Complex Problem- Phase III

Lauren Shinske

Framed Question: How can Michigan State University change or eliminate transitional housing so freshmen are placed in permanent housing by the time they arrive on campus?

Solution: Spartans: Your Room. Your Choice.

            First, the initial deposit will be increased in order to eliminate students who are uncertain if MSU is where they will be attending school in the fall. Second, MSU will set a specific number of students they can accept at the beginning of the year and then that number of rooms will be reserved. Upperclassman then will be allowed to sign up for the remaining on-campus spaces starting in November and ending in March. Pushing back the starting date for housing will allow current students to compare their options and select future roommate(s) before feeling pressured to make a decision. Once all the remaining spaces that were not for freshman have been filled, on-campus housing will then be unavailable for upperclassman. Michigan State will allow incoming freshman to sign up for housing based on three things, paying the initial deposit, choosing an orientation date, and signing a housing contract. Once those three things are submitted and cleared freshman will have access to the liveon.msu.edu website in order to choose their room assignment. The third item that will change for on-campus housing is single rooms will no longer be available. This will allow MSU to accept the max amount of students for the amount of space they have.

S.W.O.T.:

Strengths:

  • MSU would not have to build new dorms.
  • MSU would not have to reconfigure or remodel current dorms.
  • Each resident would have a permanent space, no relocating.
  • The livon.msu.edu website already exists and already allows upperclassman to choose housing allowing freshman access should come at no cost.
  • Students who are not freshman have a lot of options for housing, moving back the sign up date will allow those students to evaluate all their options and make the best decision that works for them.

Weaknesses:

  • It is unknown how many rooms are available on campus.
  • MSU received $697,000,000 in revenue for tuition and fees for the 2012 through 2013 school year; having fewer students live on campus would hurt their revenue.
  • The amount of students MSU has admitted since 2004 has increased from 17,343 to 21,610 in 2013.
  • It is unknown how many upperclassman return to live on-campus, so it is unclear if the problem is because of the increase in the amount of freshman or if there are more upperclassman living on campus then in the past.
  • Not allowing students the option of a single room is unpractical.

Opportunities:

  • By having freshman sign up for their own housing it eliminates a mass amount of work and time the current housing staff would have to do, can work on fixing other issues.
  • Having freshman choose where they get to live will give MSU an edge over other universities who use transitional housing and assign freshmen rooms.
  • MSU could eliminate the option students currently have to choose their roommate.
  • MSU could make all halls have co-ed floors so that no rooms would be wasted due to the fact that the wings of the halls were currently separated by genders.
  • Not every room in every hall is being used. Some rooms are unusable do to different circumstances.

Threats:

  • Reports range that anywhere from 14,940 to 15,700 students lived on campus last year, no exact number can be found.
  • Dorms are closed for remodeling, causing a lack of space to be available.
  • Since 2004 the amount of applications MSU has received for undergraduate freshman has increased from 21,834 to 31,479 in 2013.
  • MSU has increased enrollment since 2010, when 7,174 students enrolled to 2012 when 8,154 students enrolled.
  • MSU is unable to predict how many students they admit will enroll in the fall.

Revised Idea:

            In order for Michigan State University to eliminate transitional housing and guarantee students a permanent room by the time they arrive on campus a new process must be implemented. First, MSU must figure out how many rooms will be available for students that year who choose to live on campus. Once that number is found, the number of freshman who lived on campus the current year will be reserved only for freshman. The remaining rooms will be available to upperclassman beginning on November 1st until March 1st. Once all the reserved upperclassman rooms are filled housing will close for that group of students. Michigan State will allow incoming freshman to sign up for housing based on three things, paying the initial deposit, choosing an orientation date, and signing a housing contract. Once those three things are submitted and cleared freshman will have access to the liveon.msu.edu website in order to choose their room assignment. Next, the initial deposit will be increased in order to eliminate students who are uncertain if MSU is where they will be attending school in the fall. The initial application fee will also be increased for students so that applications can be reviewed faster and students can receive earlier response dates. Since students will be receiving an earlier decision the initial deadline for the first deposit will also be changed from May 1st to March 1st. If more students opt to enroll than MSU has room to house, those students will be placed on a waiting list based on first come first serve. When students unroll from their housing assignments the student will be notified and will have to option to choose that space. The move in date for freshman will be made earlier to see who will actually show up to the university. Once the move in day has occurred the students who do not show up spots will be given to those left on the waiting list.

Explanation:

By having the solution have multiple steps, such as changing the cost of applications and deposits, giving freshman the freedom to choose where they will be living, and changing the deadlines so students are given more time makes this solution unique. Many universities around the country “solve” the problem of having too many freshmen to house by cramming them in rooms with others or by creating temporary housing in study lounges. This solution frees up labor for other projects, gives future college freshman responsibility and control of their future housing, and puts use of current technology.

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