Urban schools find housing solutions

Urban universities faced with the problems of tight real estate markets and space constrictions deal with providing on-campus housing for students in different ways.

Students at New York University, which occupies part of New York City’s Greenwich Village, fill out a lottery card with the names of students they want to live with and their top six building choices, said Howie Glassman, assistant coordinator of residential student services at NYU.

Seniors at NYU get priority in housing and generally receive rooms in the most desirable residence halls, which at NYU are the ones closest to campus, Glassman said. Once students receive their hall assignment, they make an appointment to pick a room with their assigned roommates, Glassman said.

The process is designed to decrease the amount of time students spend waiting, Glassman said.

NYU offers 11,500 beds for its 18,204 undergraduate population, but Glassman said he does not know how many students will apply for on-campus housing. Glassman said the number of applications usually exceeds the number of beds they offer, but students put on the waiting list are guaranteed housing as long as they meet all their deadlines and have never missed a housing payment, he said.

GW offers 2,420 beds in this year’s housing selection and expects at least 2,660 students out of the total undergraduate population of 7,562 to participate in this year’s housing selection. Students who do not find a room at housing selection are placed on a waiting list, and all students on the list are guaranteed housing.
“Generally, our housing selection system works well,” Glassman said. “The only problem is, when you’re a sophomore, you live farther off campus than the juniors and seniors.”

Freshman Jacob Keaton said NYU’s system seems less stressful than GW’s lottery, but leaves students wondering too long where they will live.

“I suppose NYU’s system is more efficient than standing in line at the Marvin Center and would probably be a lot less stressful,” he said. “One of the things I like about the system we have now is that you know exactly where you are going to live as soon as you leave the Marvin Center. With NYU’s system you wouldn’t know for a while.”

American University gives students who choose to return to the same room priority in its room selection process, which has three parts.

Floor draw is for students who wish to remain in their same room, followed by students who return to their floor but a different room. During hall draw, students who return to the same residence hall choose rooms, and campus draw allows remaining students to change rooms. Seniors get priority in choosing during each step.
Housing at American is tight this year, said Jeff Humphrey, associate director of Residential Life and Housing Services at American.

“Housing has been tough, especially with the lack of off-campus housing due to other local universities buying up buildings,” Humphrey said.

American has 2,900 on-campus beds for its 5,533 total student population. As many as 1,800 students participate in the room draw, leaving about 1,000 spaces for new students, Humphrey said.

Students living on campus are guaranteed beds, Humphrey said, but transfer students and students who apply for housing late and are not guaranteed housing.
GW does not guarantee housing for students who apply late or for transfer students.

“We have had a problem with overcrowding,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey said students regard the system as straightforward, but not fun.

“As long as you follow the procedures you’ll get a room,” he said.

GW freshman Jessica Martin said she would prefer a system similar to American’s.

“A lottery system sounds nice but if there is not enough room then it doesn’t work, and it is not clear how the lottery numbers are assigned,” she said. “I would prefer a system where the person living in a room gets the priority of living in that room next year and then pulls in their friends. I’ve seen it at other schools and it works well.”

Some students said GW’s system is confusing, but others said the changes make the process more organized.

“The housing selection system is kind of confusing because I’m not sure what is a good number and what is a bad number,” freshman Jackie Fludd said. “I think a system where we send in our housing requests would be a lot better. It seems more organized and less hectic for the students.”

“I like the new system,” Keaton said. “I think it gives everyone a better chance at housing and it’s relatively efficient.”

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