Will Sophomores be Housed in Triples?
April is a busy month for Skidmore students. We select courses for next year, celebrate Earth day, make final summer plans and enjoy our long awaited event, fun day. In addition to this, everybody, aside from seniors, select housing for next year. As housing selection is under way, we have seen some changes from past years.
This year, 74 more students applied to live in on-campus apartments than last year for a total of 1081 applicants. The increase comes in large part from the class of 2017 where, last year, 439 students applied for apartments, compared to 512 students this year. More rising juniors (497 students) also applied for on-campus apartments for next year in comparison to last year. However, there was a decrease in the number of rising sophomores who applied for apartments for next year. Last year, 122 students applied as opposed to 72 this year.
The increase in students applying meant that more students were left without apartments. The majority of the 260 students who applied but did receive apartments came from the rising junior class. Last year, only 238 students did not receive apartments, and the number of rising juniors who did not get them was only in the double digits opposed to the triple digits this year.
With the increase in students not getting apartments, there are many speculations about how Skidmore is going to be able to house all students, as Skidmore guarantees housing for all four years. Adding to this problem is the fact that fewer students are choosing to live off-campus. This is in-line with what Skidmore wants as, “ultimately residential life and Skidmore as a whole wants students to live on campus,” said Ryan Ballantine, Assistant Director of Residential Life for Operations.
When the Sussman apartments opened in the fall of 2013, off-campus housing numbers fell. Prior to the opening there were about 350-400 students living off campus, but the year the new apartments opened that number dropped to 280 students living off campus. As of April 19th, 111 students had applied and been accepted to live off campus. This does not include the population of students going abroad in the fall. Ballantine said that this number is likely to increase at the end of residential hall room selection, as juniors and seniors who do not pick a room in a residential hall give up their guaranteed housing and are automatically placed to live off campus.
It is too early to say exactly how many freshmen will have to live in triples, but Ballantine predicts it will be close to 100 percent. There are no plans to have anyone but freshmen living in triples. Ballantine talked about how although they are not considering having upperclassman live in triples in dorms at this point it could be something they consider in the future.
Skidmore currently also has no plans to build a new residential hall or do major renovations to any of the current ones. A major renovation to a residential hall would take more than a summer to complete and therefore, the college would need to find alternative space to house all those students who would have lived in that building. However, smaller renovations are done to residential halls and apartments during the summer. For example, this summer Kimball Hall will be getting new paint, carpet, reinforcement of the walls and potentially new lighting and lounge furniture.
Without doing a full-scale renovation, Ballantine shared some thoughts he has on how Skidmore could address a shortage of housing in the future. One option Ballantine talked about was “do we pull back on our housing guarantee?” Guaranteed housing is something that draws many students to Skidmore and could potentially impact the amount of money Skidmore brings in. Ballantine discussed how they could make it so upperclassman “can’t live in the res halls and once apartments fill must move off campus.” Currently, about 200 juniors and seniors each year live in the residential halls and not having them there would mean less revenue brought in for the college. An alternative way to prevent housing problems would be to admit fewer students to the school, to guarantee more space for the current students in the residential halls.
Although there are rising juniors and seniors who did not get apartments during apartment selection and will be living in the dorms, a shortage of housing is not as big of an issue as many students think, and these trends are pretty similar to those of recent years. Even students who applied but did not get apartments or incoming freshman who have to live in triples should be happy with their housing as recently the Princeton Review ranked Skidmore top three colleges with the best dorms.