By Jeff Frankel
Only a “low” number of students have paid the $200 housing deposit for next year, before a deadline that is fast approaching, said a school administrator.
Of the 1,500 students the Office of Residence Life expects to house next fall, 874 had paid the deposit as of Wednesday afternoon, said Stephanie Polak, associate director of residence life.
But the deposits may pick up as the deadline date, March 14, approaches, she said.
“That’s kind of low,” Polak said. “We think people are waiting until next week.”
After hearing students objections, the University is again guaranteeing on-campus housing next year to returning resident students as well as incoming freshmen, but some new restrictions will apply.
Some rooms on campus have been identified as standard triples, Polak said. Students who choose to live there will receive a 15-percent discount on the room for the fall semester.
Some double rooms have also been selected as temporary triple rooms and students who live there will receive a 25- percent discount for the first semester. New this year, rooms tripled in Lincoln will be priced as standard doubles.
“We are offering incentives for triple rooms,” Polak said.
The number of students who would will be forced to triple up is still unknown, Polak said. It depends on how many pay the fee on time and register for classes.
“We won’t know that until the deposit date comes and goes,” she said.
By paying the room deposit on time, students will be assigned a random number according to when they entered Rider. Residents will select their housing assignment based on their number, the room selection brochure says.
The $200 room deposit is non-refundable for those who voluntarily break the agreement, the brochure says. Students may request a refund at any time before Residence Life is able to offer a standard room, but once the room is offered, the deposit will no longer be refundable.
In the coming years, housing will be guaranteed only for freshmen and sophomores, Polak said. Juniors and seniors will have to try for any open spots or live off campus.
This is in contrast to what students were told. All students who entered Rider before and including Fall 2007 were promised housing for all four years in an admissions booklet they received.
“That is a clear message,” she said. “We will still house upperclassmen, but when there is a cut off, they will be denied.”
Those interested in living off campus can attend the Off Campus Living Series where students can learn what to do when living on their own. The first installment was held Wednesday, while future dates have not been posted yet.
A random number will be given to each student and will be grouped by his or her starting term and numbers will correlate to that start term, the brochure says.
Students who started in the Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 will be assigned a lottery number between 2500 and 2999. Those who started in Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 will be assigned between 1300 and 1999. Students who were entered Rider in Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 will be assigned a number between 0000 and 0999.
The highest numbers will be picked first to room select in the lottery.
Lottery numbers cannot be sold or traded, and Residence Life will maintain a database with all residents’ names and assigned lottery numbers. This will be closely monitored, the brochure also says.
Students must bring the housing application, the color-coded lottery card and their Rider ID.
Those who miss the March 14 housing deposit will be automatically placed on a waitlist and are doubtful to get a room, Polak said. Residence Life still has to come up with waitlist priorities.
Double singles will not be available next fall because the anticipated demand for Rider housing.
“We will accept applications but it is highly unlikely they will be approved,” the brochure says. “We will keep applications on file and if any are approved, it will be based on accumulated credits and date of application.”
Students may submit the housing application and lottery card to Residence Life before March 30, or have another student be a proxy at the designated time. Students do not need a roommate in order to secure a room; the next single student will be matched once his or her number is called.
A student may select a roommate who is currently in the junior year study abroad program as long as both have paid the housing deposit by deadline and submitted the housing agreement to Residence Life, the brochure says.
Roommates can be from different grades but next year’s seniors will pick first, followed by next year’s juniors and sophomores.
Students no longer have the option of retaining their room for the next school year.
“In order to give everyone an equal chance to get a standard room assignment, squatter’s rights have been eliminated,” the brochure says. “Every eligible student must go through the process and choose from the rooms that are available at their time slot.”
The new housing policies were announced by Residence Life on Feb. 26, a day later than expected, because of inclement weather on Feb. 22, which closed the school, Polak said.
“The snow day messed us up,” she said.