Re-signing to live in halls a year-round process

An+apartment+building+on+the+corner+of+Gregory+and+4th+St+in+Champaign.+ME+Online%0A

An apartment building on the corner of Gregory and 4th St in Champaign. ME Online

By Ericka Strebel

Considering the amount of housing options students have, local housing ensures that no student will be homeless during the school year.

University students have three primary housing choices: University residence halls, private certified housing and apartments.

Students in residence halls have a reassignment period for the following year that starts in early November and ends at the end of January. During this period, students can log on to the housing Web site to choose their exact room and roommate as well as their meal plan.

Reassignment is divided into three phases: the first allows only current residents of a room the option to live in that same room again; the second allows students to choose rooms in the current hall they are living in; and the final phase allows students to choose a room in any University residence hall.

“We have a window since freshmen are guaranteed housing,” Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing, said.

In order to get first pick, students should check the housing Web site to see when the phase they fall in starts.

Reassignment is publicized extensively, Ruby said.

Finding a place with private certified housing is not as dependent on deadlines. Reassignment periods vary from hall to hall and all private certified housing buildings offer students incentives to re-sign their leases. These incentives can go from locking rates to offering reduced rate hikes, said Mari Anne Brocker, assistant director for housing with private certified housing.

She does not recommend re-signing or signing a lease too early.

“I’d hate to encourage students to sign a lease earlier than Thanksgiving Break,” Brocker said. “They should do research and know for sure that they like the place.”

In looking for an apartment, Tenant Union Director Esther Patt agrees. The condition of the building can change dramatically as well as roommate situations, said Patt.

“Roommates are jointly liable,” she said, “If he or she doesn’t come back, it’s not just his or her problem, it’s yours.”

She also stressed that students not limit their searches to landlords that have Web sites. Patt said they should look in the classifieds as well.

Students should first consider whether they are looking for a three to four-bedroom apartment or a one to two-bedroom apartment since they are two separate markets, she added.

Larger apartments are leased faster, while smaller apartments are more readily available for rent any time during school year.

“If you’re looking for the three or four-room apartment, you really need to get the lease in October or November,” Patt said.

Erin Gaynor, freshman in LAS, knew right away that she did not want to live in the residence halls next year, so she and her roommates shopped around and signed a lease for an apartment on Gregory Street.

“We lucked out, actually,” she said, “Ours was the last apartment in the complex.”