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Returning IU students to move off campus with RPS living, face uncertainty



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Park on Morton, Reserve on Third and Smallwood on College will be options for students looking to live in RPS housing during the 2019-2020 school year. These apartment complexes will be open to non-freshman students. Alexa Ennis Buy Photos

The Teter Center president looked worried. 

Sophomore Caitlyn Ranieri lives in a single room in the Rabb building of Teter and helps manage the residence hall, putting on events and handling finances. It is the perfect set up for her. 

She hopes to be re-elected as president this spring.

But now, IU is accelerating the renovations of Foster and McNutt quads after students discovered mold in their rooms. This leaves the university about 2,400 beds short for the next school year. Freshmen will stay on campus, but there will no longer be enough beds for all returning students to elect to live on campus next year. 

To make up for the bed disparity, IU will operate parts of three local apartment complexes next year, said Jocelyn Maul, assistant director for Housing Assignments, at a January RPS presentation. The 1,085 IU-run beds in these apartments will house returning IU students. 

Ranieri doesn’t know where she is going to live, and this off-campus option only creates more confusion.

She has an RPS contract, so she will definitely get a spot in one of those off-campus apartments. But she must fill out an online preference form requesting one of those apartments by Feb. 15 or her spot will be given to someone on the waitlist.

If she is re-elected, she will be able to stay on campus. If she’s not, she’ll have to move off-campus. But she won’t know the election results until March or April, and that online preference form is due Feb. 15.

Conflicting deadlines snatched her housing security. There’s no right decision.

“Put down what you think is best,” Ranieri said she was told.

***

About 100 students munched on pretzels and potato chips Jan. 23 at RPS’s last returning student living options meeting in Teter. Some took notes while others recorded the presentation on their phones. Some murmured to each other.

“The goal is to replicate community living,” said  Maul.

Of IU’s 24 residence halls and apartments, only a few will allow non-freshmen to live on campus next year. The rest of the returning students will be placed in the 1,085 beds IU will run in the Park on Morton, Smallwood on College and Reserve on Third.

The three complexes offer 369 one-person to four-person apartments and will function like on-campus living, complete with residential assistants and support staff. 

The IU-run apartments include utilities, cable, WiFi and parking, and rent will be billed through the bursar, Executive Director of RPS Patrick Connor said at the January meeting.

Roommate assignments completed last semester can no longer be honored, but Maul said she and her team are taking new roommate requests through an online preference form.

The 1,085 students who requested to renew their RPS contracts last fall have until Feb. 15 to accept a contract for one of the apartment complexes by filling out the online preference form. These students can also cancel their contracts with no breakage fees. About 500 students have already accepted, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said.

After Feb. 15, IU will reach out to the 942 students on the waitlist to fill the rest of their spots, Connor said. 

Room assignments will be made as people fill out the online preference form, and the majority of placements will be shared as soon as the week after the online preference form's Feb. 15 due date, Carney said. He said the students on the waitlist will know their housing status by March 1.

***

Freshman Nick McCoy went to the January presentation and said he hopes to live with RPS next year.

He is one of the 942 students on the waitlist for RPS living. 

“It’s really confusing,” McCoy said.

He said he hopes he’ll get a spot.

***

The IU Board of Trustees announced Friday the rates for the three university-run apartments next school year.

Students who live in one of these apartments will get both priority housing and a 10 percent discount for on-campus living the year after next.

At the Jan. 23 presentation, Connor said he thought there would be less interest in this RPS-run off-campus living option.  He said he would look into obtaining more beds if necessary after the Feb. 15 preference forms are due.

The goal is to accommodate everyone, Carney said in a later interview.

“These things are always fluid," he said.

As the slideshow ended around 8 p.m., the presenters asked if anyone had questions. Hands flew up. 

***

Ranieri, the Teter Center president, said she will probably accept one of the off-campus apartments through RPS, probably at Park on Morton, but still run for Teter Center president.

Although it will be confusing later this semester if she's re-elected and winds up living on-campus, she doesn’t want to be left without a place to live.

She said she'll figure it out as it the semester goes on. 


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