UCF students await Phase 2 housing lottery results with uncertainty

by

Unfair. Doesn’t work.

That’s how Hayley Remson, a UCF sophomore film major, describes the UCF returning student housing lottery process.

Last used in 2013, the lottery is a housing system that randomly selects returning students for on-campus housing in order to accommodate first-year students, UCF spokesman Mark Schlueb said. 

The process has two phases. Phase 1 is the selection of 1,513 returning students based on room availability. Phase 2 gives students who were not chosen during Phase 1 an opportunity to remain in the lottery and receive a room based on cancellations.

Results for Phase 1 were released Jan. 31, and Remson was not chosen. She said the lottery is unfair because students aren’t aware of how many people are selected.

Assistant Director for Media Relations Heather Smith said that there were 1,513 available rooms to offer returning residents during phase 1. There were 2,773 returning students who applied for the lottery, Smith said, which leaves 1,260 students without housing. 

UCF is growing in popularity and in numbers, which makes the availability of on-campus housing a major concern for some students.

UCF’s student enrollment increased by about 5 percent in two years. According to UCF’s website, enrollment climbed from 63,002 students in fall of 2015 to 66,180 in fall of 2017.

Even though two housing communities were built in 2013 — NorthView and Neptune — space is limited and freshmen need to be accommodated first, Schlueb said. 

Remson, who applied for Towers at Knights Plaza, said she hopes to receive Phase 2 confirmation. Phase 2 is broken down into two options: remain in the lottery for preferred housing and receive a room based on cancellations or remain in the lottery for first-available housing anywhere on campus.

Phase 2 confirmations will be announced as space becomes available during the remainder of the spring semester and into the first week of the fall semester, according to UCF’s Housing and Residence Life website

While some students plan to wait for Phase 2 results, others believe the lottery helped them make a move.

“I’m planning to move off campus,” Marie Gibbs, a UCF sophomore nursing major, said. “I’ve already signed the lease. I will never apply for on-campus housing again.”

Gibbs said she signed a lease for the fall with The Pointe at Central, a university-affiliated apartment complex. 

Both Gibbs and Remson believe the lottery will be more problematic in the future.

“I feel like it’s just going to make everybody move off campus honestly, and they’re going to … lose money really,” Gibbs said.

Under the lottery process, returning students are required to deposit a down payment with their application. Though the deposits are refundable if students cancel their application or do not receive housing. 

Deposits vary depending on preferred housing assignment. The down payment for Nike or Hercules at the Academic Village for a two-semester agreement is $100, according to the UCF Housing and Residence Life website. The down payment is $250 for Towers at Knights Plaza or NorthView, which are three-semester agreements. 

The housing lottery was new to Remson. She’s been at UCF for the past two years when the university offered on-campus housing on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Remson said students who have been on-campus residents for years were not taken into consideration when the housing lottery was started up again. Communication between residents and housing officials is scarce, Remson said. 

“They’re really vague about things,” Remson said. “All their emails are filled with fluff … You might find out you got confirmed a week before school starts.”

It’s been more than two months since Phase 1 results were released. Remson said she still hasn’t heard from UCF Housing and Residence Life. The waiting and lack of communication made her consider withdrawing from the lottery, she said.

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising,” Remson said.