USF Housing experiences space shortage
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:08
Student housing is at a premium this year, and USF encountered growing pains with its student housing this fall.
Many students received last-minute housing assignments that often differed from what they had asked.
Some upperclassmen who applied were denied on-campus housing options, as freshmen get priority in housing assignments.
Greg Bowers, assistant director for Communications and Marketing for the Department of Housing and Residential education, said the requirement for first-time-in-college (FTIC) students to live on campus gives freshman assignments priority over upperclassman assignments.
“This year, there were more applicants than beds available, so not everyone was able to be accommodated,” Bowers said. “Returning students who completed all requirements to live on campus — housing application, fees, immunization — were assigned in order of earliest completion and as space permited until the first-year student demand prompted us to ‘hold’ non-first-year applications completed very late in the process.”
This fall, USF’s Tampa campus enrolled 4,067 FTIC students and other freshmen students, according to USF InfoMart. Last year, the Tampa campus had 3,293 FTIC students and other freshmen.
Because not enough space was available, many of the upperclassmen who didn’t fill out their forms early were put on “hold,” and did not receive housing assignments from USF.
Bowers said he recommends that returning students who wish to remain on campus for subsequent years complete the required steps in the application process early to increase the likelihood of receiving an assignment.
Adam Connell, a freshman majoring in criminology, said he originally requested to room with his friend, Ryan Reyes, a freshman majoring in finance, in Beta Hall.
But a week before move-in day, Connell and Reyes found out they were split up and assigned separately to Mu Hall. Beta Hall is known for its traditional-style living and central location, whereas Mu Hall, originally supposed to be a single-occupancy suite of four, is a hall of double occupancy suites of eight this semester.
“If they are going to make (living on campus) mandatory, they should be able to accommodate it,” Connell said.
Reyes said he, too, was disappointed.
“Beta is convenient, and you meet more people,” Reyes said. “I wanted the traditional college experience. We were not prioritized at all. Other people, who sent in their requests at the same time as us, got Beta.”
Other students on campus, such as Zach Carter, a freshman majoring in sociology, requested suite-style living, usually containing four to a suite, but instead was assigned to an apartment in Holly — a more expensive option.
“I can kind of afford this year, but I doubt I could afford anything like it again,” Carter said. “(The housing problems) are because of the requirement for freshmen to live on campus, I think. I feel bad for next year’s freshmen, it will probably happen again.”
During the fall and spring semesters, Carter would have to pay approximately $6,896 in rent, while his original request for suite-style would have cost about $2,000 less.
Reyes said he hopes USF solves the problem soon.
“If the campus is crowded, they need another building. They should have anticipated the overcrowding — they need to expand,” Reyes said.
USF’s 10-year plan does include plans for residence hall expansion.
This includes expansion in the Greek Village that would aid upperclassmen, additional residence halls near the current Juniper-Poplar Hall and the first phase of replacing the Andros Housing Complex with newer housing facilities.
It is estimated that these renovations would have a net gain of approximately 2,000 beds.