This past fall Loyola welcomed the largest first-year class on record, with 2,655 students. The new class gave the Department of Residence Life the challenge of accommodating the increased number of students living in on-campus housing.
As Residence Life prepares to assign housing for the 2017-18 school year, Clair McDonald, assistant director for Housing Assignments, said Residence Life will once again make adjustments to accommodate students living on campus next year.
McDonald said to ensure the residency requirement for first- and second-year students is continued, Residence Life will implement a deferred housing list composed of juniors and seniors that will not be able to live on campus next year.
The deadline to apply for housing was Feb. 14 and lottery numbers for housing selection were released on Feb. 17.
“[Students] who applied and paid their housing prepayment got a lottery number and the cut-off was dependent on the lottery number,” McDonald said.
Upperclassmen who received too high of lottery numbers were alerted that they are not guaranteed housing.
Loyola has not recently implemented a deferred housing list, but McDonald said that it has been done in past years and is common at other universities.
Upperclassmen will pick their rooms Feb. 23-24 before underclassmen pick their rooms Feb. 27-March 3. Although juniors and seniors will pick their specific rooms first, there’s a limited amount of space for them in on-campus housing.
McDonald said the number of upperclassmen who are unable to live on campus is not set in stone yet.
Residence Life’s decision to limit the amount of space for upperclassmen was based on the number of first- and second-year students who applied to live on campus.
“Feb. 14 was when the housing contract closed and so students could apply to live on campus, but until that deadline we didn’t know how many would request to live on campus.” McDonald said.
Limiting the amount of upperclassmen able to live on campus will ensure that there is enough space for first- and second-year students to live on campus.
Jeremy Hoenig, 20, is a junior who was notified that there won’t be space for him and his roommate to live on campus next year.
Hoenig, a health systems management major, said Residence Life informed him he has one week to cancel his housing contract and to start looking for a place to live off campus.
Hoenig said he wishes Residence Life had been more proactive in informing upperclassmen about the possibility of not being able to live on campus.
“My roommate and I just need to find an apartment and hopefully be close to campus,” he said.
Loyola requires undergraduate students to live on campus for their first two years, but students can file an exemption request with documented proof of special circumstances, such as financial burden, medical reasons or residency with a parent or guardian.
This past fall, Residence Life assigned students to large double rooms converted to fit three people in San Francisco, de Nobili, Regis and Mertz residence halls to accommodate the overflow of students.
Sylvester Francis Alonz, 18, lives in a converted triple in San Francisco Hall, but said he doesn’t have a problem with the residency requirement for first- and second-year students and plans to live on campus again next year.
“I think it’s a helpful experience no matter how far you come from,” Alonz, a religious studies major, said. “Living on campus gets everyone on the same page.”
Some students are also troubled by the cost of living on campus. Loyola recently announced an average 2.5 percent increase in room rates for the 2017-18 school year.
Marissa Abes, 18, lives on campus but is choosing to commute next year because of the cost of housing. She said she’s glad to have experienced living on campus during her first year, but she doesn’t agree with the residency requirement for first- and second-year students.
“If you can afford to live on campus, then absolutely go for it,” the accounting and finance double major said. “I just don’t think it should be a requirement to live here for two years, especially with how high the prices are.”
Despite those concerns, McDonald said Residence Life doesn’t believe there’s a need for a change in the residency requirement.
Instead, Residence Life plans to make modifications for next year, according to McDonald. One example is converting rooms in Bellarmine hall from their current state as doubles to triples.
McDonald said that Residence Life will wait to see if any accommodations will be needed to house the incoming class of first-year students.
The number of first-year students attending Loyola for the 2017-18 school year will not be official until the national decision deadline on May 1.
Erin Moriarty, Director of Undergraduate Admission, stated in an email to The Phoenix that Admissions is aiming for a first-year class of 2,400 students next year, which is less than the 2,655 first-year students that started in the fall 2016.
“We are still recruiting students, and the spring is when many of our admitted students visit campus as they make their final decisions,” Moriarty stated.
On the possibility of converting housing for next year, McDonald said Residence Life will do what it needs to house all first- and second-year students, saying that if this year’s class of first-year students is similarly large, then they will employ similar strategies to accommodate them.