Amid a campus housing shortage and imposed waitlists, little-known Troy University Apartments are only filled in part by students.
Located on North Franklin Drive, the residence was originally denoted “married student housing,” and Troy’s website still states that it is primarily for married students and single parents.
However, half the occupants are faculty, staff and international students. There are also several empty units due to people moving out, according to Sabrina Foster, coordinator of housing and residence life.
“We got in on a stroke of luck because the waiting list is very long, and it usually takes about a year for people to get it,” said Nathan Hay, a graduate biological and environmental science student from Demopolis, who lives there with his wife Logan Hay, a senior English major from Abbeville.
Difficulty in snagging these units comes in large part from the nature of the living arrangement. Unlike other on-campus residencies, occupants do not have to reapply every academic year. Once residents are granted a unit, they typically live there until they graduate or decide to leave.
Faculty and staff residents can remain in the apartments for several years until they decide to relocate, or until they are no longer associated with the university, according to Sara Jo Burks, assistant director of housing and residence life.
Troy University Apartments is the only option for a married student with a scholarship if you don’t want to waste the scholarship, said Logan Hay, who has a Millennium Scholarship.
“You either use it, or you lose it,” Logan Hay said. “Getting in if you’re not lucky can be difficult.”
Although Foster was not able to give the Tropolitan data on how many units were occupied by category, Foster said there are approximately 25 married students and single-parent students living at the apartments, 16 faculty and staff members, and 10 international students.
There are two-bedroom and one-bedroom options respectively at $480 and $450 a month, not including utilities like on-campus dorms. Housing scholarships apply toward University Apartments since they are under the housing department’s administration.
Foster said that residents can either pay at the beginning or end of the semester or pay on a monthly basis.
Students can apply to live there by applying to the waitlist, which can take about a year, according to Foster.
Foster said she usually looks for married couples and students with children on the waitlist first, then faculty and staff. Afterward, graduate and international students are considered for open units.
Once a tenant has signed a lease for the apartment, they are contacted at the end of each semester and must notify housing if they plan to stay.
Burks also suggested married couples apply for the University Apartments waitlist as soon as possible.
The Hays said they contacted the housing office toward the middle of the semester and then got an answer at the end, estimating a two- or three-month wait.
While the Hays made it into Troy University Apartments without much trouble, both said the apartments are “incredibly outdated” even though they might be the only option for married students with housing scholarships.
The Hays have had issues with dampness and heating in their apartment.
“We’ve had lots of mildew lately,” Logan Hay said. “It’s been so damp, and we can’t get the damp out, and our ceiling was leaking a couple weeks ago.”
She said they have been running fans and air conditioning frequently to try to regulate the dampness, driving up their utility bill.
The Hays also said that many units at University Apartments don’t have ceiling fans.
“We actually have ceiling fans, and that’s rare,” Nathan Hay said.
On the housing website, University Apartments advertise “modern kitchens,” but some tenants disagree.
Foster said that while the kitchens may not always include top-of-the-line appliances, each is fully equipped with appliances that work.
“It gets the job done, but they’re nothing fancy,” Foster said.
Will Byrd, a senior biomedical sciences major from Auburn, lives there with his wife, Katie Byrd, a senior math major from Mobile, who has a Millennium scholarship.
He said they were given the choice between two apartments. One of their options featured a “ ’70s shag” carpet.
The one they ended up choosing has a new carpet and new refrigerator but an antiquated stove.
“They’ve just been stuck in the ’70s, not given much love,” he said.
Despite the outdated appliance, he said he and his wife have turned the apartment into a home and are generally happy living there with low prices.
“By looking at married student housing and looking how old it looked and outdated, I was nervous about the cleanliness of it when we moved in,” Will Byrd said. “I was thoroughly impressed that it was pretty clean.”
The Hays also mentioned that the stoves in the apartment are old.
“Most apartments have stoves that, I would say, are at least from the ’80s,” Logan Hay said.
“They were built in ’69, and it looks like they haven’t been touched since ’69,” said Nathan Hay.
Both Will Byrd and the Hays mentioned cinder block walls, which can have bad insulation. Nathan Hay said that “it’s hot during the summer, and it’s freezing during the winter.”