Freshmen, sophomores struggle to get on-campus housing

With more students entering campus for the first time, there was a higher demand for on-campus housing

People walk outside University Gateway near campus.

With freshmen and sophomore students coming to campus for the first time this fall semester, securing on-campus housing was complicated.

Due to the pandemic and the popularity of on-campus housing, rising sophomores participated in a lottery system, according to Director of USC Housing Chris Ponsiglione in an email to Annenberg Media. Ponsiglione said selection times for housing were generated by a random lottery created by the Housing Assignments Database system. Since the last time students were on campus during the 2019-20 school year, sophomore assignments increased by 15%.

Housing assignments are made on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the USC Housing website. USC Housing stressed the importance of applying early to ensure being assigned to your preferred housing choice. And while some students might have gotten their first choice for on-campus housing, others were required to begin their in-person USC experience from off-campus.

Though not first-year students, sophomores entered USC for the first time in-person. Sophomore business administration major Andrew Shutts described his disappointment in the process. “I got the last time on the last day,” Shutts said. “So every housing spot I wanted was basically taken and I was forced to live at Gateway.”

This school year, USC Housing leased 175 apartments at University Gateway Apartments, which is off-campus. “To provide additional capacity for the second-year students, USC Housing leased space at University Gateway Apartments to ensure that we were able to offer space through USC Housing to all incoming freshman and sophomores,” Ponsiglione said.

“It was kind of a crazy process,” said sophomore Kaelyn Moses, a global health major living in the USC Village. “Honestly, the housing application was really confusing.”

Although many students said they are displeased with their housing assignment, others are satisfied with their placement. Freshman Karla Vainer said she is happy with her dorm in New North and had no issues with her housing. “It’s way nicer than I expected,” Vainer said.

The pandemic also prevented students from visiting their future apartments prior to moving in.

Victoria de Cardenas, sophomore majoring in environmental science, said she struggled with finding a housing option online and wished she could have been given more than one option.

“I was able to look at the layout of the apartment online. But other than that, there really wasn’t a guide,” de Cardenas said. “I don’t think you could really tour it or anything. So it was like you’re stuck with whatever you’re stuck with.”