On May 18, Carolina Housing announced that it would lower the on-campus housing contract cancellation penalty until May 31 to incentivize off-campus living for returning students.
The penalty has been lowered to $300, which was the cancellation fee before March 31.
Originally, the cancellation fee between April 1 and July 31 was 50 percent of the fall semester rent, which would total around $1,840 for a standard double occupancy room.
Students who applied for on-campus housing the following year received an email with the temporary policy changes. The email also said students interested in canceling their on-campus housing contract for the reduced penalty must submit a cancellation request via the MyHousing Portal by 5 p.m. on May 30.
The email sent to students did not specify the reason for the reduced fee. In January, more than 600 students were on the waitlist for on-campus housing.
Junior Suzanne Tyler said she was a bit offended by the implications of the email.
"It was clear that they decided to do that not to help students, but because they had made mistakes on their end," Tyler said. "So it was just that we're benefiting from something that they did."
Executive Director of Carolina Housing Allan Blattner said that the organization lowered the cancellation penalty back down to $300 because on-campus housing is "very popular and very full." He said on-campus living at UNC is more popular than it’s been in the past 10 years.
“We’ve seen a higher number of returning students that wanted to live with us,” Blattner said. “We’re just seeing our numbers begin to hit that point where we wanted to take this step to make sure that — I would much rather house a student that wants to live with us than someone who feels forced to live with us because the cancellation penalty is too high.”