Eighty additional beds in the four-story University Village complex will become available to undergraduate students this coming fall semester, as University of Miami administrators announced this week that graduate students will no longer be able to apply for housing there.
At a monthly roundtable meeting on Wednesday, Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, said the change was made because of the overwhelming demand among undergraduate students for on-campus housing.
“Graduate students are more capable of living off-campus,” Whitely said.
Whitely suggested that graduate students looking for housing should check the UM Web site for off-campus housing options.
“There’s plenty of off-campus housing and we wouldn’t do this if today’s market wasn’t soft,” Whitely said, adding that UM’s Web site offers an off-campus housing database, which includes listings in close proximity to the university.
Housing in the University Village for graduate and law students has always been restricted to 80 beds out of the 800 in the residential community. Graduate students will no longer have access to those apartments after July 31.
However, some graduate students say that off-campus housing will not fit in their budget. Stephen Lazer, a Graduate Student Association representative, told Whitely at the roundtable meeting that graduates feel they’re being treated unfairly.
Lazer said that housing for graduate students has been “one of UM’s selling points” because of the high cost of renting an apartment in South Florida. A one-bedroom apartment in the Red Road Commons, located within walking distance of the university at 6600 SW 57th Ave., rents for about $1,600 per month.
“Graduate students had somewhat of an expectation for housing, and we feel like this expectation has not been met,” Lazer said.
The University Village is UM’s newest residential community and the apartments have been in high demand since construction was completed in 2006. The seven-building complex on seven acres on the outskirts of the Coral Gables campus was originally designated for 800 upperclassmen and graduate students. The property is bounded by Red Road, with buildings on San Amaro Drive and Brescia and Mataro avenues.
The complex’s popularity can be attributed to its option of apartment-style living, as opposed to a typical dormitory atmosphere, within walking distance from classes. Students pay between $4,000 and $7,000 in rent per semester, and they can use financial aid and student loans to pay the rent.
Will Thompson, a first-year graduate student in business administration, was planning on living in the University Village next fall but will be looking for other options.
“I plan on finding alternative housing, maybe in Brickell or the Gables,” he said.