SHU does not guarantee housing, even for first year students.
“Housing is not guaranteed. However, Seton Hall will set aside 1,200 beds for new students. We encourage all incoming students to pay the housing deposit of $375 by May 1, if not sooner.” https://www13.shu.edu/offices/housing-residence-life/housing-application.cfm
That means that many students will begin looking for off campus options immediately after being accepted but certainly during their second semester on campus, so they know they have a place to live next year. If they find something they like and that is cheaper than a dorm space, they will not even apply for on campus housing for their sophomore year. Empty dorm space on campus does not mean there is not a university housing shortage, it just means that students have chosen a guaranteed place to live over a lottery.
2. SHU housing is very expensive relative to renting off campus, driving students to move off campus. Empty dorm space on campus does not mean there is a surplus of dorm space, it just means that Seton Hall is successfully driving students off campus with a price differential. Given a varied marketplace for housing, Seton Hall can easily increase or decrease demand for on-campus housing by raising or lowering the price. Demand for on-campus housing is probably more price sensitive than location sensitive.
3. Dormitories in South Orange are legal only on the Seton Hall Campus. The BOT’s attempt to bypass our zoning laws by calling off campus dorms apartments is wrong. If the BOT wants to permit off-campus dorms let them pass a resolution to this effect and request the Planning Board to study the issue, hold public hearings, and hold a vote.
4. Seton Hall’s on-campus and existing off-campus dormitories include Resident Advisors on each floor to provide supervision and assistance to the students living on that floor, and are patrolled by campus security. The cost of student supervision and security for off-campus residences is shifted to the South Orange community – the neighbors as RA’s and the Police Department as security.
5. Students can legally live off campus in South Orange, but only as boarders in private homes (maximum 3 per house), as renters in legal apartments, or in rented single family homes, if they meet the conditions of a family, which includes being a group who are together permanently or for an indefinite period of time.
6. Seton Hall has an undergraduate enrollment of 5,800 but housing for only 2,350. They prioritize housing for freshmen and for the 2016-17 academic year 80% of the freshman class, 1,200 students, lived in on-campus dorms, leaving only 1,150 beds for all the returning sophomores, juniors, and seniors. If the 1,200 freshman who live on campus as freshman need housing for all 4 years, that means there are 2,650 students living off campus. Clearly not all students who live off campus live in South Orange, though it is clearly the most convenient place for them to live. If all of these students find housing in South Orange they would represent 15% of our population and, assuming an average of 3 students sharing each housing unit, they would be occupying 16% of the 5,671 housing units in town. This competition for housing drives up prices and dramatically reduces the entry level housing stock available in South Orange for long term residents.
7. Seton Hall is actively growing their freshman class and the percentage of students who need housing. “In five out of the last six years, … we exceeded our target freshman enrollment,” the 2015-2016 “freshman class has 1,406 students… (and) represent our largest freshman classes since 1982. This year, for the first time, 40 percent of our freshmen are from outside of New Jersey. Less than a decade ago, only 20 percent were from outside of New Jersey. We have freshmen from Hawaii and over 50 freshmen from California. We have recruiters around the country. Seton Hall has a growing national reputation outside the state.” President Esteban