We've received a number of questions about what a housing waitlist entails and the likelihood of a waitlist for the 2021-2022 term. Please review some frequently asked questions below:
Question: Why are we potentially activating a waitlist?
Answer: We had far, far fewer students indicate off-campus intent than we've had in the past several years. We suspect that some students who indicated 'on-campus' are likely planning to live off-campus but wanted to hold the spot in case the limitations on off-campus visitors continued. We don't anticipate those restrictions continuing, so this email will hopefully encourage those students to update their intent forms. We normally have 70-80 students who plan to live off-campus; right now only 25 have turned in their off-campus forms, so we anticipate many more coming in which will help to resolve this issue naturally.
Question: What happens if I am placed on the housing waitlist?
Answer: The contingency plans for providing housing during any semester that we have more requests than beds often includes a waitlist (we've done this several times in the past decade). What often happens when there is a waitlist is
a) we add a bed to appropriately sized rooms (some singles become doubles, some doubles become triples, etc),
b) we look at converting residential spaces that are not normally housing into rooms if appropriate (lounges with doors that close, for example),
c) we think about using other campus spaces and converting them temporarily into student housing,
d) it may mean that some upperclass students are placed into doubles when they otherwise might have had a single and
e) it means the process takes longer than normal so we'll need patience over the summer. If you're filling 1600 beds with 1600 students, every single bed counts...so selection takes longer as we want to offer students the absolute best options
Question: what support can the College offer to students who wish to live off-campus?
Answer: to make it easier for students to live off-campus we are offering a one-time supplement of offerings for the 2021-2022 academic year. The College will provide the following to rising juniors and rising seniors who choose to live off-campus:
a) Financially-aided students who live off-campus will receive the same consideration for the cost of room and board as students living on-campus.
b) All students living off-campus will be provided, free of charge, access to a Meal Plan that is similar to the offerings of the Commuter Meal Plan.
c) Off-campus students will be provided access to a student parking permit, free of charge.
d) Off-campus students who live outside of Delaware County and travel to campus via the SEPTA regional rail system or bus will be provided a monthly SEPTA pass, beginning September 2021, for use to commute to campus. Proof of lease in Philadelphia or the area serviced by SEPTA will be required for any student requesting this benefit.
Question: If I live off-campus am I allowed to visit campus?
Answer: yes, under the current plan for a full reopening in the Fall of 2021, we anticipate returning to pre-COVID policies for students who live off-campus. All students are welcome on campus, in the dining hall, at the Matchbox, etc. If the pandemic were to take a different trajectory, the College would again assess any safety measures that needed to be put in place. As we are planning for a full return to normal, we anticipate being able to welcome off-campus students back to campus.
Question: How can we ensure that the housing process is equitable for all students?
Answer: we anticipate following a very similar process for housing selection as previous years. All students who requested housing and participate in the housing selection process will receive College housing. Students will continue to select in order of class year, with rooms held for new students.
Question(s): How can we ensure financially aided students are receiving adequate food, housing, and support? How can we ensure that the off-campus housing incentive is equitable for FLI students? Who are the incentives to live off-campus aimed for? Is the goal to incentivize non-FLI students to choose off-campus housing?
Answer: the additional resources being offered to students who live off-campus during the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 year are not aimed at any particular population. It is important that we make sure all students who might be interested in living off-campus are aware of these additional considerations. Students may wish to consult with the Financial Aid office as they are considering living on-campus versus off-campus, as each student’s financial situation may vary. No student is being required to live off-campus.
Question: The commuter meal plan is inadequate for FLI students who rely heavily on on-campus meals for food security. Will the college provide additional support to offset food costs if a financially aided student decides to live off campus?
Answer: Students can choose to select any meal plan that they like, in addition to the plan that is being offered to off-campus students, if they would like to purchase it. For students who are living off-campus this year, we would be providing them a plan similar to the off-campus plan in addition to what aid they might receive (if they receive financial aid) for room and board. The access to that plan is a bonus or extra; it is not meant to replace other meal options. That is part of why off-campus students will receive the same aid considerations as on-campus students--that cost of room and board will be taken into account when calculating cost of attendance the same as it would for on-campus. The plan is similar to the commuter plan (in previous years the cost was ~$1200 per term) that is being provided without charge in addition to considering your costs the same way whether on- or off-campus.
Question: What alternative housing options does the college plan to make available? How soon will students be notified of these options?
Answer: The type of housing that will be made available will be impacted by the total number of students who select on-campus housing. Generally, we expect that the housing selection process will look very similar to previous years. Additional housing will be made available in a number of existing locations (Kyle, Parrish North, Strath Haven) and some rooms across campus will have adjusted occupancy.
Question: Will juniors and seniors still be given priority for the housing lottery in terms of dorm preference? Will students still be able to apply for housing blocks?
Answer: Yes. We anticipate following a very similar process as previous years when it comes to blocking.
Question: When will this lottery take place? Will it happen sooner to allow folks more flexibility?
Answer: We anticipate an update to all residential students no later than June 14, 2021 and the beginning of the selection process happening June 21, 22 and 23.
Question: If a student receives on-campus housing and then changes their mind and decides they’d rather live off-campus post-lottery, can they still receive benefits for off-campus living?
Answer: Yes. A student can change their mind over the summer. A student will be billed at the end of June using the status that is accurate at the time of billing. Any change after that fact will then require the student to be sent an updated bill. If a student receives financial aid, they should be in contact with the Financial Aid office if they have any questions about changing their status.
Question: Will there be longer times between courses to accommodate travel time?
Answer: No, the course schedule would not be impacted by students living off-campus. The College always has at least 70-80 students living off campus each semester, and we do encourage students to take into account travel times (including possible travel related to tri-co courses) when planning their schedule.
Question: Will there be Swat Points available for on or off campus students?
Answer: The meal plans are still being finalized but are likely to be very similar to pre-pandemic meal plans. Students should continue to monitor the Dining Services website for additional information. https://www.swarthmore.edu/dining-services