Offices of Admission, Student Life change housing selection process

Written By Dara Collins, Editor-in-Chief

The housing selection process is changing for the Fall 2020 incoming class as well as current students interested in campus housing next year, according to Dean of Student Life Michael Gieseke.

New students are asked to pay a one-time maintenance fee of $250 rather than the previous combined down payment and security deposit of $400. Returners are to fill out the housing contract as well as provide a $100 down payment.

Gieseke said the conversation started with how the university admitted students, and the change is based off of student and family feedback to the Office of Admission.

When a student was admitted to Point Park, the initial payment between the Office of Admission and Office of Student Life totaled $750.

“Admissions and Housing have been working together the past few years to benchmark our new and returning students deposits policies against other universities,” Director of Admissions Joell Minford said. “While doing this, we concluded that our request of $750 for new incoming students living on campus was a bit high. The admission deposit was reduced by $50, and the housing deposit process was changed to mirror what is a more common practice at universities.”

The $250 payment required by new students is non-refundable and not included on the student’s room and board for the upcoming semester.

“That sustains the length of however long the student stays on campus,” Gieseke said. “The longer they stay within housing, in all fairness, the more that $250 goes toward them. It’s basically normal wear and tear is what it is over the longevity of a student being here.”

As for returning students, the new $100 down payment is to show the university serious interest in campus housing.

“The idea is that you truly see this as an option, not as a backup,” Gieseke said.

The $100 is included in the following year’s room and board, not an additional cost. If the student does not owe the university anything due to excess scholarships, grants or other means, the student will receive a $100 credit.

According to Gieseke, students filled out housing contracts and searched for off-campus living arrangements in years past.

“Over the years, students will play all games,” Gieseke said. “I’ll go through housing selection, and I’ll see what apartments are available in the city, and whichever works out better for me, I’ll do it.”

Although students will now pay for a portion of housing when they fill out the contract, they are still able to terminate the contract before May 1 and receive their money back. After May 1, the student will not receive a return of the down payment.

Returners who paid the $400 when they enrolled in the university will receive the security deposit portion when they move out.

“We are keeping the $400 in perpetuity until you move out,” Gieseke said. “If you fail to live up to your agreement, you move out early, you sign up for housing next year and you don’t move in, you lose the deposit piece of it. You still keep the security piece of it, but you lose the deposit piece. From here forward, that doesn’t exist.”

The rest of the housing selection process remains the same. Returning students must fill out the housing contract by March 13, and provide the $100 down payment to be considered for housing selection come March 30.

As the contract due date approaches this Friday, current sophomore Deenna Richmond criticized the timing of the announcement of housing selection changes.

“They kind of told us out of the blue,” Richmond said of when the university told them the week they returned from spring break. “They’re like, ‘You need this by next week,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Where am I supposed to pull $100 from?’”

Richmond wished the students would have been told this was the university’s plan rather than being informed as the housing contract was sent out.

March 30 is the first day of housing selection. Seniors are placed first, then juniors and sophomores, respectively. However, seniors and juniors can live together, so upperclassmen may be mixed when selecting housing.

Seniors and juniors generally live in Boulevard Apartments, which hold four or six students. They may request a suite if they choose to not live in an apartment.

Sophomores generally live in the suites. Overflow students or students who prefer dorm-style living are placed in Lawrence Hall.

“It really is a first come first served, so the sooner you turn in your contract and the sooner you give us your deposit, the more likely you will get the room you’re asking for,” Gieseke said.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the residence hall rates per year increased from last year. (Please refer to graphic for 2020-21 costs)