While most people are worried about taxes between January and April, Temple University students have their own set of hated forms and deadlines: the housing lottery.
Letters announcing the dreaded housing process began arriving at students’ homes over winter break, heralding the beginning of several months of uncertainty, and for many applicants, eventual disappointment.
Enrollment at the University has risen sharply in recent years, putting a squeeze on available on-campus housing.
3000 students are expected to apply for 2400 spaces.
“We anticipate the trend [of housing shortages] will continue from last year, ” said John Niven, Director of University Housing.
“And we’re doing things a little differently this year.”
The University Housing website, www.temple.edu/housing, will play a greater role in the actual process this year.
Students will be able to access personal lottery information and print out registration cards once any account holds have been cleared.
Niven said that housing applications may also be made available online.
Even with those added conveniences, students are worried about getting into housing.
“I haven’t even thought about what happens if I don’t get housing,” said freshman Rachael Coyle.
“We just keep paying the bill on time so I’m hoping for the best.”
Making sure all outstanding bills are paid is the best way to start, according to Niven.
“We’ve sent letters during [the] fall [semester] and winter break to parents and students about any existing holds,” Niven said.
“But the best way to make sure an account is clear is by checking on Owlnet. As long as students don’t have any holds, are registered for classes and haven’t been flagged for disciplinary problems, they will be eligible for the lottery.”
According to Niven, students who are left without a dorm room next year will not be completely forsaken.
Many students will be placed on the housing waiting list, although the exact number of students on the waiting list that will actually get housing depends on the number of cancellations.
The University is also in the final stages of devising a system with an off- campus housing service that will offer students customized searches for off-campus housing.
Several off-campus housing fairs will be held in the Student Center; one will take place before the lottery, and two are planned during the room selection period.
“Some students are already saying ‘I’m not going to look for off-campus housing, I know I’ll get a room on campus,’ and we will do whatever we can for them,” Niven said.
“But students should start looking for alternatives before the lottery.”
The University will continue to offer housing at Franklin House in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section and at the Kardon apartment building at 10th and Berks Streets.
Temple is planning on renewing its lease on at least three floors of the Kardon Building, although it is unlikely that it will be a freshman residence, as it was this year.
The University administration is considering Kardon as ideal for juniors and seniors.
“Temple’s administration is always looking for area developers that would be interested in constructing new residential areas for students,” Niven said.
“Hopefully, within the next two or three years there will be a better supply to meet this demand.”
Holli Powitzky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.