Third- and fourth-year students at Ohio University will soon have the opportunity to live in residence halls without having to worry about securing one of the 200 previously limited spots.
The cap on junior and senior housing will be removed starting in the 2018-19 academic year.
Renovations, demolitions and recent construction of residence halls on South Green have caused the university’s capacity to fluctuate.
And with first-year enrollment down slightly from its record high, the university is in a position to allow more students to live on campus starting with the 2018 Fall Semester.
“We never wanted to be caught, as an institution, with not enough room for the incoming class of students,” Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina said. “That would be an awful idea.”
At January’s Board of Trustees meeting, Pina called the removal of the cap a “new phenomenon and cultural shift” for the university but was skeptical that the impact would be immediately seen.
Because many students sign leases for off-campus housing up to a year in advance, Pina doesn’t expect that the demand would be realized until later down the road.
“We think it will be a cycle or two before juniors and seniors will take seriously the option of staying on campus for that third or fourth or fifth year,” he said.
Housing and Residence Life Executive Director Pete Trentacoste said the department expressed a need to cap third- and fourth-year student housing to accommodate first- and second-year students, who are required to live on campus.
Last year, however, fewer than 200 junior and senior students opted to live on campus, prompting university officials to reconsider removing the cap.
“Simply communicating the possibility of a cap can drive students off campus, as they are likely to anticipate not being provided an assignment,” Trentacoste said in an email.
Upperclass students will be able to select from any of the 19 doubles in the 4 University Terrace residence hall or from any of the designated rooms in Hoover House on South Green.
“This option has been desirable as it affords students the opportunity to live with other third and fourth year students for a common living experience, provides access to singles and offers access to a kitchen,” Jneanne Hacker, director of business and conference services, said in an email.
Students who don’t select rooms in those halls, however, will be entered into the general lottery, which allows third- and fourth-year students to select into available second-year halls during randomly assigned selection dates.
“We are confident that we can accommodate any undergraduate student who wants to live with on campus during the 2018-2019 academic year,” Trentacoste said.