In an attempt to provide more affordable housing for students, ASUCI and Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Housing William Zeller are working together to help guarantee on-campus housing for incoming freshmen and sophomores by fall 2006.
The process of guaranteeing housing to incoming students is still in the early stages of development but, according to Zeller, if the construction goals are met, this two-year guarantee will be enforced.
‘We are in the process of preparing to implement a two-year housing guarantee for new freshmen beginning in the fall of 2006,’ Zeller said. ‘This will be contingent upon the completion of the second phase of the East Campus Housing Project.’
The East Campus Housing Project is the second phase of the newly completed Vista del Campo housing community.
‘[VDC] will extend along Culver Drive down to Campus Drive, and will provide housing for another 1500 students,’ Zeller said.
Once implemented, freshmen students will be guaranteed housing in Mesa Court and Middle Earth and sophomores will have options in Campus Village, Arroyo Vista and VDC.
Currently, only student athletes, students in the Campuswide Honors Program and other honors programs are guaranteed on-campus for their entire college career.
Raymond Giang, ASUCI vice president of administrative affairs, said that ASUCI got involved in this project because on-campus housing prices are lower than prices for off-campus apartments.
‘Guaranteed housing is 10 percent below the market value for apartments in Irvine, and it will help cut costs for students and housing,’ Giang said.
Zeller described the importance of providing two years of guaranteed on-campus housing and how it might attract more students to UCI.
‘Providing two years of guaranteed housing to undergraduates will aid in the recruitment efforts for the campus,’ Zeller said. ‘Guaranteeing housing beyond the first year has been found to be an important factor when students are deciding which college to attend.’
Students have mixed feelings regarding this plan.
Abimbola Odusoga, a fourth-year environmental engineering major, didn’t believe that the new housing guarantee would be fair for upper-division students.
‘It wouldn’t be fair for upperclassmen,’ Odusoga said. ‘I believe in providing housing for freshmen to transition into school but it does not make sense for second years to have the same privileges because housing is a rare commodity on campus.’
However, freshmen have a differing opinion on this.
Chrystal Fairbanks, a first-year criminology, law and society major, was in favor of the guaranteed housing change.
‘I would stay with on-campus housing if it were guaranteed [for two years],’ Fairbanks said. ‘If you’re not here you’ll be less likely to get involved and feel disconnected to the campus.’
UCI has been dubbed a commuter school because most students find housing off campus after their first year. Zeller hopes that by guaranteeing on-campus housing for two years, UCI will be regarded less as a commuter school and the campus environment will improve.
‘The guarantee [of housing] will allow more students to take advantage of all UCI has to offer and will enhance their education,’ Zeller said. ‘In addition, having a larger number of students on campus will enhance student life and the sense of community at UCI.’
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