Losing big in the Brandeis housing lottery
In light of room selection numbers for the 2023-2024 academic year being released, this board urges the University to fix the ongoing problems that exist within Brandeis as it pertains to its housing system.
Besides the various email reminders that housing applications are open, the Department of Community Living has provided little communication on how that process currently operates. This lack of transparency continues to bring confusion and frustration among students, contributing to the stress that housing selection facilitates.
Additionally, this board recognizes the existing problems for students who are currently studying abroad to participate in housing selection. As chaotic as the process already is, engaging in it abroad presents an increasingly stressful experience.
Notorious with the housing selection process is the lottery, which also presents its own problems. For those who need housing accommodations, the lottery is a frustrating experience. Despite the lottery being touted as “fair,” those who need special accommodations or any other services are sometimes at a disadvantage. Additionally, the lottery presents issues regarding plans to live with peers, as your designated number is the only determining factor of the options available for living.
Another issue of the current lottery system is its failure to take into account financial aid packages that often supplement the costs of on-campus housing. Students depend on this aid for housing, and if they receive poor numbers in the housing lottery and are pushed off campus, they lose part of the necessary benefits of their financial aid packages. We call on the University to factor financial aid packages that specifically assist in housing cost of living into the housing selection process, whether that be in the lottery or in another part of the campus housing process.
This board also continues to reiterate problems surrounding available housing options. As addressed in a previous editorial, Brandeis has increasingly accepted more students each year, which was evident in the class of 2026 being the largest in school history. This results in less housing space for upperclassmen since Brandeis guarantees housing for a student's first four consecutive semesters. Available spaces for upperclassmen diminished as well, with a new age requirement for the Foster Mods mandating residents to be at least 21 years old by September 2023. This requirement reduces the number of housing options for many upperclassmen, as the Mods are an upperclassmen living space and class year isn’t a representation of age. An increasing number of first-years also leads to crowded living conditions. Instead of shoving more first-years into a room, the appropriate solution would be to build more housing spaces. If the University doesn’t have the funds to scale up housing options to match the growing number of students, then they need to decrease the number of students they admit.
Housing inaccessibility at Brandeis and Bentley University has increasingly pushed students off their campuses, subsequently causing rent prices to spike. This trend has priced longtime residents out of the city, contributing to gentrification. In light of the increasing number of undergraduate students moving off-campus, we call on the University to create a resource for undergraduates similar to the Office of Graduate Affairs’ service, which assists graduate students seeking housing near the Brandeis campus.
Through the current structure of the housing system and the increasing admissions, there is a clear disconnect between the admissions offices and the housing needs on campus. In order to provide the best experience for students living on campus, there must be serious changes to how both admissions and DCL are operating. If both were functioning together in unison, these issues wouldn’t persist. As students of this University, we expect our needs to be taken care of promptly. Therefore, we call on the University to make the appropriate changes that provide a better experience for all those living on campus.
—Editor’s note: Editor Cameron Cushing ’23 is employed by the Department of Community Living as a community advisor. He did not contribute to or edit the parts of this article pertaining to DCL.
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