JUNE 10: Housing Update

I hope you all know how seriously we take our partnership with both students and their parents/families.  The reason we spend so much time reading and responding to Facebook posts and individual emails is because we value your input—and we know that the more information we have, the better our decisions are.  And no decisions are more important to us than those designed to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

With that in mind, let me share a couple of updates to our fall housing plans that will reflect the input we have heard.

First, let me be clear:  we are committed to following the current CDC and American College Health Association guidelines related to reducing the density of students living in housing.  We still believe that, for the coming year, having students occupying private bedrooms will help us better manage the presence of the coronavirus on our campus—and managing the virus is essential to our ability to keep the campus open for classes in our classroom buildings and labs.

Secondly, we remain committed to our belief that new students leaving home for the first time are the students who tend most to need the additional structure and staffing of on-campus living, so those students will be our first priority for the limited number of single/private rooms available.  We believe we can house all freshmen who had already received a housing assignment, and we will be moving forward with these freshmen as the first to receive new single/private room assignments, if they choose to select to live on campus in a single room for the fall.  Remember that a reactivation request for incoming freshmen will open in the MT Housing Portal on Monday, June 15.  Students must submit a reactivation request and signed addendum if they wish to be placed in single/private accommodation for 2020-2021

However, we have clearly heard that the additional charges related to private rooms are more than many students and families can afford.  To eliminate this barrier, students who submit a reactivation request through the MT Housing Portal to be reassigned to a single room will be charged the regular shared room rate.  There will be no additional charge added for the single room.

Related to that issue, we are also clearly hearing the concern from upper-class students who initially DID select a private room in one of the residence halls (not including Womack Lane or Scarlett Commons apartments.) In response to your feedback, we will allow these upper-class students to be prioritized to maintain their current private room reservations.  More information about how these students will enter the portal and sign the reactivation agreement for fall will be provided in the coming days, but these students will be assured a space on campus if they notify us of that desire by the required date.

Finally, we are aware of 15 students currently assigned to the residence halls who have filed intent to graduate forms for a December 2020 graduation.  Given the difficulty in finding a short term off campus lease, we will prioritize these 15 graduating seniors for assignment if they indicate that they wish to continue to live on campus for fall 2020 in a single room.   More information about the process for these students will be provided in the coming days, but these students will be assured a space on campus if they notify us of that desire by the required date.

I hope you know how much we value your input, and that we carefully consider all of your feedback, even though our primary commitment to student health doesn’t allow us to completely reverse the decisions made to move to private/single rooms for all on campus students.  We do expect to receive some number of housing cancellations as students continue to assess their housing choices for fall.  As previously discussed, we will be prioritizing out-of-state students to receive assignments from those cancellations as they are received.  We will do our very best to notify students of assignments just as quickly as we are able.

We understand that the decision to move to private/single rooms presents a considerable challenge to the students and families that are impacted, and we appreciate your input that has allowed us to fine-tune the plan.   

- Vice President Deb Sells (Debra.Sells@mtsu.edu)