For those who come to USF as freshmen, guaranteed on-campus housing serves as a buffer between brand-new adults and the daunting San Francisco housing market. For some students, however, the price of living on campus is higher than commuting from home or living off campus their freshman year. For the fall 2018 semester, the Office of Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) has lifted the requirement that incoming freshmen live on campus and will open a transfer student-only community in Pacific Wing.
This new system of guaranteed housing, as opposed to required housing, is designed to be more flexible for students who live near campus, according to SHaRE Director Torry Brouillard-Bruce. “Moving away from a requirement to a guarantee, it gives students more opportunities and options […] some students might be able to find more affordable housing options off campus, and that might allow them to be able to afford to come to our school,” Brouillard-Bruce said.
Students who have a permanent address in the City and County of San Francisco will no longer be guaranteed housing and will be added to a waitlist. If added to this waitlist, there’s still a chance that students can get a bed. According to SHaRE, the waitlist usually contains about 800 people, and 200 are able to move into housing.
Space is also a factor in this decision. This past year, almost every first-year room was a triple, according to Brouillard-Bruce. Under this new policy, SHaRE can give priority to out-of-county students who need housing more than San Francisco natives.
Junior psychology major Katie Yisrael said the requirement can deter low-income Bay Area natives – who cannot afford to live on campus – from going to USF. “I remember meeting potential USF students before I started my freshman year and many of them said they would be able to go to USF if they were allowed to commute from nearby Bay Area cities, but many of them could not afford USF because of the mandatory on campus housing price,” Yisrael said.
USF’s position in the heart of the city contributes to the price of housing, but nearby schools San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University don’t require on-campus housing during freshman year, either. The idea behind the requirement, Bruoillard-Bruce said, is that research has shown students are more academically successful when living on campus. Brouillard-Bruce added, “The on-campus housing requirement also helps create a more residential feel on campus and provides a sense of life and vitality to a university that could only come from students living on campus.”
SHaRE also announced that the 500-bed Pacific Wing residence hall will be exclusively dedicated to transfer students.“We created the transfer community because we know that transfer students are facing something unique […] so we wanted to create a shared experience,” Brouillard-Bruce said.
Featured Photo: SHaRE hopes moving to a limited guaranteed housing policy will make attending USF easier for low-income students. HURSH KARKHANIS/FOGHORN