Temple’s juniors and seniors got a big surprise when a letter was sent to them over winter break: The University has set a new policy of guaranteeing housing for freshman and sophomores while excluding juniors and seniors from the residence halls.
The increasing number of students on campus and the rising demand for housing among students prompted the decision, which was reached after months of discussions last semester, said Dean of Students James Fitzsimmons.
“We know this would be a hardship for juniors and seniors,” Fitzsimmons said. “[But] the neediest [students] were freshman and sophomores. It is a higher priority to meet these students’ needs.”
Temple is working with private developers to build student apartments near campus, Fitzsimmons said. Two new sites, University Village at 10th and Montgomery streets, and Oxford Village on 15th St. between Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Oxford Street, will be opening in the fall, joining the Atlantic and Kardon buildings.
The demand for housing has risen as more students from outside of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania have applied to and been accepted at Temple in recent years, said Director of Admission Tim Rinehart.
“A higher percentage [of students] want and need campus housing,” Rinehart said.
Fitzsimmons added that the improvements to the campus over the past 10 years have made it a more attractive place to live, increasing demand for housing.
Enrollment has risen steadily over the past 10 years; about 18,000 undergraduates are currently attending class on the Main Campus. Temple’s residence halls, including Franklin House in the city’s Fairmount section and the Presidential City Apartments on City Line Avenue, can hold about 4,800 students.
About 3,400 upperclassmen applied for the 2,400 upperclass beds last year during the housing lottery. The other 2,400 beds were reserved for incoming freshmen.
Under the new policy, these spots will be offered to incoming freshman, rising sophomores and first-year transfer students. Athletes whose scholarships include housing will be provided with housing during their junior and senior years, as will qualified students with disabilities, Fitzsimmons said.
Freshmen and sophomores occupy about 75 percent of the beds on campus this year. Only about 1,000 juniors and seniors have housing on campus.
The four private developments – Kardon, Atlantic and University and Oxford villages will have about 700 beds available for juniors and seniors. Temple is reserving 400 beds in University Village to meet its guarantee of housing for sophomores.
The monthly rent at University and Oxford villages, which are being managed by two different companies, are lower than that of University residence halls.
Two-bedroom, four-resident apartments in both buildings start at around $500 per month per resident without utilities, while comparable units in the 1300 Residence hall cost about $800 a month per resident over the seven months of the academic year, including utilities.
The private apartments require a 12-month lease, meaning students will either have to pay for the units over winter break and the summer or sublet the units. The apartments also have higher security deposits.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.