Amidst the confusion and rumors concerning housing options for next year, it has now been confirmed that the Vista del Campo and Vista del Campo Norte housing facilities will be used to fulfill the second-year housing guarantee for next year’s sophomore class.
Current residents of VDC and VDC Norte were notified by e-mail on Oct. 20 by the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Housing, Bill Zeller, who urged current residents to ‘begin planning for alternative housing for next year.’
For months it has been known that this year’s freshman class population was larger than anticipated (by around 300 to 400 students) and with UC Irvine’s future enrollment expected to hit 30,000 students by 2010, this year marked the beginning of the two-year housing option which will now be offered to the incoming freshmen.
Housing demand models for 2007 to 2011 were developed with the two-year housing guarantee policy in mind. According to the overview of strategic planning status update (http://housing.uci.edu/sp/gsi_status1_c.asp) this policy was intended to ‘increase enrollment and attract high achieving students by extending the one-year housing guarantee to two years for freshmen who are enrolled for fall, and who are single and under age 25.’
At the moment, transfer students will still be assured of receiving at least one year of living accommodations, as will students participating in the Campus Wide Honors Program who will be able to keep their four years of guaranteed housing. According to Friday’s notification, UCI administration is convinced that living on campus for two years ‘best supports’ the educational experience of students.
‘When we look at the undergraduate experience at residential campuses around the country, it’s pretty evident that the undergraduate experience is very different with two years on campus than let’s say, two to three years off campus,’ Zeller said. ‘The two-year connection to the campus really shapes a much stronger and richer undergraduate experience, and we think students are connected to the campus better, have better academic support services and will build a broader peer network over a two-year period than just one year.’
Arroyo Vista and Campus Village will also be impacted by the altering student demographics. There are no formal talks for a separate facility for fraternities and sororities, but talks took place between Zeller and the Greek chapter presidents last week and will continue this week with those involved with the academic theme houses in Arroyo Vista. Students who are guaranteed housing will be able to apply for spots in VDC and VDC Norte from Nov. 6 to Nov. 22. From then on, there will be a better estimation of how many guaranteed housing students will still need housing and how many upper classmen will be able to renew their leases. Present VDC and VDC Norte residents will be notified in the beginning of April 2007 if spaces will be available. How these extra spaces will be allotted is still unknown, but the allocation will be managed by the VDC and VDC Norte facilities. In order to combat the housing panic, resources will soon be made available to help students obtain suitable off-campus housing for the 2007-2008 school year.
‘Vista del Campo in particular is moving into a new mindset of what students would sign in their lease. I think in the future when we get past this year, students will automatically know that this may be just a one-year opportunity,’ Zeller said.
Though this year has seen an unexpected increase in student numbers at UCI, the incoming class of 2011 is expected to be lower than this year’s freshmen class so housing will be less of a problem.
‘We are going to allow third- and fourth-years and nonguaranteed students to apply for housing and get on a wait list,’ said Connie Malone, Director of Planning, Research and Administration. ‘So if we end up having some openings after we’ve met all of our guaranteed obligations, then we can offer some spaces. But that probably won’t be until next summer.’
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