ASA gathers student response
In response to student concerns surrounding housing selection, the ASA co-curriculum committee conducted a survey aimed at evaluating reaction to the room selection process and gathering feedback for suggested improvements.
“We wanted to gauge the feelings, satisfaction and perception of students immediately following housing selection day,” ASA co-curriculum chair Emily Grandprey said.
Of the 144 respondents, the majority of whom were current sophomores, 61 percent felt prepared going into the housing selection. The survey also showed that 54 percent of respondents thought housing information easy to find prior to selection day.
The central student concern that arose from the survey results was a clear desire for a wider
variety of housing options.
Director of residence life Corey Kopp pointed to the college’s new strategic plan that calls for a dramatic increase in enrollment by 2019. The plan outlines a significant assessment of all student housing, Kopp said, including renovation of current buildings and construction of new housing.
“The plan itself is going to necessitate conversations about our residency requirement [which is currently three years] and what housing options will be available to students,” Kopp said.
In comparison with the “Private 25” – 25 upper Midwest private colleges – Augustana was ranked 22nd out of the 25 institutions on the price of a double room in a residence hall for the 2013-2014 academic year.
This means Augustana charged over $1,000 less on housing than a vast majority of private Midwest colleges.
Ten of the “Private 25” schools have a four-year on-campus residency requirement.
Moreover, Augustana has decided to freeze its housing prices for the next academic year, according to Grandprey.
“With the implementation of the college’s strategic plan, we expect that housing options will look different,” Titze said.
Grandprey said she hoped that students realize that although the housing selection process may be frustrating, Augustana does have a wider variety of housing options compared to other colleges in the Midwest.
Titze said she believed the frustration mostly stemmed from processes other than on-campus housing selection, pointing to off-campus housing approvals in particular.
“There were frustrations about a perceived lack of single rooms and apartments,” Titze said, “but those are not new concerns within the housing selection process.”
Both Grandprey and Titze reiterated that residence life is aware that the majority of Augustana housing options are in residence halls, and that many rising juniors are eager for a new experience.
In light of the survey results, ASA and residence life are planning on collaborating on a new survey that will be sent out to students this fall to gauge student satisfaction with their housing arrangements.
“[This survey] was a really good start for opening lines of communication and a chance for students to actually voice opinions in a constructive way—not on Twitter,” Grandprey said.
The off-campus approval process will also be under evaluation during the next year due to student feedback on the subject.
“As frustrating as this process may seem, Augie does have some great options,” Grandprey said.
ASA president Matt Anderson reiterated that the student feedback from surveys is taken very seriously.
“Augustana is in an important stage right now as we look toward the future of housing as it relates to the projected growth of the student population,” he said.
“The feedback that students give Augustana now is taken into consideration as we look at expanding and renovating our facilities to offer students the best residential experience possible.”