by Jess Hoogendoorn
Students need to mark their March calendars now.
The deadline for the $200 housing deposits has been moved up to March 1. Course selection begins for day and continuing studies students on March 9. Last year, housing deposits did not have to be turned in until March 14. Course selection began on March 24 for continuing studies students and March 31 for day students.
Continuing studies students will be lumped in with day students, and their course selection dates will also be based on the number of credits they have accumulated, according to Jamie O’Hara, vice president of Enrollment Management.
Dean of Students Anthony Campbell said course selection was moved up because it would give the administration more time to work with students who may be experiencing financial difficulties. It allows the administration to be more “student-centered,” he said.
One of the other factors administrators were considering was the amount of stress students were experiencing when choosing classes late in the spring semester. Last year freshmen were registering very close to exams and it seemed to be stressful for both students and faculty, said O’Hara. He also explained that students tend to think about everything else before they consider financial aid. By moving up the registration time, it gives the administration and students time to engage in meaningful dialogue.
“I can’t underestimate the benefit we’ll see working with students with financial difficulties,” O’Hara said.
Ira Mayo, associate dean of student affairs, believes another advantage to earlier registration is being able to adjust courses based on supply and demand.
“Let’s say that we have a very high demand for a course and a low demand for another in a department,” he said. “Adjusting this quickly gives the students more options and better choices.”
It will be a transition for both students and faculty, said O’Hara. Most faculty and students would say there is no good time for registration, he said, but it is better to have course selection early to avoid the build up of pressure that occurs at the end of the academic year.
Housing selection has also seen some changes this year. Not only are deposits due earlier, but students also have more choices of where to live.
The West Village Commons will be open for the fall 2009 semester. The buildings offer a mix of apartments, suites and premium double rooms. Students interested in living in West Village or other premium housing, such as New Building, must participate in the March 24 lottery. Regular room selection will be on March 29.
“This year, we’re going to have housing for fifth-year seniors and commuter students, because we have 152 more beds,” Campbell said. “We were able to open up the options.”
Pre-existing residence halls will be improved for next fall. Switlik Hall will be renovated, refurbished and air-conditioned by September, according to an e-mail sent out by Campbell.
The renovated areas will be offered to upperclassmen as part of the lottery. The university plans to air-condition other residence halls in the future, according to the e-mail.
Other new housing options to be offered include 28 double/single rooms, six standard double rooms with private bathrooms, 38 oversized double rooms and seven apartments, which were offered as three-person apartments in the past, will be offered as two-person apartments.
The administration will also be offering an Alumni Senior Housing Grant for seniors living on campus during the 2009-2010 academic year.
The grant is valued at $1,000 per semester and will be offered to 50 rising seniors. The grant will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students interested in the grant must fill out an application.
The grant focuses on those who are closest to graduation and may have incurred some debt over their past years paying for their education.
The administration is trying to help those who have a tight budget and could use some flexibility, O’Hara said.
“The benefit of keeping students on campus and keeping a vibrant campus community goes without saying,” O’Hara said.