Incoming freshmen to Michigan State can expect to deal with the possibility of transitional housing during move-in this fall.
The reinstatement of the two-year live-on policy requires all students to live on campus for two years with some exemptions, meaning freshmen and sophomores will be sharing on-campus housing.
While sophomores will not be affected by transitional housing situations, incoming freshmen may be subjected to living with three people in a dorm traditionally accommodating two people, or five people in the case of the Akers dorm which regularly holds four people, until additional housing opens up.
RHS Chief Communications Officer Kat Cooper confirmed that the university is preparing for transitional housing setups due to the size of the incoming freshman class.
“We are expecting a strong class and to have to do some transitional housing,” she said.
Some students choose to live in transitional housing settings to reduce the price of housing, but it is possible that students who did not request a triple will be put in one until more options open up to house the third person.
“It will all depend on where we are as students move on to campus and like I said, it's a temporary situation unless students choose to stay in that configuration, and we tend to get them broken down pretty fast and get people moved into a more typical housing situation,” Cooper said.
Whether or not a student will be a part of a transitional housing setup will be announced when students receive their housing assignments in mid-July. Some of the setups could even change before students move in depending on how many students decide not to attend the university between now and the fall semester.
Whether voluntary or involuntary, students living with three people in a double will pay a discounted rate compared to what would be paid for two students living in a double. For example, the rate of a traditional double, triple, or quad is $2,269 per semester, while the rate for three people in a double is $1,513 per semester and the rate for five people living in a quad is $1,815 per semester.
Social relations and policy sophomore Olivia VanEss lived in Case Hall last year and can’t believe three students could be sharing a space built for two, describing her dorm room as a “shoebox.”
“MSU needs to put overflow freshmen in different locations,” she said. “Many other universities have had students living in hotels or apartments near campus. MSU needs to show that it cares more about student safety than money.”
In regards to safety, the Washington Post reported that COVID-19 cases are expected to rise in the fall and winter months. With transitional housing adding extra people to dorm rooms and MSU getting rid of quarantine dorms, students may have to stay in their living quarters with an additional person and use either their suite-style or community-style bathrooms if they’re unable to go home or find another place to stay.
The university appears to be relying on its vaccine and booster requirement to control the spread of the virus.
“I think MSU is in a really good place with our vaccination and booster requirements,” Cooper said. “The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to be vaccinated and boosted. While we may see a resurgence of COVID in the fall, it's becoming an endemic illness just like the flu or a cold and so, students should obviously do things like clean certain high-touch surfaces frequently and get tested if they feel ill and perhaps wear a mask if they know that they have COVID, but this is becoming like any other illness that we experience yearly.”
Cooper also explained that the university decided to get rid of the quarantine housing due to low usage, adding that over the course of the last year there was only an average of 10 people using it. In lieu of the quarantine housing, she also said that they are solidifying a food tray plan that would allow students who have tested positive for COVID-19 to have food dropped off at their door.
While MSU does require the vaccine and booster, exemptions have been applied to students for medical and religious reasons, some students are also a part of high-risk groups for the virus because of health issues, even if they are vaccinated. Cooper encouraged students with health concerns to register with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to make accommodations.
“RCPD suggests students consult with their physician about how the coronavirus may impact their condition in University Housing,” RCPD Chronic Health Ability Access Specialist Ashley Maloff said in an email. “MSU is committed to providing equal access to the use and enjoyment of University-owned Housing. Any student living on campus who feels they have a disability that substantially limits one or more major life functions (i.e. breathing, mobility, bodily function, etc.) and their ability to participate and live fully within University Housing is encouraged to reach out to RCPD to discuss options for Housing accommodations.”
Students must register with RCPD at least 45 days before move-in to receive housing accommodations.
As for the two-year live-on requirement, Cooper said there are no plans to discontinue it at this time. In 2017 a committee was formed to research student success, as measured by graduation rate, and students that lived on campus for two years had a better chance of graduating than those who didn’t, she explained.
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The requirement was officially announced in 2019 with plans to implement it during the 2022-2023 school year, and student reaction has been mixed.
“As somebody who lives over 50 miles from campus, I think it’s ridiculous that they’re requiring all these students to stay on campus,” special education senior Savanna Solano-Maefield said. “I understand the university missed out on those funds due to COVID, but what a way of letting students know we’re nothing more than a dollar sign.”
“As of now I am fine with the requirement, but having an extra option to live off-campus sophomore year would be nice,” astrophysics freshman Jacob Yousif said. “I believe that this change is a good idea since it would encourage more freshmen and sophomores to engage in social aspects.”
“I don’t agree with the two-year live-on requirement because the dorm life is really good from a social standpoint coming in as a freshman, but after my first year, I would have gained my friends and wouldn’t need the dorms to fulfill that need,” mechanical engineering freshman Joshua Dorsey said.
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