This year, approximately 140 rising juniors and seniors who applied for housing did not receive a time slot, according to Emily Dodd, communications officer for Media Relations & Marketing, causing students to question many aspects of housing.
“Historically, about 200 upper class students do not receive a time slot, although recent construction projects have caused this number to fluctuate a bit,” said Ryan Farnkopf, director of housing operations. “For the last few years, the wait list has been smaller than average.”
The College currently has about 6,100 full-time students enrolled on campus. However, there are only 4,000 campus beds, so in order to guarantee on-campus housing for all students for all four years, the College would need about 2,100 more beds.
However, according to Farnkopf, not all students choose to live on campus. In fact, while about 95 percent of first-year students and 90 percent of second-year students apply for housing, only about 50 percent of juniors and seniors choose to do so.
Students who apply for on-campus housing but do not receive a time slot are encouraged to sign up for the wait list, which takes a student’s distance from home, class year, gender and date of application into consideration.
“Wait list offers are not made on a first-come first-serve basis,” Farnkopf said. “However, since we make offers as soon as vacancies arise, putting your name on the wait list early increases your chances of receiving on-campus housing.”
Although it is too early to say with absolute certainty, Farnkopf believes that most students who did not initially receive a time slot will be offered housing by the start of the fall semester.
“Some of those offers will be made immediately after room selection if we have any vacancies,” he said. “The rest will be made throughout the spring semester and summer as existing students take leaves of absences, transfer, go abroad, etc.”
Although housing is not guaranteed for typical juniors and seniors, some students are granted this luxury. In fact, out of state students, as well as some specific scholarship recipients whose funding includes on-campus housing for all four years, are guaranteed housing for their duration at the College, as long as they apply on time.
In addition to rising juniors and seniors, transfer students are also not guaranteed housing. However, there are two separate wait lists — one for current students and one for transfers. The goal is to get through the wait list of current students before focusing on housing for transfer students over the summer.
Campus Town will also create more housing options for students in the future.
“Campus Town will likely alleviate some of our demand for housing and provide an opportunity for commuters to live closer to campus,” Farnkopf said.
Although housing doesn’t drive enrollment numbers, Residential Education and Admissions work together to make sure that there are enough bed spaces for first year students, who are guaranteed on-campus housing.
In addition, some students with physical challenges may need access to rooms with special accommodations. In these specific cases, students who are registered with Disability Support Services can go through a modified room selection process.
“At TCNJ, we keep fairness and equity at the center of our housing policies, so we don’t manipulate time slots or wait list placements,” Farnkopf said.