Frequently Asked Questions - UG Hall Allocation Policy RY2023-24
When will the new UG Hall Policy be implemented?
The proposed UG Hall Allocation Policy will be used in the UG hall application from RY2023-24.
What is the composition of the Task Force of UG Hall Allocation Policy Review?
The Task Force consists of 9 faculty and students members: 1 faculty member from each school, 2 local student members from Hall1-5 and Hall6-9 respectively, as well as 2 non-local student members from MSSS and ISA. 12 task force meetings were held to hammer out the proposed UG Hall Allocation Policy.
What steps has the Task Force taken to ensure that students' voices are heard?
Over the past year, 1 mass survey to all UGs, 2 focus group sessions with local and non-local students, 1 public consultation open to all, 1 informal meeting with local students and 11 Task Force meetings were organized to obtain students’ comments and recommendations in order to examine and formulate the hall allocation policy.
Will all Yr-1 students get a full year of University housing?
It has been the University’s goal to extend the guaranteed University housing for all Yr-1 local students from at least one semester to a full year of their 1st year of study at HKUST. However, since the additional bed spaces of iVillage are not yet available due to project delay, hall offers for Yr-1 local students will remain as 1 term minimum in RY2023-24, until extra bed spaces from iVillage are ready. More bed spaces will be open for students once iVillage is ready for moving-in. It means all HKUST UG Yr-1 full-time registered students will then get a full year hall offer if they apply for University Housing.
Why has the existing Housing Lottery system been abolished?
Many responses from the mass survey reflected that the current Housing Lottery system cannot truly reflect the housing needs of students and the bed space should not be allocated by luck. 65% of the survey respondents indicated that the current mechanism needs to be changed. With the increase of bed space supply, the Task Force re-visited the idea of Hall Points System in the past and made modifications with a more targeted approach that allows the University to allocate the bed spaces to students more equitably. This proposed policy is a combination of 2 old mechanisms with the aim to provide some certainty for students in dire need.
Why are local and non-local students allocated separately, and how is the allocation ratio determined?
The allocation of bed spaces will be done in 2 separate pools with different sets of hall points components so as to provide a more comparable ground within the same student type, e.g. travelling time as a key factor for local students who have home base in Hong Kong. As non-local students or NHB students do not have home address in HK, one-way Travelling Time should not be applicable to them as a comparison factor.
How is the allocation ratio between local and non-local students determined?
The allocation ratio is based on the average percentage of hall offer results from the past 3 years. Considered that hall offer results are used instead of the actual hall acceptance, the results in previous 3 years were not far off from pre-pandemic times since the University had not announced online mode for the next academic year at the time of hall application and most students still applied for hall.
Will there be re-evaluation of the policy after the implementation, e.g. 1 year later in Yr2024-25?
For constant calibration, it is planned that the policy will be re-visited every two years. If required, changes or alterations may be made in the future.
Are local/non-local students getting less bed space than before with the proposed allocation ratio in Hall Points System?
No. Since the overall supply of bed space will be increased, the number of beds to be allocation for local and non-local students through Hall Points System will both be increased. It means more students, both locals and non-locals, will receive housing offers. The suggested ratio is an average of hall offer results (not actual residency) in the preceding 3 years, when the Housing Lottery system had stabilized after the previous lottery weightings for students admitted before Yr2016-17 and Yr2017-18 faded out.
Why is the Travelling Time calculation method changed?
After reviewing local students’ feedback, it is suggested to also consider the cheapest route for an average time result in addition to the shortest route, as well as adopting “shorter” walking distance in search setting, in order to reflect a more realistic commuting time. The Task Force also considered using Google Maps but consistent results cannot be ensured. HKeMobility, as the official source by Hong Kong Government, will remained to be the common base which is considered standardized and official. For example, if a student’s shortest route to HKUST is 70 minutes and the cheapest route is 90 minutes in HKeMobility, the average travelling time of 80 minutes will be used to calculate hall points.
Why are sports teams not separately considered from sports affiliated clubs?
It is to avoid double counting as sometimes students take positions of both sports teams and clubs. For instance, if a student is a swimming team member and a swimming club Ex-Co at the same time, only 1 position will be counted under the sports category.
Why isn't the member base or size of group taken into account when calculating hall points for Leadership & Contribution?
The size of the member base cannot quantify or assess the effort or contribution made by students in a position of students groups. Student groups that contribute to a vibrant campus life should be treated equally. Instead of assigning various points based on the number of members or the size of the group, each student group can choose to nominate 3 students who have made a significant contribution to receive greater hall points within their own group.
Why isn't financial condition a factor?
The Task Force has discussed if financial condition could be taken into account in hall allocation, but there is currently no fair and practical way to determine and compare the financial circumstances of students from different countries, given the wide range of family income levels and wealth in different countries, as well as the difficulties in verifying supporting documents. Financial condition is addressed by the University’s financial aid, loan and scholarships via SFAO.
What kinds of needs or hardships are considered in the housing policy as Special Needs?
Needs or hardships include, but are not limited to: documented physical and mental health conditions, accessibility concerns, hardships, long commute times that impact academic or co-curricular performance, eligible student groups’/University teams’ activity that necessitates regular overnighting at HKUST, and other personal factors. All students should first seek University housing by going through the Hall Points system. If their needs are not met, they may write to UG Hall Admission with supporting documents for special consideration by the Residence Masters Discretionary Committee. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students may also write to SHRLO of any unique difficulties or hardships that may occur during the term.
What about the mechanism of the waitlist? How will students be ranked and how to check the waitlist?
There will be 2 waitlists for local and non-local/NHB students respectively. When a bed space is available/released, it will be returned to its original pool and offered to the student on the respective waitlist according to the waitlist ranking.
Waitlist number will be ranked according to the hall points of the applicants on the list. Waitlist ranking will be published on SHRLO’s website and updated from time to time (when there is movement in the ranking once vacancy is available for top-up offer).
In case there are students with the same hall points, they will be on the same position. Once there is vacancy available, students with the same ranking will undergo a random draw for top-up offer.
What kinds of support does the University provide if I do not receive a housing offer? Is it possible for HKUST to provide housing subsidy to live off-campus?
Students are welcome to contact SHRLO’s Off-Campus Housing Section at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 2358-8583 for assistance, or visit the website: https://offcamphouse.hkust.edu.hk/ for housing information and agent contacts.
SHRLO’s Off-Campus Housing Section also organizes talks on renting off-campus apartments information with property agent to introduce the available housing options, rental knowledge, and latest market information to students who are interested.
SHRLO can help arrange accommodation in the Hong Kong Adventist College (HKAC) on Clear Bay Water Road if beds are available.
Students with proven financial hardship may consult Scholarships & Financial Aid Office (SFAO) for applying financial aid through different financial assistance schemes.