As about 3,700 new first year students enrolled at The University of Tampa, many were surprised to find that they did not receive campus housing.
As the university exponentially grows, it is hard to prepare for an excess amount of students eager to live on campus.
ResLife made it clear on their website that they “cannot guarantee on-campus housing for all students,” though they try to accommodate everyone to the best of their ability. They also state, the sooner the student fills out their application to live at UT, the better chance it is to secure a spot in a residence hall.
According to Nora Jarmon, the director of residence life, a drawback in this is the first come first serve system. New students may not get a chance to live on campus due to the recent high capacity of enrollments.
Amy Greene, the associate director of housing operations for residence life said that there are many reasons why enrollment has increased.
According to Greene, many students who deferred enrollment for the 2020-2021 year are now coming back. UT is also going back to face-to-face learning with masks on.
Additionally, UT is also a test optional school for the SAT and ACT which makes it appealing to students. Lastly, UT and the city of Tampa is growing. UT is launching some new academic programs and facilities while the city of Tampa continues to grow
The earlier a student applies for housing, the more likely they are to have a spot for living on campus.
For example, students may get their acceptance from UT and decide immediately that they will attend. Others will wait to hear from other schools and won’t decide until the last minute.
Not only that, but students getting off of the waitlist can also face these challenges because they might not get the early chances other students may be getting.
While ResLife handles the situation, students have waited patiently to be placed in a room or have deferred their enrollment.
Kendall Lucas, an incoming first year student, applied to live in a resident hall on campus, and got placed at the Barrymore Hotel.
The Barrymore is a little more than a mile away from campus, and a shuttle will go to and from it to campus everyday until around midnight.
Lucas is keeping an open mind about the Barrymore Hotel.
“I may end up really enjoying it,” said Lucas.
In the 2020-2021 school year, The Barrymore was a space where students would quarantine due to having COVID-19 or being exposed. Now, its purpose has shifted back to housing. In fact, there are 12 floors and 22 resident assistants awaiting new first year students. As for the COVID-19 quarantining spaces, students will either stay in their own room, move to the Barrymore Hotel, or Urso Hall.
The concern that the Barrymore Hotel is far away is not the only thing that Lucas was upset about while choosing where to live. Many students, after they found out they could not receive on-campus housing, were looking for apartments.
“I looked at The Henry, which is very expensive and already booked up the first night that many freshmen got the email saying we couldn’t have dorms,” said Lucas. “Then, we got an email that was very relieving, offering those who secured an apartment in the Tampa area $2,000 to help lower the cost of an expensive apartment.”
Other students had to decide whether they wanted to wait for the lucky emails dictating whether they could live in Tampa or if they needed to look at other options.
Sarah Kopecky enrolled for her first year as a college student at UT. However, she did not get housing right away.
Kopecky was offered housing less than 24 hours before the deadline to decide or defer.
“It was really difficult to decide between that and the gap year I was already planning,” said Kopecky.
UT also offered students who did not receive housing a small scholarship in exchange for deferring their enrollment for a year, potentially making gap years more appealing for some students such as Kopecky.
Further information on UT’s housing policy can be found on the “Off-Campus Housing FAQ” page on the UT website.