Continuing undergraduate students who want to live in university-owned housing have a lot of competition this year.

Housing is extremely limited for continuing students and is only available by a lottery. Applications for 2002-2003 are due in the Housing and Residential Services Office by noon on Feb. 19.

Returning students will also face a ‘soft-cap’ of about 800 available living spaces, meaning that the number of applications accepted will be limited, although the specific number is somewhat flexible.

Continuing students can apply for either on-campus housing, such as San Rafael, or off-campus, such as Santa Ynez and Westgate .

Manzanita Village, an 800-bed complex for both freshmen and continuing undergraduate students is expected to open in September and will help alleviate the housing crunch.

“Generally that’s enough for all students, including freshmen, although there continues to be a problem with available housing,” Housing and Residential Services Executive Director Wilfred Brown said. “My sense is that [the rate of returning students] will go up. We will have a higher retention rate because of Manzanita.”

Junior David Payne, a resident of San Rafael Hall, hopes to get a spot in next year’s on-campus housing lottery.

“I like [San Rafael Hall] because it is convenient. I can walk to my classes. I don’t have to cook. It’s quiet and I don’t have to worry about bills or landlords. Plus my friends are always near me and I feel safer on-campus.”

Currently UCSB houses 22 percent of enrolled students, but hopes to increase that number in the future.

. “We have a long-term goal to house 30 percent of enrolled students,” Brown said. “That means we’d have 6,000 spaces.”

Housing seems to be a problem at other UC campuses as well. UC Riverside just spent $29.1 million on an additional 112, 647 feet of housing to accommodate its annual 6 percent growth rate.

Like UCSB, UC San Diego provides a one-year guarantee of housing to first-year students. Unlike UCSB, they hope to increase this guarantee[[[to or by?]]] two years to include returning students.

UCSD has only 900 spaces left for continuing students, UCSD Housing and Dining Services Director Mark Cunningham said.

“[We are] all booked,” he said.