Starting in the fall, University Housing will be expanding their use of StarRez software to add an additional round of room selections to deal with the high demand for on-campus housing and overcrowding associated with the first-year live-on requirement, according to Donna McGalliard, executive director of University Housing.
McGalliard said in addition to making on-campus housing assignments more efficient for students and University Housing, the department will also help students find off-campus housing that will still feel make students feel like part of the pack.
In the 2019-20 academic year, housing was so highly requested that NC State had to rent three floors in University Towers, an off-campus apartment building, according to McGalliard.
McGalliard said that Housing is currently evaluating the plan to subcontract floors from University Towers and deciding whether to subcontract again in the fall 2020 semester.
StarRez is a software program that provides roommate matching, room selection and roommate agreement resources to universities. According to McGalliard, University Housing is pushing StarRez more this year for roommate matching.
There will also be roommate matching events that University Housing will produce. Early matching and housing decisions will make the room selection process more efficient for housing, because students can find roommates without worrying if they will be rooming with strangers, according to McGalliard.
“Hopefully it will allow more students to live with their roommates of choice, as opposed to kind of how it’s been which is just kind of everybody's independently going out there finding a bed,” McGalliard said. “This way, the roommate group can match the occupancy of the room.”
StarRez also helps students find off-campus housing by allowing students to compare different apartment companies by price and amenities, McGalliard said. Housing plans to take initiative to let off-campus students know about on-campus events.
In addition to helping students find roommates easily, Housing will also have more rounds of room selections for students to ensure the best placement for as many students as possible, according to McGalliard.
A second round will take place once students who are doing a co-op, or going abroad have already withdrawn their semester applications so that more students can take the available spaces.
“This, however, will allow, just like we do in the February timeframe, for students to go in batches and pick those spaces,” McGalliard said. “So students will know earlier [if] there’s the possibility of them getting a space on campus if they don't get it in round one.”
McGalliard advised current students to start considering housing for the upcoming academic year, and make at least two backup plans. She also recommended answering roommate matching questions as honestly as possible.
Louis Hunt, senior vice provost of Enrollment Management Services, said NC State has been working to increase the amount of freshmen on campus, which went into effect with the recently implemented live-on requirement.
“[Enrollment] could have subtle increases or subtle decreases deliberately or not, but we try to keep it consistent for a period of time and we’ve done that,” Hunt said. “The class sizes we have now [were] just as large back in 2007 and 2008. We deliberately decrease the class size, to focus more on student success and getting students to move efficiently through the academic process to graduation. And then we saw the opportunity to increase it. We increased it actually more than we intended just because more students accepted.”
Hunt further said Enrollment Management Services has no plans to change the amount of prospective students accepted every year, and that the department does plan for more students accepting enrollment than predicted.