University housing aims to end uncertainty

By Megan McNamara

Erinn Nowlin, freshman in LAS, sent in her housing application at the end of February, and ranked FAR third, but that is where she ended up living. To try to curb this, the University is changing their procedures. Unlike before, students have to say yes to the University before they can apply for housing, said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing.

Nowlin said she thinks the new system sounds more fair than the old one and guarantees decent housing for those committed to attending the University.

“It’d be better if people knew for sure that they wanted to attend the U of I before getting assigned housing,” Nowlin said.

Ruby acknowledged the move as an improvement but said that most people still received a top choice.

“The way it has been for many years is there’s a $100 advance payment applied to room and board. The way we assigned is students pick the top 3 dorms they want to live in,” Ruby said. “They receive housing contracts to sign and mail. We assign housing based on the order in which housing contracts are received. The vast majority of people get one of their top three choices.”

Currently, students have to be assigned a UIN and password before they can apply for housing. However, the UIN system is being phased out, and students will now be using their Enterprise ID number to register for housing.

The Enterprise ID will not be assigned to students until they commit to attending the University, which is a departure from past years, when students were assigned a UIN before they accepted admission. Students are assigned halls in early June, and assigned roommates in late July.

Now students can apply even before they accept admission into the University. Students have until May 1 to cancel a housing contract and still receive a refund. The University doesn’t assign housing before May 1 because students could decide not to attend, Ruby said.

Now, you will have to accept the offer of admission and commit to attending the University in order to apply for housing.

“It makes the contracts a little more solid, the people are more committed to coming here,” Ruby said.

Joandra Rollins, freshman in LAS, agreed with Nowlin, saying the current system “doesn’t make sense.”

The University tries to make the housing system as equitable as possible by giving incoming students the option of choosing where they want to live, Ruby said.

“The alternative is the complete lottery system, which is random assignment; but when we talk to students this [complete lottery system] is not appealing,” Ruby said. “The first-come, first-serve mentality is part of our society.”