UPDATE: Housing and Residence Life announces refunds available until Mar. 28
The 2012-2013 housing deposit is now refundable up until the first day of room selection, Mar. 28, according to a status update on the Housing and Residence Life Facebook page at 4:27 p.m. today.
A broadcast email announcing the new available time period for refunds was sent to students at 4:43 p.m.
Due to a large number of housing cancellations in previous years, Housing and Residence Life announced at the beginning of the semester that the 2012-2013 housing deposit would be nonrefundable, according to Director of HRL Cheryl Janus.
According to Janus, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of students who apply for housing, participate in room selection and then cancel after room selection is over.
Janus said those students use room selection as a back-up plan and deprive students with later lottery times from selecting the spaces they want.
“Last year, 144 students went through room selection and then canceled soon after,” Janus said. “Which means 144 other students could’ve chosen their spaces had it been known they never intended to live in them.”
According to Janus, surveys were conducted to find the best solution for the University.
“We surveyed other colleges in the region and found most do not refund housing deposits,” Janus said. “It is our hope this decision will contribute to less fluidity in our community after room selection is complete.”
According to sophomore Jackie Felteau, this nonrefundable deposit comes with a price.
“My friend and I do not want to live on campus next year, so our hearts are set on getting an apartment,” Felteau said.
The nonrefundable deposit has put pressure on Felteau and her friend.
“It’s still so early in the year so there aren’t many vacancies,” Felteau said. “Student will not move out until the end of spring semester, so those who run the apartment buildings cannot help us right now.” According to Felteau, she has been left with difficult choices.
“My only choices are to pay the deposit and possibly waste the money, or not pay the deposit and take my chances on a vacant apartment in the area,” Felteau said.
Junior Alexa Mangini agreed with Felteau that the nonrefundable deposit is unfair.
“I think it’s unfair especially during these hard economic times,” Mangini said. “You never know what the next few months may hold.”
According to Ben Prohaska the nonrefundable deposit gives students few options.
“It forces students into staying on campus, because if it remained refundable it could be used as first month’s rent for off-campus housing,” Prohaska said.
Junior Emily Mackessy, who plans to live off-campus next year, does not want to pay the deposit.
“I think that’s pretty unfair because I would assume a lot of people pay the housing deposit just in case any plans they had for living off campus fell through,” Mackessey said. “My friends and I have few options lined up.”
Ashley Duvall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: The room deposit amount is $325. This amount was originally erroneously reported as $350. The Setonian apologizes for this error.