Stetson Changes Housing Selection Process

Chase Berger, Writer - The Reporter

For the average Stetson student that lives on campus, each year has been spent in a different dorm. Rising seniors, having finally met the three year residency requirement, finally have the option to live elsewhere. If they choose to stay on campus—which many do— they get top priority in the self-selection process for housing assignments. After climbing through the ranks, they’ve earned the right to live in the apartments on the edges of campus. In their minds, dorms such as Nemec and Smith aren’t even an option. However, the housing process will be changing. As it turns out, Nemec and Smith may be options after all.


In the past, there has been a shortage of available housing space at Stetson. This leaves approximately 300 rising sophomores with only two options: wait for assignment, or leave the university. After receiving mass amounts of feedback from these students and their parents, Stetson’s Residential Living and Learning found that “[rising sophomores] feel left out; they feel like they don’t have any agency; they don’t have any voice.” According to Executive Director of Residential Living and Learning, Larry Correll-Hughes, Ph.D. it’s “rough to have those conversations. But it’s also rough to see the impact of [the situation] on students and how they feel about where they live.”


Seniors that have fulfilled the three-year residency requirement or currently meet the exemption criteria aren’t required to live on campus, and in the past, seniors have tended to cancel their on campus housing at a higher rate than sophomores and juniors. For these reasons, “a shift in [selection] philosophy” has occurred.


This change primarily affects rising and fifth year seniors. Unlike previous years, only some of these students will be randomly chosen to participate in the self-selection process, but as many as possible will be chosen to participate. Based on the university’s current estimate, 100 rising and fifth year seniors will be selected, but this number may increase according to the number of housing applications submitted. 


Students that will be entered into the lottery are those whose first term at Stetson was in Spring 2019 or earlier and those who submit the housing application by the priority deadline of Mar. 1. Additionally, those chosen to participate in self-selection will be allowed to bring a roommate with them.


Important to note is that fraternity and sorority houses, Honors/Bonners, Quiet Living, Living Well, and Community Catalyst houses aren’t part of the self-selection process. Rising and fifth year seniors can be on the house roster without being part of the lottery. 


Correll-Hughes wants seniors to know that Stetson values them. “We want seniors to live on campus. That’s actually a point of pride for us, that a third of seniors choose to live on campus every year.” For those not chosen in the lottery but submitted their housing application by Mar. 1, Correll-Hughs says they will be guaranteed housing, but “Exactly where that is, I can’t guarantee. But we do think based on history and patterns that we’ll be able to get more seniors into their desired housing.” 


No matter your credit hours, students whose first term at Stetson began in Summer 2019 or later and who submit the housing application by the priority deadline will automatically be eligible for self-selection. Like previous years, the actual self-selection process will then be prioritized by credit hours. This means that the rising and fifth year seniors that were randomly chosen to participate will have the first pick. The roommate with the highest credit hours will determine the selection priority. Additionally, roommate groups can be changed at any point in the selection process.


This also means that while those who won’t be participating in self-selection are not guaranteed placement with desired roommates, Residential Living and Learning is dedicated to taking preferences into account as spaces open up over the summer. “We will do our best to make that happen,” said Correll-Hughes. Even if they don’t receive their desired housing, “there won’t be any seniors in triples or lounges.” If demand exceeds space, the contingency plan is to temporarily house students in a local hotel as has been done in past years.


Essentially, all students that submit a housing application by Mar. 1 are guaranteed housing. Those who are eligible to participate in the self-selection process will be given a selection appointment based on credit hours. Those who aren’t eligible to participate will be given housing assignments in May, June, and July as space becomes available. 


Various options were considered as Residential Living and Learning worked to determine a process that would accommodate as many students as possible. Ultimately, after working closely with the SGA Campus Life Committee, SGA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the SGA Executive Committee, this new housing process was chosen and is one that will become the new standard for housing selection in the future.