Updated 12/2013
What percentage of graduate students does Princeton house, and how does this compare to other institutions? Will this change under the plan?
More than 70% of eligible graduate students are currently housed at the Graduate College or in University owned rental units. Princeton remains committed throughout this 10 year housing plan to maintain housing for approximately 70% of eligible students - a number that is higher than its peer institutions.

What is the 10-year housing plan?
The University’s Housing Master Planning process was initiated in 2004, with one of its principal goals being improving the quality and condition of apartments for graduate students. The Plan seeks to enhance Princeton University's housing programs for faculty, staff, and graduate students. The plan was developed using guiding principles and following procedures that included a comprehensive set of strategies, analyzing the present and future needs of graduate students, faculty and staff. The housing plan sustains Princeton’s tradition of providing students, faculty and staff with high-quality living space in close proximity to campus. Given diminishing available land, the redevelopment and reallocation of existing housing sites were determined to be necessary to achieve the two-fold goal of enhancing our housing program and also preserving Princeton’s historically compact, walkable campus.

Since Butler is such a well-liked housing community, why is Butler being demolished and not renovated?
As part of the HMP process, the Butler Apartments were identified for replacement early in this process. Most Butler units were built in 1947 as temporary housing, and the complex is near the end of its useful life. The challenges that confront Butler Apartments today concern the programmatic and physical conditions of the property as well as the cost to maintain. The units are all 2-bedrooms with one bathroom including small bedrooms and outdated kitchens, and are energy inefficient. The lack of one-bedroom units limits the preference of those graduate students who want to live independently. The physical conditions of Butler present a daily challenge to maintain to the University’s standard of code compliant housing. These physical conditions are:

  • Lack of fire suppression (sprinkler) systems
  • Smoke and CO detectors do not centrally report to Public Safety.
  • Wood framing does not meet current code. Although we attempt to remediate sagging floors at turnover, most units that have been taken out of service are typically due to floor or roof conditions.
  • Neither the units nor the site meet federal guidelines or University standards for accessibility.
  • Most of the plumbing systems are original, with clogs/failures quite common.
  • Portable window air conditioning units are used in some units, but the electrical system is not sized for these units.
  • Heating systems consist of a rudimentary gas-fired combustion unit with a fan blowing over it, and they are located on an interior living room wall.
  • The buildings are not energy efficient, with windows and doors that need to be replaced. In addition, the insulation in the walls and within the roof system is minimal.

Although these conditions are challenging, the University has kept the buildings safe and habitable through regular inspections and costly repairs.

How many and what types of units will be developed at Lakeside Apartments? When will it be completed? 

Lakeside Graduate Apartments will provide 329 units of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units in midrise and townhome apartment buildings. In total 715 beds will be constructed. Breaking this down further, there will be 119 one-bedrooms, 84 two-bedrooms, 76 3-bedrooms and 50 4-bedrooms with private and shared bathrooms. The unit mix is based on the preferences expressed by graduate students in graduate housing application data, survey findings of graduate students and occupancy data. For a full list of available floor plans, rents and amenities please refer to the Lakeside Apartments website. It is anticipated that the complex will be available for occupancy after the 2014 fall semester begins.

What is the University’s policy on pet friendly units? Will Lakeside have pet-friendly units? Will there be a charge?
The University’s pet policy allows cats and dogs in ground floor units with private access to the outside. At Lakeside, the University sought a design of the midrise apartments that would create more ground floor apartment units with private entrance. All townhomes have private entry and are therefore pet friendly. However, pets will not be allowed in any of the furnished townhome or apartment units. Forty-seven of the one-, two-and three-bedroom units at Lakeside will be pet friendly, in addition to about 200 pet-friendly spaces for single students sharing larger units in town houses.

I am new to the area and do not have any furniture. Will there be any furnished units? And if yes, will I be charged for this?

A furnished unit option at Lakeside will be available for an additional $15.00 per bed per month. We expect this option to be popular with students who want to control the costs of furnishing their apartments, those moving from the Graduate College, and those who move to Princeton from outside the northeastern United States. Furnished units will be offered in both the apartments and townhome units and will comprise 27% or 88 of the 329 units. Please refer to the Lakeside Apartments website for a listing of the furniture.

Butler is a great place for all different types of families – singles, couples and students with children. Will Lakeside have any of the attributes that people really like about Butler?
Lakeside will have these attributes and more. All the units at Lakeside are modernized with in-unit dishwashers, washer/dryers and central air. The 14 residential buildings are positioned on the 20 acre site in a configuration that lends to communal and open green space. Outdoor recreational activities include volleyball and basketball court, children’s playground and a community garden. The Commons – a 6,000SF community space on the ground floor of one of the midrise apartment buildings – will provide meeting and party space for the residents as well as in-door studying, fitness and children play space.

Will permanent graduate housing increase or decrease when Lakeside Apartments come on line and Butler is demolished?
When Lakeside opens in 2014-2015, its 715 bed spaces are expected to house 675 graduate student contract holders and their families, replacing the Butler and former Hibben Magie Apartments, which in 2006-07, before the Housing Master Plan was authorized housed 615 graduate student contract holders. Overall graduate housing capacity will increase to 1,721 from 1,645 in Academic Year 2006-07. When Lakeside is ready and Butler is closed, the University will have the capacity to house 75 percent of eligible graduate students. This additional capacity was built into our planning to allow us to maintain our longstanding commitment to house 70 percent of eligible students for the next decade, even as our graduate student population grows over time.

The calculation for capacity is based on several variables: 1) the number of eligible graduate students; 2) the number of housing units and 3) occupancy ratios per type of unit (studio/1-BR, 2-BR etc.). Eligible graduate students are those students who are considered fully enrolled for the academic year. Rather than assume one contract holder per bed, occupancy ratios were developed using historical housing data to determine the impact of families in our units. In some cases, an apartment houses a graduate student in every bed space. In cases in which graduate students live with spouses, partners, or dependents, a larger unit may house only one graduate student. Therefore, a studio and one-bedroom will show 1:1 ratio, that is one (1) contract holder per unit; However, in units with more bedrooms the ratio is less.

What resources are available for graduate students searching for off campus housing?
The Housing and Real Estate Services Office provides staff and online services to faculty,staff and graduate students seeking off-campus rentals. Interested parties can access the Off Campus Housing website to view privately owned rental listings. Graduate students are encouraged to contact Sarah Major at smajor@princeton.edu or by phone at 609.258.5897 with questions or to schedule an appointment to discuss off campus housing options.

Other resources include the State of New Jersey’s New Jersey Housing Resource Center which provides a listing of affordable housing in the State and the local non-profit Princeton Community Housing (PCH). PCH has been contracted to manage the leasing of the 56 designated affordable housing units at Merwick Stanworth - the University’s faculty staff housing initiative. The first phase of the project (Merwick) will be available for occupancy in July 2014. For information on the application process and eligibility requirements, please contact Arnaz Yousafzai at arnaz@princetoncommunity housing.org or by phone at 609.924.3822 ext 113.

How will the annual Draw process be affected by the changes brought on by the Housing Master Plan? We would like to honor our current rules and practices, yet we cannot allow those who would have qualified for “Pre-Draw Retention” to retain something that won’t exist. As such, we will handle this as “Pre-Draw Priority,” meaning that those who would have otherwise qualified to retain their apartment have a priority for a space in Lakeside or Lawrence. Those who qualify for this are current first and second year graduate students living on-campus. Graduate students in University rentals who have been assigned to a unit at Lakeside with availability after June 30, 2014 may request an extension of their current contract end date. The contract will be extended to the move-in date of the Lakeside unit. Families with children will continue to have additional priority, to ensure that they may select appropriate accommodations.

How does the housing plan accommodate for potential growth in the number of graduate students? The Housing Master Plan responds to planned growth at the Graduate School. We will continue to work with the Graduate School to ensure that the program meets student needs.

Butler is currently the least expensive campus housing option for graduate students. How will the removal of the Butler housing option affect students, in particular families, sensitive to rental costs?
The Housing and Real Estate Department’s unit rental pricing is still consistent with, if not less than, non-campus market values. A few years ago the University raised the amount of graduate student stipends and at the same time adjusted rental pricing to move closer toward market values in the area. The Lakeside rents were determined in accordance with this policy and based on Lawrence rents. For the comparison of rents and estimated utilities, please click on rental rate comparison . Examples of the impact of rents is provided below:

  • For singles sharing a unit at Butler, monthly expenses for rent and utilities are $579 for FY 14, while estimated FY15 expenses at Lakeside are expected to range from $658 to $756
  • Although families with a child under two years old could select a one-bedroom anywhere in University housing, they may also prefer a two bedroom at the Lawrence Apartments Buildings 2-7 or a two-bedroom at Lakeside. Monthly expenses for rent and utilities for family renting a unit at Butler are $1179 for FY 14, while estimated FY15 expenses for a two-bedroom at Lawrence 2-7 will be $1465. Costs for a two-bedroom at Lakeside are expected to be $1651
  • Our market research indicates that most married/partnered couples would select a one-bedroom apartment at Lakeside (649 SF), even if currently renting a two-bedroom at Butler (620 SF). Monthly expenses for rent and utilities for couples renting a unit at Butler are $1179 for FY 14, while estimated FY15 expenses for a one-bedroom at Lakeside are expected to be $1265

Who is eligible to rent new graduate student housing units?
Eligibility will be the same as currently provided for in graduate student rental housing

How will the Housing Plan projects meet the University’s sustainability and environmental standards? Princeton seeks to promote environmental leadership in its campus community. The premise of the Princeton University Sustainability Plan, issued in February 2008 and available online at (http://www.princeton.edu/sustainability/plan/), is that Princeton must ensure that its campus and the experience it provides for its students, faculty and staff reflect and respect sustainability principles. The plan proposes aggressive goals for the campus in three priority areas: greenhouse gas reduction, resource conservation, and research, education and civic engagement.

At Lakeside, the University funded a geothermal heating system, both to use resources more efficiently and to hold down utility costs for residents. Further investments in the long term sustainability of the site include retaining the majority of the mature woodlands, 1:1 replacement of trees removed, a rain garden for storm water management, and placement of new buildings on parcels where buildings or parking lots were previously. The new housing will qualify for at least LEED Silver certification in the LEED for Neighborhood Development program, as well as the appropriate LEED building rating system.

In which school district are the graduate student apartments located? Princeton is served by the Princeton Regional School district. For elementary schools, Lakeside and Lawrence apartments are located in the Riverside Elementary School zone. For further information, please click on the Princeton Regional School District.

Lakeside will be managed by American Campus Communities – a private entity. How do we know that the property will be maintained to University standards?
University standards have been stipulated in the management agreement with ACC. University staff will be in daily communication with ACC on-site staff and monthly reporting on various aspects of the complex will be provided to the University. In addition, residents will have the opportunity to voice their satisfaction or dissatisfaction through resident surveys.

Who do I contact with work orders for my unit?
As the operator of the complex, American Campus Communities will be the resident’s primary contact. Residents will be trained on ACC’s on-line work order system called Connect. This online system will also provide information to the residents on programming and other matters related to living at the complex. The resident can either call in a work order to the on-site office or enter the work order online through the Connect system. Residents will then receive emails from the on-site staff informing them of the when the issue will be resolved and the status of the work order.

Are there any future plans to build more graduate housing after Lakeside is completed?
At this time there are no plans to build more graduate housing. Current growth models predict that the new inventory at Lakeside will continue to provide capacity to house at least 70% of eligible graduate students for a decade.

Will graduate students continue to have parking near their unit? What are the public transportations options?
Lakeside will include a 504 space parking garage to meet parking needs of the residents and their guests, with capacity for additional University parking needs. The University’s parking policies for graduate students will govern. Both TigerTransit and Princeton Regional School district will have stops at the site. The bus stop is at the Commons building enabling riders some shelter in inclement weather.

How did the University arrive at a commitment to house approximately 70% of eligible graduate students?

  • In 2007, the Housing Master Plan process specified a commitment to offer housing for 70% of eligible graduate students, including during the period when Lakeside was being planned and built.
  • The actual graduate student occupancy rates over the last 10 years have been lower than the capacity of units offered. For example, the percentage of eligible graduate students housed in December 2013 is approximately seventy-one percent (71%) even though the full capacity is seventy-five percent (75%).
  • Over several decades, before establishing a specific target, the University gradually increased graduate student housing capacity through steps that included the transfer of faculty units at the old Hibben Magie, construction of Lawrence Buildings 8-14, and addition of 60 resident graduate student units in the residential colleges.
  • In recent years, the University’s graduate student housing capacity grew closer to 80% of eligible graduate students, which was made possible by allocating former faculty/staff housing units to graduate student housing. This additional capacity was built into the plan to allow the University to maintain the longstanding commitment to house 70 percent of eligible students for the next decade, even as the graduate student population grows over time.