Juniors counting on living off campus when they return from studying abroad in the spring could be in for a rude awakening.

The number of juniors allowed to live off campus this spring will be considerably lower than last year, Residence Life and Housing Services officials said. An unprecedented number of seniors will be living off campus, leaving more beds available on campus for returning juniors.

Duke requires students to live on campus for three years. In addition to seniors, some juniors returning from abroad who submit applications to RLHS are allowed to move out of campus housing.

RLHS said 1,056 seniors have chosen to live off-campus this year, up from 871 last year. The jump represents the biggest off-campus migration in recent memory.

Though Manager of Housing Administration Donald Love could not pinpoint the reason why so many seniors are leaving, he noted that new apartment complexes like Station Nine and Partner’s Place have created “a lot more apartment space closer to campus.” He also mentioned the quad model—the system that governs on-campus housing—and the release of more juniors in last year’s housing lottery as possible explanations.

“Either way, fewer seniors living on campus means we release fewer juniors to live off-campus,” Love said.

A lack of available on-campus housing prompted RLHS to institute a housing lottery last spring that released about 220 juniors—nearly all that applied—from on-campus housing requirement.

Although Love was unsure of the specific numbers at this point, he speculated that if the same number of juniors apply this year, only about one-half to two-thirds will be released.

The news is shocking for many juniors who anticipate moving off campus in the spring. Melissa Furlong made plans months ago to live off campus with six friends when she returns from studying abroad.

“If they make us live on campus when we get back, they’ll probably stick us in Edens [Quadrangle], which is like punishing us for going abroad,” she said. “The three-year housing monopoly should be illegal.”

Adding to Furlong’s frustration is the fact that RLHS cannot guarantee that students returning from abroad will get their preferred roommates, a point Love emphasized.

Love also advised that juniors interested in living off-campus second semester be prepared to live on campus if their applications are denied.

If students are already paying deposits on apartments, they should make sure they are refundable and insist on written confirmation, he added. “Above all, be flexible and don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” Love said.