On-campus housing lottery evokes mixed feelings for first-year students


TPN File Photo

A housing cart in the Schenley Quadrangle.

By Anna Kuntz, For The Pitt News

Ahead of next week’s housing lottery, first-years across campus are contemplating on-campus housing options for next year. For Maya Poole, a first-year psychology major, living alone is the most important factor of any on-campus choice.

“My top choice to live next year is definitely an on-campus single either in Tower C or Brackenridge if the option is available,” Poole said. “I think that living alone next year is something that will be very beneficial for me as a person because I like to have my own space and be independent.”

From Tuesday to Thursday, rising sophomores who are guaranteed on-campus housing next year will select their rooms online at my.pitt.edu. Panther Central, the University’s dining and housing service, issued randomized lottery numbers at the beginning of the spring semester that determine when students can select their room. A lower lottery number means someone’s 15-minute selection window is earlier.  

Mya Greenfield, a first-year neuroscience major, said she’s less worried about the upcoming selection because she got a low lottery number of 83. Greenfield, who currently lives in Carlow University dorms, said she really wants to live on campus next year with her current roommate and two other friends. Her ideal location, she said, is Bouquet Gardens. 

“I was super grateful to have a low lottery number and it definitely gave me hope within the housing process,” Greenfield said. “However, I was still nervous that I would not get my top choice.”

Roommates can live together if they all have a housing guarantee and a valid lottery number, according to Pitt’s website. The roommate with the lowest lottery number can log on at the scheduled time and select a room for all of the roommates. 

Greenfield is one of about 130 Pitt first-years living at Carlow this year due to record enrollment numbers and housing demand. Greenfield said her desire to have easy access to meals influenced her housing selection process. 

“I feel that because of my technical off-campus housing this year, I am not even fully able to take advantage of my meal plan,” Greenfield said. “I love to cook, so having a kitchen was my number one priority for upperclassman housing. I felt that Bouquet was my best option, as it is on-campus but has a kitchen and does not require a meal plan.”

Poole said she found the randomized lottery system confusing because she couldn’t find much information online about how the process works. 

“I feel a little behind only because I do not think that Pitt told us much information about the procedures of selecting housing,” Poole said. “I only knew what to do through word of mouth and friends, but I do remember that there was a man in the Towers Lobby who was very helpful in answering any questions. ”

At Pitt, first-year fall-term students are guaranteed on-campus housing. This guarantee lasts for three years if the student meets all housing application and deposit deadlines. For example, this year, rising sophomores had to pay their tuition deposit before May 1, 2022 and submit their housing application and $325 deposit by February 1 to be guaranteed housing. 

On the other hand, seniors, transfer students, regional campus students, current students who live off-campus, dental hygiene students, College of General Studies students and graduate students aren’t guaranteed housing. Non-guaranteed housing selection starts in April and runs through July. It requires filling out an application and submitting a housing deposit by April 1. 

Some students, like Ruby Germack, a first-year undecided major, decided to skip the on-campus process altogether and search for housing on their own. 

“I wanted to live off campus because my friends wanted to and because I wanted increased freedom and privacy,” Germack said. “I started looking for apartments really early — around October or November — because it was said that they get taken up very fast. It was definitely stressful because a lot of apartments were either not what we were looking for or very expensive.”