News Article

Grad Student Housing Policy Updates Intended to Add Flexibility and Decrease Stress

Sidney Pacific Graduate Community

December 07, 2016

Thanks to a cooperative effort between the Division of Student Life (DSL) and the Graduate Student Council (GSC), graduate students will have more flexibility when applying for campus housing, or when departing from or returning to housing for leaves of absence.

“After talking with the housing assignments staff about a few issues, my colleagues and I started devising some ways to help students who want to take leave, or who are admitted to MIT too late to take advantage of the housing allocation, essentially a lottery, that ends in May,” said Jennifer Hapgood-White, associate director of housing assignments in DSL. With Assistant Director of Graduate and Off-Campus Housing Tasha Coppett, Hapgood-White worked out a number of details and proposed the enhancements to the GSC.

“We greatly value the productive relationship the GSC maintains with the DSL,” said Sarah Shapiro, GSC housing and community affairs co-chair. “We hope that these changes will have a positive impact on the graduate community and we are looking forward to continuing to work with DSL to further improve the lives of graduate students.”

There are two enhancements. First, MIT will eliminate the 30-day advance notice requirement and lease termination fees for graduate students who are taking an approved leave of absence. “We hope this lowers a potential barrier for grad students who want to take time away from MIT for personal, academic, or professional reasons,” Hapgood-White said.

Second, an additional graduate student housing allocation will be added during the summer. “For valid reasons, some grad students miss the fall allocation’s May deadline and must wait for Housing’s waitlist process in July,” Hapgood-White said. “We get a seasonal influx of housing agreement terminations in May and June, so a third allocation allows students to take advantage of those openings for the fall.” Students who enter the third allocation will receive confirmation of their housing assignment in mid-July, much earlier than the waitlist process.

“I am especially pleased about the lowering of barriers to students taking a leave,” said Blanche Staton, interim dean for graduate education. “While we have worked together over the years to enable students to take leaves as needed, this new step will greatly facilitate the process and make students less reluctant to take time away when it may be important to do so.”

Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson praised the GSC and Housing for working together to address these important issues. “When we talk about DSL being here for students, these are the kinds of decisions that make a big difference. Helping new students find housing when they want it, or depart housing when they need to makes being a graduate student at MIT a little easier,” she said. “I’m grateful to staff and the GSC leadership for helping these enhancements become a reality.”

The changes to lease termination terms for students going on leave will take effect in fall 2017. The third housing allocation will take place during the upcoming summer.

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