NB: These are personal views and should in no way be taken to be representative of those of the KCGS Committee or any other body

The major problem with the current system of allocating graduates
rooms is that those students who spend four years as a graduate
student at King's (normally arts students who do an MPhil followed by
a three year PhD, but also certain others, for example students doing
Part III Maths who were not at Cambridge as an undergraduate) lose out
badly, as they are placed right at the bottom of the ballot in their
fourth year, along with, for example, overrunning PhD students. **It
is not fair on those students who were expected to spend four years at
King's that they should suffer in this way**.

The solution: see paper above. Basically, those students doing four year courses 'repeat' their second year in the room ballot system.

Is this a good thing? **Yes**. Some brief assumptions needed
before a quantitative analysis:

- 60 students enter King's Graduate Community every year. Of these, 30 are doing a PhD, and 30 are (initially) doing a one year course. Of the 30 doing a one year course, 10 of these go on to do a PhD. (These numbers are approximately those which have applied at King's for the past couple of years).
- The aim of any allocation system is to ensure that people do not suffer due to how long their course is expected to last.
- Approximately one quarter of students do not choose a room from the ballot for various reasons (eg they choose to live out, they take a flat with another student or other possibilities exist). Again, this is approximately the number which has applied in King's for the past couple of years.

There are four ballot categories; in order in which they choose rooms:

- First years (from outside Cambridge), who are allocated rooms by college.
- 3rd year students (old system) / Final year students (new system).
- 2nd year students (old system) / other non-overrunning students (new system).
- Others (overrunning students and 4th years under the old system).

Under the old system, the number of students in each ballot category would be (with everything rounded to integers):

Students year: | 1st years | 2nd years | 3rd years | 4th years | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Length of course: | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 |

1st year | 22 | 23 | - | - | - | |||

3rd year | - | - | 22 | 8 | - | |||

2nd year | - | 22 | 8 | - | - | |||

Others | - | - | - | 0 | 8 |

From this, we can calculate the average position at which a student in every year chooses (or is assigned) a room:

Length of course: | 3 | 4 |
---|---|---|

1st year | 23 | 23 |

2nd year | 90 | 90 |

3rd year | 60 | 60 |

4th year | - | 109 |

And comparing this with the new system:

Students year: | 1st years | 2nd years | 3rd years | 4th years | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Length of course: | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 4 |

1st year | 22 | 23 | - | - | - | |||

Final year | - | - | 22 | - | - | 8 | ||

Other years | - | 22 | 8 | - | 8 | - | ||

Overrunning | - | - | - | - |

And we can again calculate the average position at which a student in every year chooses (or is assigned) a room:

Length of course: | 3 | 4 |
---|---|---|

1st year | 23 | 23 |

2nd year | 94 | 94 |

3rd year | 60 | 94 |

4th year | - | 60 |

Note that this change has had one significant effect: 4th year
students on a four year course are penalised much less for this,
whereas the other changes introduced are small (4 places in the ballot
for second year students). Therefore, I believe that **the proposed
changes are a good thing, and should be endorsed by the open
meeting**.

Philip Kendall, 3 May 2002; with thanks to Mark Fernie for helpful comments.