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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

In preparation for next year, on-campus housing limited to freshmen

freshmen+only
freshmen only

Last semester, Texas State welcomed a record-setting number of freshmen enrolled in the university. This feat caused unprecedented issues in the Department of Housing and Residential Life (DHRL). Some freshmen living on campus had their double rooms transformed into triples while others had to stay in a hotel miles away from campus.
On Dec. 12 DHRL sent an email to students stating that with another expected rise in freshman enrollment for fall 2023, there will be not enough space for anyone else in the dorms. This means that all non-freshman students will need to find off-campus housing.
“We anticipate the demand for first-year student housing will fill all available housing assignments,” Bill Mattera, executive director of Housing and Residential Life, said. “So we notified returning students as soon as possible that our demand would likely exceed the ability to offer them spaces.”
Mattera said that the decision is based on the current number of applications, demand and capacity which does not support non-freshmen being able to live on-campus next year.
“We make our decisions based on applications, anticipated demand and available bed capacity,” Mattera said. “As we work with our university partners in admissions, it is clear that the beds currently held by returning students will be needed to accommodate the first-year class anticipated for fall 2023.”
This notification raised concerns in students who may not be able to afford to pay for off-campus living next semester.
“I was upset because […] considering my financial situation, I don’t think I’ll be able to have an apartment, so where am I going to live?” Khyna De Ungria, a dance freshman, said.
In the past, the university used a lottery system to give returning students a chance to live on campus again. According to Mattera, the lottery system will not be in effect this spring since the inventory is not there.
The lack of inventory is what caused students to live with more people than they anticipated and what placed students in hotels last semester. De Ungria wishes there was an enrollment cutoff so that there would be spots for upperclassmen who rely on financial aid.
“They could have had a set number of people that they accept so that they don’t have to go over on housing,” De Ungria said. “Some people struggle financially and, at least for me, need financial aid which may not be enough to cover the apartment.”
There is hope for the future with the possibility of returning students being able to live on campus again with the construction of the Hilltop Housing Complex, which is anticipated to open in the fall of 2024.
“Our hope is that when the Hilltop residence halls open in fall 2024 we will be able to offer our on-campus inventory to returning students again,” Mattera said.
As it gets closer to the fall semester, off-campus apartment complexes raise their rates meaning the earlier someone signs a lease, the more likely they are to get a spot with a cheaper rate.
“I saw the prices of multiple apartments go up and up within weeks,” Greg Ordonez, a communications junior, said. “I was shocked to see how some apartments are already near capacity for next year.”
Mattera said the email was sent out in December to give returning students all of the spring semester to look for off-campus housing if they have not already.
“Traditionally, properties located closer to campus fill up faster than those a bit farther away. As students prioritize what’s important to them, availability will always be better the sooner they can start looking,” Mattera said.
Apartment hunting is not easy for every student to accomplish. For some, it was difficult to find a place to start and others are venturing into the experience for the very first time.
“To be honest, as an 18-year-old not knowing how to go about apartment hunting, I did the best I could,” Ordonez said. “By researching what I can on the internet and getting opinions from upperclassmen and word of mouth.”
Students feared that there would not be enough time to find a decent apartment.
“I was a bit worried because I kept hearing that apartments were filling up and that I’d not find one that I like,” Dylan Hindberg, an accounting freshman, said. “But eventually it worked out and I found one.”
To combat this, DHRL offers off-campus living assistance for students who have questions or are struggling with off-campus living.
“The Off-Campus Living Unit within our department is a great resource for students who are looking for assistance in finding housing,” Mattera said. “We host an off-campus housing marketplace where students can shop complexes and utilize a budget calculator to make good decisions for themselves financially.”
The Off-Campus Living Expo is on Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LBJ Grand Ballroom. The event will connect students to off-campus apartments and allow them to figure out which apartment is right for them.
Texas State also has the Attorney for Students located on the fifth floor of the LBJ Student Center to provide guidance on apartment hunting and renting laws.

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