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Game of chance: Res Life makes major changes to housing and lottery

February 21st, 2013

Changes for John Carroll University students keep coming, as the Office of Residence Life released updates about housing for next academic year. The details for on-campus housing for the 2013-2014 year were announced this week in the form of a four-page document explaining the changes to prices and who can live where, as well as expanded options for upperclassmen.

Online housing agreements will be open online through “My Housing” for students to sign starting the week of Feb. 25. These agreements have a strict deadline of Friday, March 1, and if students do not complete these agreements, they will not be signed up to participate in the housing selection process. Just because current sophomores and juniors complete this form does not mean they will be guaranteed housing for next year. Students will be able to see their lottery date and time by March 4.

Because JCU has a two-year residency requirement, rising sophomores will be guaranteed a room on campus in either Millor, Hamlin, Campion halls or Dolan and Pacelli halls on the third floors. In addition, rising sophomores are required to live with other rising sophomores. The housing lottery for rising sophomores is scheduled to take place on March 15, 18 and 19.

Rising sophomores who are planning to commute next year are required to fill out a “request for release” form and submit it to Res Life by March 1 with a notarized letter from a parent or guardian informing Res Life that their child will be commuting. If this process is not completed in its entirety, students will be assigned a room and held to the housing agreement.

When asked about rising sophomores getting to live in Hamlin and Campion halls, traditionally upperclassmen dorms, sophomore Ty Stimpert said, “It doesn’t really affect me because I have Greek housing in Hamlin; therefore, I was able to live in Hamlin my entire sophomore year. It’s a perk of being in Greek life, but I see no reason why other sophomores can’t have that opportunity.”

Current sophomores and juniors will not be guaranteed housing for next year. In addition, rising juniors and seniors will be able to live together next year. Housing for upperclassmen has never been guaranteed, but the change in the housing lottery from a student’s credit hour status to their cohort or social class, means that rising upperclassmen will be selecting their rooms on March 22, 25 and 26, a week after the rising sophomores select their housing.

If housing is not available at the end of the selection process, then students will be placed on a waiting list and/or Res Life will provide them with information about local housing options. Rising juniors and seniors will also be released from their housing agreements if there are no rooms available for them; however, if there are rooms available but they are not what students want, students will be held to their housing agreements.

However, the housing selections for rising juniors and seniors is going to be expanded. In addition to being able to live in Hamlin, Campion, Bernet halls and the third floor of Dolan and Pacelli halls, upperclassmen will also be able to live in the JCU duplexes on Warrensville Center Road and new JCU-owned houses on Milford Road and Miramar Boulevard. The one-year residence requirement for the houses and duplexes will be lifted for next year to better accommodate students.  Students interested in living in the JCU houses are requested to go to sites.jcu.edu/reslife and choose the “living options” tab. In addition, rising juniors and seniors are required to live with other rising juniors and seniors.

Not only will there be new houses, but rooms in Hamlin and Campion will also be available. Students must have a group of three students ready, and at least one of the three students is required to go to a meeting in the O’Dea Room on Wednesday, March 13 to select their room. Current sophomores and juniors will be selecting their triples at 3 p.m., and current first-year students will select their triples at 4 p.m. Each of these groups will select their rooms in order of lottery number.

In addition to the housing selection process being changed, the yearly room rates have been changed for next year. A double room in a suite in Bernet Hall will now cost $5,800 per year, a rise in $610 from the 2012-2013 academic year. Millor Hall will cost $5,600 per year, a $410 increase from the current year. Campion, Hamlin, Sutowski, Dolan and Pacelli halls will cost $5,450 a year for a double and $4,850 per year for triples (which will only be available in Sutowski, Hamlin and Campion halls). With the exception of the triples, these will be the least expensive dorms on campus, even though there will be a $260 increase from the current academic year.

Because of the changes in housing, a very limited number of singles will be available in Dolan and Pacelli halls for next year. They will cost $7,500 a year. This is an increase of $310 from the current academic year. Students are strongly encouraged to live with a roommate because there will be such limited housing next year.

For rising juniors and seniors, the JCU duplexes and houses will have a double or triple occupancy. These will cost $7,970 per year, an increase of $380 a year. In addition, students will have the option of cooking their own food, because each duplex and house comes with a fully furnished kitchen. Both the houses and the duplexes come fully furnished with a desk, dresser and bed. Both will have wireless access as well as cable. The duplexes have shared laundry facilities, a dining room table and chairs and living room furniture. The houses and duplexes are single-sex.

Lisa Brown, director of Residence Life, explained why the prices for the dorms will vary: “The prices for the residence halls have been differentiated based on the room type, the building and the amenities in the halls,” she said. “For example, some of the residence halls are air-conditioned, and the rooms in those halls will cost more.”

When asked about the price increase, students seemed to have differing views. Stimpert said, “I think the price increase is inappropriate because the quality of dorm life will not have increased in quality. If improvements were made to the dorms we are living in, then I would understand; however, quality has not increased, so why should the price?”

Sophomore John Oddo disagreed. “I think the price increase is understandable,” he said. But he expressed his frustration about the new JCU houses: “I wish they would have advertised the fact that they were going to have houses available to us,” Oddo said. “A lot of us have been unable to find off-campus housing near campus. I’m living over a mile away next year.”

In addition to housing, all on-campus residents are required to have a meal plan with either the “14 plus,” the “Block 175” or the “Block 125” meal plans, costing $4,590 next year – a rise of $170 per year. The “Block 250” will cost $4,860 a year, a rise of $180; and the “Unlimited” meal plan will cost $5,290 a year, a rise of $190. Students who live in the JCU duplexes or houses will have the option of an on-campus meal plan, a commuter meal plan or no meal plan.

Rich Mausser, vice president for finance, explained why the prices for the meal plans will go up. “The largest cost factor affecting annual board plan rates is inflation,” Mausser said. “Other factors that influence board rates include changes in food venues, changes in the hours of operation, the need for any capital equipment upgrades and changes to the wage and benefit levels of the Aramark employees who staff the dining hall.”

Res Life said students who are studying abroad in the fall cannot place holds on any rooms for their return in the spring. These students should let Res Life know if they plan to switch places with a student studying abroad in the spring or sign up for a waiting list for a room during the spring semester.

To facilitate the changes, JCU is offering tours of the new living facilities, including Millor Hall, triple rooms in Campion and Bernet halls, a duplex on Warrensville Center Road and the exteriors of the houses on Miramar Boulevard and Milford Road. The tours will be on Monday, Feb. 25 from 6 to 7 p.m. and on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 2 to 3 p.m. The tours will leave from the LSC Atrium and will not be offered any other times, so students should plan accordingly.