New housing policy leaves upperclassmen with limited options

Article Originally Published by Bella Armenta on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily

New UNT Housing rule changes will allow incoming freshman to live in Mozart and possibly Santa Fe for the 2020-2021 academic year, leaving upperclassmen with the limited option of single-occupancy dorms for on-campus housing. 

The new policy has left many upperclassmen concerned about where they will be living next year, according to Housing Ambassador Collin Renfro. 

“Housing has decided to reserve more room space on campus for freshman only, which decreased the amount of rooms available for upperclassmen,” Renfro said. “Upperclassmen can only live in single occupancy rooms as well as any rooms in College Inn. This means that freshman can live in any double or triple occupancy room on campus.” 

Housing applications for upperclassmen opened on January 29, two weeks after freshman applications opened. Upperclassmen rooms are now full, but may open again in the coming weeks. 

“There were people in the [online] waiting room all day because there were several hundreds of students in line,” Renfro said. “As of now, the website will show it as full, however, we have been telling people that expired applications will be deleted every Monday morning by housing management if requirements are not met. People will also cancel their applications which will open up a lot of spaces.”

The growing freshman population has resulted in upperclassmen housing spaces to be taken away, according to associate director for  housing James Fairchild.

“The freshman class was not expected to grow as large as it did,” Fairchild said. “It comes down to making sure we have space to accommodate this year’s freshman class. This year’s preparation for the housing operation has been putting together the number of bed spaces and setting it with availability. We need to expand the number of beds available while we transition Mozart’s doubles into a freshman space. Traditions is remaining upperclassmen.”  

This past fall, select upperclassmen were asked to give up their dorms in return for compensation from UNT or room with resident advisors, illustrating the lack of available housing. 

“We did not have enough space this year that we needed,” Fairchild said. “Some of the double occupancy and single occupancy are available to upperclassmen, but with last years jump in numbers of freshman, we kind of had to go beyond that general arrangement and make single occupancy specifically for upperclassmen,” Fairchild said. 

The lack of housing available to upperclassmen forces students to find expensive housing off-campus, sophomore Brynne Henry said. 

“It is way more convenient to live on campus since I do not drive, but I cannot because they gave all of the upperclassmen dorms to freshman,” Henry said. “UNT does not have enough housing to match their acceptance rate. I’m gonna be a junior next year and the only housing that was available the day housing opened to upperclassmen was College Inn and Victory, which are both practically off campus. Both filled up in minutes, even after hours of being waitlisted.”

The change in housing policies affects students in a financially negative way , especially students on scholarships, Henry said. 

“Some scholarships do not cover off-campus housing and upperclassmen can not afford to live off-campus,” Henry said. “I am now looking for an off-campus apartment, but a lot of affordable student housing is not well-maintained and leases are usually a year long which is inconvenient since I am not from Denton.”

Housing officials have noticed the criticism from upperclassmen, as the department has been frequently emailing [with] and answering calls from concerned students, Renfro said. 

Housing will be working with off-campus housing providers to host a workshop for upperclassmen planning to move off-campus. 

“We will continue to work with off-campus student services and their resources to find off campus student housing for upperclassmen,” Fairchild said. “We are working with a vendor that is directly partnered with off-campus students services to have a work shop about the steps of moving from on-campus to off-campus student housing. We will have an off-campus student housing fair in March.”

Featured Image: The Housing Department can be found inside the UNT Welcome Center. Image by Theophilus Bowie.

Source: North Texas Daily