Concerns About Upper-Class Housing Changes at CWRU

To Our Undergraduates:

We want to provide additional information and context regarding the upper-class housing changes we shared yesterday.

We appreciate that the prospect of possibly having to live off campus is unsettling for some, and regret that space constraints require that we take this step. While we cannot alleviate all of your concerns, we do want to address some of those most frequently raised.

First, however, we want to share three broad points:

  • If COVID-19 symptoms continue to remain far less severe, and positivity rates continue to decline, the university may be able to transfer some isolation spaces back to regular housing use (after extensive, medical-level cleaning);
  • We also are exploring other options to increase available on-campus housing capacity. These would not necessarily be in the north or south residential villages—nor large in number—but still quite near campus; and
  • We will be developing a hardship exception process for students unable to secure on-campus space at the conclusion of the housing lottery process. We will provide more details once it is fully developed and finalized.

With regard to more specific concerns:

Reduced Financial Aid for Those Living Off Campus

The difference in amounts is designed to reflect the actual gap in students’ expenses in the two settings. 

Each year, our staff members examine rental costs of apartments around campus—excluding those marketed as “luxury” level or beyond walking distance. These prices—based on a two bedroom with two roommates—are significantly less than on-campus housing; compared to university board charges, dining expenses are lower still.

The university’s policy is to meet the full amount of demonstrated financial need of its students. The smaller financial aid award reflects the decrease in costs for housing and food.

Safety for Those Living Off Campus

Winter incidents in Little Italy and near Glidden House have understandably increased worry about safety around and near campus. As we communicated Dec. 31, Case Western Reserve and University Circle police have increased after-dark patrols, and the university is engaging with all area law enforcement agencies and civic leaders to identify ways to increase coordination and coverage of areas close to our campus. We are particularly grateful to the Cleveland and University Circle police departments for their additional assistance.

In addition, Case Western Reserve has been closely examining all aspects of its public safety processes, equipment, and technology to ensure that we are maximizing use of existing assets and determine which may need to be updated and/or expanded. 

We will continue to update the community as these efforts continue.

Expectations of Four Years in Campus Housing

Many parents have shared that they chose Case Western Reserve in part because students can live on campus all four years. We have been proud to be able to offer that option, and had expected to continue it. But then roughly 250 more students than expected accepted our admissions offers last year.

Given that experience, we considered it imperative to plan ahead now for the likelihood of another large class this August. We hope that every student who ends up wanting to remain on campus is able to do so, but that wish may not be realistic. So we are trying to provide as much information as we can to assist in your decision-making. 

We will continue to update you as we know more.  

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs

Richard Jamieson
Vice President for Campus Services