Thursday, February 2, 2023

Incoming students denied on-campus housing for spring semester due to lack of space

December 2, 2022
Sophomore Mia Burghardt moves into her new dorm in Bailey Hall during Fall 2022 Move-In on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at Michigan State University. “Coming in for my second year, I’m less anxious and more excited,” she said.
Sophomore Mia Burghardt moves into her new dorm in Bailey Hall during Fall 2022 Move-In on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at Michigan State University. “Coming in for my second year, I’m less anxious and more excited,” she said. —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

The MSU Housing Assignments Office sent a message to 95 incoming students telling them that they would not be provided housing in the dorms for spring semester on Nov. 17.

Prior to receiving the message, incoming students who wished to live on campus filled out interest forms. Although 70% of those students were given on-campus housing, the other 30% were told there was not enough space for them in on-campus housing and were given off-campus housing resources. Additionally, due to residence hall organization, the university was able to provide housing to all women students, but not men. 

Associate Director for Communications in Residence Education and Housing Services Bethany Balks said the issue came down to an unexpectedly large number of spring-admitted students. 

“When we found out that the spring incoming class was, like fall, unexpectedly large … we recognized that we would not be able to house that number of students, just based on what we knew about how many students were probably leaving after fall semester, and what spaces we'd have available,” Balks said.

This comes after the reinstatement of MSU’s new two-year live-on requirement, which requires freshmen and sophomores to live in the dorms. When alerted that their kids would not be provided housing, many parents took to the MSU Class of 2026 Facebook group to express frustration over the fact that MSU’s new policy had seemingly backfired. 

However, Balks said the new policy did not change the amount of available housing, as the same number of people are still living in the dorms to ensure that new admits have space. The students who did not receive housing for the spring were told that their two-year requirement would be waived. 

In response to these complaints, the university sent out another email telling these students that they could still choose to live on campus for the fall of 2023. 

“Because we recognize that it's important to house as many of our first and second-year students on campus — we know it supports academic and personal success — we have let spring students know that we will offer all of them the opportunity to select on-campus housing for next year as part of the current first-year signup,” Balks said.

Balks said the high number of students has been a trend since the pandemic. Many Big Ten schools, she said, have experienced higher numbers of students who wish to live on campus. As a result, housing has been meeting with admissions to determine what adjustments need to be made to the system. 

“We're really working closely with admissions to really understand the trends they're seeing and the class sizes they're seeing, so that as we go into the next year, we feel confident in our occupancy management plan,” Balks said. “And, we're talking to academics to make sure we are examining student success with the two-year LiveOn requirement.”

Public policy senior Sky Stillwell, who works as vice president of membership for the Spartan housing cooperative, said they cannot meet student demands for housing. 

“We aren't able to accommodate for all of them,” Stillwell said. “I think at this point, we have like, a handful of spots open for the spring … but it's definitely not the amount of spaces that people would need. We feel really bad turning them away, but we don't have the spots to serve them. We're really disappointed in MSU for dropping the ball, and it really upsets us that we can’t accommodate people in the way they need.”

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