Duke is seeing record-high interest in on-campus housing for the fall—but there might not be enough beds.
Undergraduates were offered the opportunity to be released from their on-campus housing commitment for the upcoming year in a Thursday email from Dean for Residence Life Deb LoBiondo to students. 150 beds have been added across campus, but it is possible that demand will exceed available capacity, the email read.
“This is not a request or a demand: our goal is to make space on campus for those who want to be on by releasing those who want to be off-campus,” the email read.
A few factors could be behind this shortage. First, the Class of 2025 was “100+ students larger than expected,” LoBiondo wrote in an email to The Chronicle. These students will live on West Campus and will be the first class in the QuadEx housing system.
The pandemic, which sent the Class of 2023 home in the middle of their first year, also increased the class’ desire to remain on campus this year, according to LoBiondo.
It’s possible that soaring rent in Durham played a role in the increased demand for on-campus housing, LoBiondo wrote, though she isn’t certain. She added that she doesn’t think QuadEx contributed to the shortage.
To meet the demand, 140 non first-year students will be housed in West House and Epworth dorms on East Campus. LoBiondo wrote that HRL has not confirmed who will live in those buildings.
HRL may also convert some study rooms into dorms and explore other options for the remaining 10 of 150 bed spaces, and in the event the on-campus housing shortage persists.
In May, 186 rising juniors were waitlisted for housing due to pending study abroad applications and more demand for on-campus housing. LoBiondo wrote that there are no updates about the waitlisted students at this time.
Resident assistants offered $500 to live with roommate
HRL is also offering all resident assistants on East Campus the opportunity to live with a roommate this coming year due to the housing shortage. Brandin Howard, associate dean for residence life, wrote in a Tuesday email obtained by The Chronicle to East Campus RAs that the opportunity is “strictly voluntary.”
Some West Campus RAs were also offered the option to pull in a roommate, according to a Friday email from Dani Harmston, associate dean for residence life, obtained by The Chronicle. The email was sent only to RAs "assigned to rooms that we have already determined are large enough to accommodate a roommate."
“As an incentive,” the RA would receive an extra $500 for each semester they have a roommate, according to both emails. The roommate would receive a 50% reduction of their on-campus housing costs for each semester they are rooming with the RA. The RA’s roommate must be a Duke undergraduate student.
East Campus RAs who are interested in living with a roommate must reach out to Howard by July 25. West Campus RAs who have been emailed must respond to Harmson by July 27.
Releasing on-campus housing
Students who would like to be released from their on-campus housing can fill out the release form by July 27.
Submitting the form will cancel students’ housing assignments for the 2022-23 academic year.Students who submit the form and change their mind later can reapply for housing, but “there will be no assurances housing will be available at that time.”
The Thursday email also directed students to the Off Campus & Community Housing Office for resources on finding rentals in Durham and included a Durham housing guide.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on Friday afternoon to reflect that some West Campus RAs have also been offered the option to live with a roommate.
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Katie Tan is a Trinity junior and digital strategy director of The Chronicle's 119th volume. She was previously managing editor for Volume 118.