The Daily Gamecock

USC faces housing shortage in Fall 2011

Freshmen guaranteed spots, upperclassmen may be waitlisted

Based on the number of rooms available for on­-campus housing and the average demand for housing by returning USC students, more than 1,200 upperclassmen can expect to be wait–listed come March.

This past fall, USC students dealt with housing issues due to a shortage of available rooms, attributed to the largest freshman class in the history of the university and the renovation project currently underway at Patterson Hall. Many resident mentors were assigned freshman roommates and some freshmen were assigned to housing typically reserved for upperclassmen.

While University Housing expects the reopening of Patterson Hall in the coming fall to alleviate some of the issues experienced this fall, it is safe to assume there will be more upperclassmen who apply for housing than there will be rooms to assign them.
According to goals and projections by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the fall freshman class will consist of approximately 4,400 students. All of these enrolling first-year students are guaranteed on-campus housing.

Colleen Mullis, assistant director for marketing and communications for University Housing, said USC has approximately 6,000 beds available on campus. On average, one third of those beds will be offered to upperclassmen.

University Housing could not predict the number of upperclassmen that will request on-campus housing for the 2011-12 school year, but based on the number of requests in years past, the supply will fall short. Upperclassmen who are not offered housing will be placed on a waiting list, and will be given room assignments when they become available as a result of cancellations.

Students remain on the waiting list until one of two things happens: Either a room becomes available, or they find alternative living arrangements and take themselves off of the list. Housing will continue to place students from the waiting list in room assignments through move-in.

“We work through [the waiting list] based on cancellations throughout the summer,” Mullis said. “It is up to each individual’s discretion how long they will stay on the waiting list, based on their level of comfort.”

In the past, the waiting list for upperclassmen has ranged from 400 students in 2006 to 1,200 students in 2007. Housing could not provide the length of the waiting lists for the 2008-2010 school years.

Considering that this year’s freshman class was the largest in school history, there is no reason to believe that the demand for housing will be any less than in years past. There is a good chance the demand could even be the largest to date.

In the event that there is a shortage of available housing, necessary measures will be taken to assure that, even with the approximate 2,000 rooms allotted to upperclassmen, all freshmen will be offered housing. While Housing does not foresee any issues with housing all the freshmen because of the reopening of Patterson Hall, freshmen could still be placed with Resident Mentors as roommates.

“Currently, there are no plans to place students in rooms with RMs,” Mullis said. “However, the RMs are fully aware that a roommate could be assigned to them if the need arises.”

The deadline to apply for housing is March 4 at 5 p.m. All students who apply by that date will be entered in a lottery, where names will be drawn to determine the room selection order. Room selection will take place during determined time slots, online from March 14-18.
Students who do not apply by the March 4 deadline can still apply for housing, but will be placed at the end of the waiting list.

There are many living and learning communities on campus for which students can apply. While the priority deadline for that housing was Feb. 1, admission for those programs is rolling, and Housing will continue to accept applications until March 4.

On March 4, Housing will know for certain the number of upperclassmen applications for on-campus housing and will know the approximate length of the waiting list.