not meet transportation support and early disbursement, although these changes do not fall solely under the purview of Housing and Residential Experience. However, the office is making an effort to communicate with rising seniors sooner, more often, and more effectively.
Ng said one of the main things she heard from students last year was that they were informed of their housing chances with too little notice to begin seeking off-campus housing.
This year, she says the office is accommodating this need by sending an email to rising seniors the second week of the school year, hosting the nine information sessions between now and Nov. 30, and sending more reminder emails from communications about upcoming deadlines.
Housing agreements will go live on Oct. 30 and are due by Nov. 15 to receive a lottery time. Students will receive their timeslot a week before selection day on Dec. 6.
“They will get their time slot a week before selection just so that they can [look at their] time slot. If it’s looking like it’s 6 p.m., [they’ll know they] should probably start looking off campus,” Ng explained.
Because timeslots are randomized and there are only 75 available spots, many rising seniors who want to live on campus next year will likely have to look off campus. Last year, roughly 200 seniors indicated that they wanted to live on campus.
“At one of the most expensive and prestigious universities in the United States, no student should have to worry about finding a place to live,” CC Student Government Association wrote in an email to students ahead of last year’s sit-in.
Ng says the benefit to housing selection taking place in early December is that students will have enough time to look for an apartment and sign a one-year lease, whereas in previous years, much of the available housing near campus was already taken.
For those hoping to secure an on-campus spot, Ng said seniors should not have anyone in a lower class in their group, because the StarRez portal will not let them move forward with their housing application.
Last year, a glitch on StarRez gave underclassman students with transfer credits higher class standing in housing selection; housing has not yet resolved this issue.
“We are continuing to work with both StarRez and other CC Campus offices to ensure students are classified correctly,” Ng said, “For any student that has an individual concern, they should reach out to email@example.com.”
Some exciting news, Ng says, is that this year all senior housing will be furnished to accommodate those who couldn’t otherwise afford to furnish previously empty cottages.
For those anticipating living off campus, Housing has made available a guide on the Off Campus Living website with information about how to search for an apartment, tips for renters, how to understand your lease, renter’s insurance, budgeting, and “being a good neighbor.”
Additionally, Ng suggests students meet with financial aid sooner rather than later to best understand their situation.
“Really tap into your resources as well as checking your email for any updates about housing, as well as regularly checking the [Housing] website, because everything housing-related will be uploaded on there,” Ng said.