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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Housing numbers lag behind growing class size

Published: April 5, 2012
Section: News

Housing lottery numbers ran out nearly 300 spots earlier than they did last year, reflecting the trend of a growing student body and limited housing availability on campus. This situation is forcing university officials to review the ratio of rooms to students for future classes.

“Students seemed to use the lottery numbers slightly more efficiently this year—meaning that students with lower numbers pulled in students with higher numbers at a greater rate. This means that there were more valid, usable lower lottery numbers and housing ran out at a lower number,” Senior Director of Community Living Jeremy Leiferman said.

Leiferman also said that because more housing became available to sophomores, this year 35 fewer juniors and seniors were able to select housing at room selection. He anticipates that they will be able to accommodate everyone on the waitlist who desires on-campus housing.

Changes to housing designations in the Village, with added floors for sophomores, have also left rising juniors with fewer options than they had last year. Previously, these floors were available only for juniors and seniors.

While it seems that this is potentially an issue of increasingly larger first-year classes, the central concern is a shortage of housing.

“Individuals who are directly involved in the decisions about the size of each class do consider housing, among other factors, when making these decisions,” Leiferman said regarding the correlation between class size and housing.

The housing lottery began in mid-March when rising sophomores chose housing for the upcoming year. Shortly after, juniors and seniors chose housing based on the limited availabilities. Housing ran out at number 1535, forcing many juniors and seniors to look into alternative housing off-campus. Last year, housing ran out at number 1816. With approximately 3,300 undergraduate students, there is only a certain amount of housing and it is bound to run out at a number that leaves a few hundred students to find housing on their own.

According to its website, Community Living says that they seek to “intentionally foster a student’s holistic development from their first year through commencement.” DCL only guarantees housing for first-years and sophomores and, as upperclassmen, there is limited housing available. For juniors and seniors, on-campus living is available in Ziv Quad, Charles River Apartments, Ridgewood and the Village. Foster Mods are exclusively for seniors and offer a variety of apartment housing options, which include kitchens.

Some of the features of upperclassmen housing include central air-conditioning, apartment kitchens, common rooms and a gym open 24/7 in one of the Village houses. Ridgewood, which opened in January 2009, accommodates approximately 180 students and was designed and constructed to be a quad that is more sustainable, environmentally friendly and energy efficient.