On-campus housing causes students to wait, Residence Life skeptical


With the incoming freshmen class increasing in number each year, the demand for on-campus housing continues to escalate. At the beginning of this school year, 22 students were living with a Residential Assistant (RA); however, all were moved out by the third week of September.

The insufficient amount of on-campus housing opportunities at St. Edward’s University has caused many dorms to become overcrowded and has forced upperclassmen to look for housing elsewhere.

Sophomore Allison Ahlers was put in a difficult position after being put on the housing waiting list.

“I almost wasn’t able to come to school because my family didn’t have the money to afford an off-campus apartment,” Ahlers said.

Ahlers was listed No. 230 on the waiting list, her fate undetermined the entire summer. Finally, one week before move-in, Residence Life notified her of an opening.

“I was calling the school in the middle of the summer and they kept assuring me I would get a spot,” Ahlers said. “I hadn’t heard anything three weeks before school started so I started calling again and they said I had to look for an off-campus apartment. I found out I would be living on campus a week before school started through an email.”

Ahlers’ roommate, sophomore Isavannah Reyes, was going through the same struggle trying to find somewhere to live for her second year at St. Edward’s.

“In March when we applied for housing, I applied on the last day and the only thing left was the apartments, which was fine for a while,” Reyes said. “Over the summer my parents and I began looking over the finances and realized we couldn’t do it because it’s really expensive.”

After realizing the severity of her financial situation, Reyes fought to find alternate housing on or off campus that could ease the financial burden.

“Then we called the school to get me on the waiting list; they were very ambiguous about it,” Reyes said. “I kept calling and they finally found me a spot three weeks before school started. I had already started looking at other apartments.”

Ahlers’ and Reyes’ financial situation mirrored that of many students who struggled to find affordable housing.

Sophomore RA Ana Avalos knows of cases where overcrowding caused students to be housed with an RA.

“I luckily wasn’t affected but I know some RA’s were,” Avalos said. “We have a bigger room so some were given a temporary roommate; I was lucky enough not to.”

Upperclassmen are not the only group affected by the overcrowding.

Freshmen Alexandra Maxwell had very little time to find the housing she wanted before all spots were filled.

“I wanted to switch dorms because I found the East Hall dorms to be incredibly tiny and wanted to be closer to the center of campus,” Maxwell said. “However, I wasn’t able to switch because all the rooms were filled.”

Avalos understands Maxwell’s predicament. The lack of housing allows for minimal transfers between buildings and dorms.

“It’s been really stressful,” Avalos said. “Some parents want their children to live in a certain place and we can’t move them.”

The insufficient on-campus housing has made attending and living at the university increasingly difficult. With many students living off campus and the uncertainty of the waiting list, their housing situations for this and next semester are still undecided.

Director of Residence Life Alicia Vela does not believe there is an overcrowding problem at the school. If there is, it is due to students on the waiting list being conscientious with their housing options.

“We overextend our occupancy to guarantee that we will fill all our beds, and give as many people a place to live as possible. By this time everyone is in their permanent spot and we are sitting on two vacancies,” Vela said. “Getting on the waiting list means you are willing to take any bed available.”

There are still a few housing spots available, so residence life wants any students who are still seeking on-campus housing to contact them. Housing applications for next semester are already open, so residence life encourage students to be flexible and apply early.

“If a student is open to new options we will be able to accommodate them. Flexibility will get you a spot on campus,” Vela said.

Follow Cassie on Twitter for more!