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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

Housing department overbooks dorms, cites demand for low rates


The Department of Housing and Residential Life plans to build new dorms to accommodate the growing number of students on Texas State’s campus. 

With a growing student population, the Department of Housing and Residential Life at Texas State acknowledged to overbooking student housing on campus, citing it as necessary to keep rates lower.
Each semester DHRL accepts more housing contracts from incoming freshman than the department can permanently house, according to Director of DHRL Rosanna Proite. As a result, incoming freshmen who submitted late contracts have been placed in temporary housing, which range from a study room rigged to mimic a typical dorm, sharing a room with a resident assistant, or living off campus in an apartment complex.
Proite said overbooking dorm contracts is normal at public universities and is necessary for budgetary reasons.
“This is a very common practice and part of it is budget driven,” Proite said. “If I don’t overbook then I would have to charge everybody more money to start with because I have to make up that difference (for students with housing contracts who didn’t show up.) Without knowing how many people are going to show up, we still have to hire custodians, RA’s, buy toilet paper and pay the light bill.”
This summer, DHRL accepted 500 more contracts than they had permanent rooms for. One of those 500 is Madeline Sims, an incoming exercise and sports science freshman placed in temporary housing with her resident assistant.
“I thought I was coming to a roommate and make a friend,” Sims said. “My RA is nice, but we’re not the same age and there’s nothing we can do together. I would have liked to come up here and settle down. My family will have to come and help me move again.”
For those living in study rooms, former Chautauqua Hall resident assistant Alexis Markowitz said the windows are lined with paper and the room is treated as a typical dorm room, with half the space of one.
“They used the study room as a room,” Markowitz said. “They brought in a bed, a desk (and) everything that comes in a dorm room, with just half the space of a traditional room. The study room doors were glass, so we had to put black butcher paper over the door so people couldn’t see over the door. It was an inconvenience.”
The students selected for temporary housing submitted their housing contracts to DHRL late. After the submission, students had to wait until early August to hear from DHRL about their housing assignment, if they heard at all.
Victoria Caballero, advertising and mass communications freshman, was placed at the Local Downtown Apartments by DHRL as a part of a lease between Texas State and the apartments to house 40-50 overflow freshmen. For Caballero’s apartment, this includes a private room and bathroom to herself. Her three other roommates, which includes two more freshmen and a junior, have the same layout.
On campus, Lauren Maldonado, social work freshman, lives in a study room in her dorm with another freshman roommate and said she didn’t know she was placed there until she moved in. Maldonado’s room is adjacent to the common area of the dorm and she said the noise can be cumbersome, and the lack of closet and desk space can be frustrating.
Caballero, Maldonado, and other freshmen in temporary housing did not have a say in where they were temporarily housed. Caballero said Texas State did not tell her she was placed in off-campus housing or in temporary housing altogether. Instead, Caballero learned of her housing condition after her roommates contacted her to introduce themselves.
“No one called me,” Caballero said. “I found out from (my roommates). I was excited that I got my own (room and bathroom), but it’s a farther walk. I saw the study room, like a picture, and I did not want to be living in it.”
Students living at the Local pay the same rate as students living in Tower on campus and signed a year lease with the apartment, according to Caballero and her roommates. Maldonado said DHRL told her she may be moved after her first semester but nothing was guaranteed.
“The fee students in temporary housing pay is the lowest rate the DHRL has, they’re paying what everyone would pay in a traditional original hall,” Proite said. “Those students living at the Local pay a little more. And for students who are transferred to other halls for permanent housing, they’re prorated from the day they move into the new hall.”
Currently, there are 225 students assigned to temporary housing and waiting to be placed in a permanent dorm. Protie said DHRL will start canceling contracts for students who have not moved in or have not shown up by the first day of class.
“We begin to cancel contracts and then it becomes very quick depending on how many no-shows we have,” Proite said.
By the 12th class day, DHRL will know how many contracts were no-shows. At this point, if there’s still not enough room to place students in permanent housing, they will stay in their assigned temporary accommodations for the rest of the semester.
News editor Sawyer Click contributed to this story.

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  • Study rooms that are being turned into dorms for incoming freshman.

    Photo By Cameron Hubbard

  • A resident assistant helps students check in to their dorm during move-in.

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