University Residences to implement lottery system for housing renewals

University Residences at Western Washington University is moving away from the first-come, first-served model of granting student renewal housing. That model, implemented five years ago, no longer fits University Residences values of fair and simple, according to a statement.

The full explanation:

Campus residents are getting ready for housing renewal, the process for current residents to sign up for on campus housing next year.

This year, instead of a first-come first-served sign up process, residents hoping to live on campus next year can apply for housing any time from March 9 through April 8. University Residences will use a lottery to determine the eligible pool and waitlist. Eight hundred renewal applicants will be randomly drawn for the eligible pool and be given a room-selection time; the remaining applicants will be randomly ordered on the waitlist. Historically, most students on the waitlist will be offered housing by Aug. 1.

Why use a lottery? Five years ago we started putting a limit on our returning occupancy and we were committed to a first-come-first-serve philosophy. With the advancement of technology and high number of renewal applicants at the ready, first-come-first-serve has not lived up to our values of fair and simple. When 1,200 students logged into the system to apply on time, and there were only 800 spots, 400 students were confused about being on the waitlist even though they did everything correctly and on time.

By using a lottery to fill the eligible pool and waitlist, we simplify the process, ensure fairness among renewers, and reduce stress levels for students, parents and staff. At the end of renewal, we will assess our results and outcomes. For more information, see how the lottery works at the Housing website.

Lottery results will be posted in the MyHousing status site by the end of the day on Friday, April 10.