Ariel Kachuro/Assistant Photography Editor Students will now be able to register for room assignments in the spring semester, giving them more time to make decisions about housing for the 2019-20 academic year.

In an effort to give students more time to make on-campus housing decisions, Binghamton University’s Residential Life will be extending the deadline for room assignment registration for the 2019-20 academic year from October to February.

Traditionally, students have registered housing groups, selected their room assignments and signed a housing license in a matter of weeks in October. Now, students will be able to go through a two-part process: signing housing licenses, which obligates students to live in an on-campus dorm for the entire academic year, applying for learning communities and forming groups starting on Oct. 18 and finalizing room assignments by Feb. 11.

According to Paola Mignone, interim director of ResLife and University Housing, the changes to the on-campus housing process will allow students to consider their options.

“We want our students to have sufficient time to consider their housing options and make the best choice to meet their needs,” Mignone wrote in an email. “Ultimately, we believe that the benefits of living on campus are in the best interest of most students and we hope [everyone] will agree.”

Mignone also wrote that input from students and staff helped influence the decision to extend the housing deadline.

“We’re always trying to improve our process and make it as simple and convenient as possible for both students and parents,” Mignone wrote. “Through the years, some students have expressed concern about the timeline and signing up for housing in the fall. We heard these concerns and wanted to directly address them and adjusted the process to accommodate the needs of the students.”

Over the past several years, the housing process has drawn criticism from students who felt rushed by the early sign-up. Serena Tycko, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she thinks it’s a very complicated process to go through, especially as a freshman.

“I had not even gone through a full semester before deciding about where and with who I was going to live with the all of the next year,” Tycko said. “Luckily, I was, and still am, very close with my roommate and we were able to fill a suite with our other friends. Despite this, the timing of sign-ups was still intimidating.”

The new two-part registration process aims to fix the issue. ResLife will also be offering a special bonus that will help students receive an earlier time slot during the room selection period. Students who register for housing by signing the housing license between Oct. 18 and Nov. 1 will be awarded 15 ‘priority points,’ which will be added to their academic credits. These credits are used to determine the time slots for room selection in February.

“[We want] to encourage students to start thinking about their on-campus housing options early,” Mignone wrote. “These points will be given to every student who registers between those dates, so groups of students will accumulate points, [but] registering does not obligate them to continue the housing process. The number one thing we hear from students is that they want to live with their friends in the community of their choice, and we try very hard to make it possible.”

Although these changes were implemented to put students more at ease about making housing decisions, some students, such as Madeleine Slavin, a junior majoring in anthropology, still have concerns.

“What’s the point of making the actual sign-up in February, when you’re still giving priority to people who sign up this early,” Slavin said. “It’s still too early — they didn’t give us enough notice. I feel like it’s kind of pointless to move the priority stacking system to February if they’re still rewarding the people who have somehow managed to figure out where they’re going to live early on.”

Other students, like Tycko, believe this new system will be beneficial to students who need more time to consider options.

“After hearing that the process for signing up was moved much later, I was relieved,” Tycko said. “My priority was also moved down because I’m moving buildings, so I’m thankful for the possible additional priority points. Overall, I definitely prefer this process.”

For students who want to learn more about the new sign-up system and housing process, information sessions will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9 in Hinman Commons and Room 114A of the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center. An additional session will be held at 8:30 p.m. in Hillside Commons.