In an effort to expand affordable housing options for graduate students, UC Irvine Student Housing has begun planning for a four-year conversion of the Campus Village Housing community from undergraduate to all-graduate housing. Beginning in fall 2012, the plan will convert 25 percent of apartment spaces at the community per year, and Campus Village will be fully occupied by graduate students in four years.
During the first year of the conversion phase, 96 spaces (approximately 25 percent) will be offered to single graduate students with the remaining spaces still available to undergraduates. About 100 spaces will be converted per year, and all 400 spaces will be available to graduate students by fall 2015.
In the overall plan by Student Affairs and Student Housing, the Campus Village conversion will join the opening of the new phase of apartments at Verano Place. Approximately 200 two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments will be available by fall 2012, along with a new childcare center in the community.
It is uncertain how leasing rates for each housing community will be affected by the conversion of Campus Village and addition of spaces in Verano Place, and at the moment it is not possible to predict the impact. Lisa Cornish, Sr. Executive Director of Student Housing, says that the Budget Office gives Student Housing direction on determining rates.
“We are given direction from the Budget Office on rate caps, and we work within those to insure that net revenue requirements (debt service, facility improvements, maintenance and replacements) as well as operational obligations (staffing, general repair and maintenance, and housekeeping, student programs) are met,” Cornish said.
“The Budget Advisory Committee, [which consists of] representatives from the Budget Office, Vice Chancellor’s Office and Student Housing leadership, makes the final recommendation to the Vice Chancellor’s Office for annual rate approval.”
For those with concerns about the placement of undergraduates with the loss of spaces in Campus Village, Director of Student Affairs Communications Leslie Millerd Rogers assures that undergraduates and transfer students will still be offered housing guarantees.
“To enable a smooth transition for all students, new freshmen will continue to be housed primarily in Mesa Court and Middle Earth,” she said. “Continuing undergraduate and transfer students will be offered housing in the Arroyo Vista theme house community, Campus Village for the next three years, and in apartments operated by American Campus Communities on east campus [Vista del Campo, Vista del Campo Norte, Camino del Sol and Puerta del Sol].”
According to Rogers, the allocation of students in the different housing communities cannot be determined until after the next admissions cycle and Housing receives the numbers of students and their requests for placement.
“In late February, early March we get the first set of numbers from Enrollment Services about the number of undergraduate and graduate students,” Rogers said.
Rogers reiterated Student Housing’s role in implementing this conversion plan, and the development of new housing spaces for graduate students is intended to support campus efforts to [raise] enrollment of highly competitive students at all levels.
In the past five years, the availability of student housing has increased by 20 percent from approximately 10,586 to 12,737 bed spaces with the openings of Camino del Sol and Puerta del Sol. At the same time, over 4,100 freshmen took up residence in student housing. While the four-year conversion phase has the goal of providing more housing for graduate students, the next four years will allow Student Housing to deal with the accompanying issue of securing housing for undergraduates as well.