The Division of Housing and Food Service (DHFS) is offering full-year contracts to incoming and returning students looking for the full on-campus living experience during the 2013-2014 school year.
The contracts are for a limited number of rooms in the San Jacinto Residence Hall. Previously, students could only sign dorm contracts through the fall and spring semesters.
DHFS decided to offer the new type of contract because of students who need a place to live during winter and summer breaks, when most other residential dorms are closed, said Laurie Mackey, director of administrative services for DHFS.
“People who don’t live here and can’t afford to go back home, or who have a job in Austin and have to work over the summer or for winter break” will likely benefit from the contract plan the most, Mackey said.
She said DHFS will be monitoring applications and available space to find out how many contracts can be offered.
“It’s going to depend on the interest and how much space we have, and we won’t know that until probably after May 1,” Mackey said.
Students will benefit from the new contract plan if they plan to stay in the Austin area for the full year.
Piano performance freshman Yanni Chan said she had no other choice but to stay with a friend in Houston during the winter break. With plane tickets too expensive to fly back to Macau, China, she said it would have been easier if she could have stayed on campus.
“It would be a lot better because I know people who can’t get back home and they would have to spend $35 per night,” Chan said. “If the dorms were open, we wouldn’t have to worry about money or finding places to stay.”
According to DHFS, there is an option to select a full-year contract in the 2013 housing application, but because of the limited number of rooms, not all students with this preference will be offered a full-year contract.
Mackey said that students who are not offered contracts will be offered the nine-month contract and can pay separately to live on campus in the summer if they wish.
Students who receive full-year housing contracts will move in at the same time as everyone else in August but can stay in their rooms during holidays and breaks through the fall and spring semesters.
Public relations freshman Madelynne Rodriguez recently reapplied to live in the San Jacinto Residence Hall and is hoping to receive a full-year contract.
“I feel like it makes more sense because it’s a full year,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like its overall easier and it’ll definitely take stress out of people’s lives.”