By Jeff Frankel
After an overwhelming student response, the University will now guarantee on-campus housing next year to students who meet the deposit deadline, school administrators have announced.
All returning students who already have housing this semester will be assured housing, said Cindy Threatt, director of Residence Life, in the new plan announced Tuesday via e-mail.
“First, I want you to know that Rider University will meet its commitment to you by making on-campus housing available to all students who are eligible and who meet the established deadlines,” she said in the e-mail.
This is a reversal in the policy Residence Life first announced last week when housing was guaranteed only to next year’s freshmen, sophomores, and first- or second-year transfers.
The new changes have cooled the fire in sophomore Paul Gasior, who was worried about not getting housing next year.
“I think that Rider finally realized that it would create a great uproar,” he said. “If they didn’t [change] there would be a lot of transfers, and the student body would be unhappy.”
The housing deposit is due to the Cashier’s Office March 14 and the housing agreement is due March 30. Students will not receive a bill for a housing deposit.
But fifth-year seniors and transfers will still not be guaranteed housing. And “squatter’s rights,” under which current students have the option of retaining their current room, will still not be permitted, said Stephanie Polak, associate director of Residence Life.
However, not all students will receive a room assignment during room selection. Those students will be waitlisted for standard housing and placed in triple rooms at a reduced rate, Threatt said.
“It would be our preference that it would be upperclassmen,” Polak said.
The new pods in Hill and Ziegler Halls will be also tripled up where available, she added. De-tripling may occur if available rooms open up.
“We did a test run of a room,” she said.
From past experience, Residence Life knows that housing becomes available after room selection and many will have a standard room by the start of the fall semester, she said in the e-mail.
Waitlisted students who wish to live off campus will get help from the University. Dave Keenan, director of campus activities, will now help students make alternative housing arrangements. More information can be found at www.rider.edu/offcampushousing.
The demand for a more efficient housing system comes from an increased number of students staying at Rider, with freshman and sophomore retention rates increasing from 79 to 83 percent, according to school administrators.
Despite the increased demand for housing, the University has become more competitive, admitting fewer students. In Fall 2007, 75 percent of applicants were admitted, compared with 79 percent the previous year.
Information regarding the complete lottery and room selection will be posted on the Residence Life Web site at www.rider.edu/housing by Feb. 25.
Students who pay the housing deposit on time but cannot attend their designated room selection can have another student help them get a room.
Those who request a refund before Residence Life assigns rooms are able to, but once a standard room is offered, the deposit is not refundable, Threatt said.
To accommodate additional commuters, the University plans to add 100 new parking spots by the start of the fall semester.