Students contemplate housing options

Student apartments at Cary and Belvidere are located just steps away from Monroe Park and VCU academic buildings. Photo by Lily Doshi

Selna Shi, Contributing Writer

It’s that time of the year again: VCU students are looking for places to live next year.

Olivia Carlton, a freshman living in Brandt Hall, is planning to live on campus in Ackell Hall next year.

“COVID prevented many social interactions in the dorms this year,” Carlton said. “So I want to live on campus again for a more normal dorm experience and also to be around other VCU students.”

The second wave for filling out the upperclassman housing application opened April 5 and closes toward the end of June on a rolling basis. The first wave of applications that opened in February was for returning on-campus students. The second wave is open for transfers, returning students who missed the first wave and VCU students who want to live on campus next year. 

Students are required to fill out two housing options on the application. There is a $250 deposit fee, however, returning students who have previously lived on campus are able to waive the fee. 

On-campus options for upperclassmen include Ackell, Broad and Belvidere, Cary and Belvidere, Grace and Broad, West Grace South and West Grace North. All upperclassman housing options offer 12-month leases, except Cary and Belvidere and West Grace South, which provide nine-month leases. Ackell, Cary and Belvidere, West Grace North, West Grace South, and Broad and Belvidere offer two to four-bedroom units. 

According to VCU’s 2021-22 upperclassman housing rates website, the price for two-bedroom units range between $8,030 and $10,537; for four bedrooms, the price is between $8,290 and $9,148; and for three bedrooms the price is $9,524. If a student wants to live alone, Broad and Belvidere and West Grace North offer one-bedroom units with the price of $11,776. 

VCU’s Student Affairs Director of Communications Matthew Lovisa estimated there will be around 6,000 students living on campus in the upcoming school year. Virtual tours of residence halls are available at housing.vcu.edu/#virtualtour, Lovisa said.

Unlike Carlton, Lucas Hasenfus, a freshman currently living in Brandt Hall, is moving into an off-campus apartment.

The residential Grove Street connects to VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. Photo by Lily Doshi

“Living in the dorms is fun, but it also comes with disadvantages like specific rules,” Hasenfus said. “Living off campus will give me the feel of adulthood, responsibility and freedom.”

VCU has an off-campus website with recommended housing options close to Monroe Park campus, such as The Square, Marshall Park Townhomes and Pine Court Apartments. The Square is located above Panda Express on West Grace Street, Marshall Park Townhomes is behind the Broad and Belvidere on-campus housing, and Pine Court Apartments is behind Gladding Residence Center. 

The Marshall Townhomes currently only leases one and four-bedroom units, with pricing typically running between $525 to $735 per month, depending on the type of unit and the floor plan. 

The off-campus website also provides resources and information for first-time renters on signing leases, budgeting and putting down deposits. There is also a link on the website for students who are seeking roommates.

Students planning to live off-campus should take advantage of Off-Campus Student Services Leasing Workshops held Mondays at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays at 8 p.m,” Lovisa said. “These Zoom seminars teach first time renters the steps associated with leasing.”

Hasenfus said he found his future roommates through meeting people in dorms, but Carlton went random for her on-campus roommate selection. 

Many students look for roommates on the VCU off-campus Facebook group or on the VCU subreddit

Sophia Bower, a freshman currently living in Brandt Hall, is planning on living in a five-bedroom, off-campus residence next year. 

“I’m going to live with my current roommate and suitemate next year and we also met these two girls through social media,” Bower said. “We are currently still trying to find housing though.”

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