The Office of Housing and Residence Life has made changes to the housing selection process which includes the elimination of room retention, priority for groups and a new $300 security deposit. OHRL is doing these things to reduce uncertainty in the housing selection process.

This year, those with the least amount of credits will be given priority in housing selection. This is designed to give underclassmen a better chance at living on campus, said Jen Frank, assistant director of Housing Services. At an information session Thursday, some were concerned that this threatens senior privilege.

“We do acknowledge that some portion of seniors will be on the Guaranteed Waiting List from the start of the process,” Frank said. “We really think that the older students are more suited to deal with that ambiguity of being on the wait list.”

Those seniors will still be guaranteed housing on campus, just maybe not in the location of their choice. Students also will no longer be able to retain the same housing they have now, but instead will reenter the housing pool each year.

Another change is that group applicants will be given priority over individuals in the housing selection.  “[Students] spend all their time and energy on roommate and suitemate problems, and the community doesn’t get built because there’s all that negativity there,” said Frank.

The idea is that people who know their roommates ahead of time are more likely to have a positive roommate experience.

There will also be a new $300 deposit that students must pay after selecting their housing. OHRL instituted this to make students commit to living on- or off-campus.  They will credit the deposit back to students’ accounts in October, Frank said.

Last year, the OHRL website crashed during housing selection. In order to reduce traffic, selection this year will be staggered so that students will be given a widow of time to select their housing. Group applicants will choose a leader to login and choose their housing. The OHRL website will also feature a new tool called Room Locator, which will allow students to see which rooms they can select as they become available, said Myra Gibson, housing services coordinator at Eisenhower, at a Housing Selection Forum Thursday.

The additional 600 beds that will come from the opening of the Whitetop and Rogers dorms next could make up for the 500 or so people who apply but are not guaranteed housing. It will also mean more choices for upperclassmen that are the last to select housing.

“This is the year to do that change,” Frank said. “Because if we do it any other year more people will end up on the wait