NYU Housing selection process broken

Tommy Collison , Deputy Opinion Editor

The semester often feels like a series of looming deadlines — as soon as classes start, it is midterms season, then gearing up for registration on Albert and, of course, selecting housing for next year. Students who choose to live off-campus have their own set of headaches, but this year more than others, students who chose to live in dorms were subjected to unnecessary stress. Some CAS students were told last Friday that the only available housing was Clark Street in Brooklyn. These are students who will have to commute to Washington Square daily because of NYU’s mismanagement of the housing process.

Students who receive lower priority in the allocation process received an email saying that, due to demand, some students may not be assigned housing until the summer. The email wrote that “not every student will be able to select a space during Phase 2 of this process.” Year after year, NYU opens housing selection to more students than they can fit, like airlines selling seats on an overbooked flight. This results in increased anxiety on the part of cash-strapped students, and it has to stop.

The reality is that many students at NYU are living on a shoestring budget. Not every student can afford every dorm, especially given that the prices for undergraduate dorms can vary by $10,000 for the
academic year. But NYU makes no allowances for these financial realities at the Office of the Bursar, another administrative  section of NYU. For students on limited budgets, not getting their first choice could mean the difference between staying at NYU and being forced to drop out. NYU’s promise of guaranteed housing rings hollow when it is deaf to the financial needs of its students.

One possible solution would be an incorporation of students’ financial information into the housing process. Currently, the allocation of housing seems to be based entirely on year, with juniors and seniors traditionally having the latest registration date. This should change, especially because students who receive financial aid give so much information about their financial realities. Even implementing something as simple as the ability to set a rent limit would reduce some of the stress students feel during the selection process. And it is not unreasonable to guarantee that students get housing in the borough they attend classes in. As of Friday, CAS students are facing the prospect of commuting to Manhattan every day as the price of an unlimited monthly MetroCard rises  to $116.50.

NYU is not taking into account what it is like to live in the city on a limited budget. Uncertainty breeds stress, and the administration should do more to diminish the anxiety many students feel as they move through the
selection process.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. 

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 6 print edition. Email Tommy Collison at [email protected]