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FAQs from Incoming UCSB Students

My name is Gladiola and I am a current student at UCSB, as well as the Leasing Coordinator for Tropicana Del Norte. I was able to meet many incoming students at this year’s Spring Insight event at Tropicana Del Norte’s Question and Answer table. Talking with incoming UCSB students reminded me of my own Spring Insight experience and it has made me reflect on my 3 years since that day and how I made my own decision to attend UCSB and to live at Tropicana Del Norte my Freshman year. Looking back, I am so happy about both of these decisions!

Below are some of the FAQs I receive on a regular basis, as well as from Spring Insight.

1) What is the difference between “on campus” dorms and Tropicana Del Norte?

Definitely the most Frequently Asked Question! Tropicana Del Norte is another option for Freshman housing, but Tropicana is not owned by UCSB. Instead, Tropicana is a privately owned Residence Hall, but is closely affiliated with UCSB. My first two years at UCSB I played Lacrosse, and myself and most of the UCSB Freshman Athletes lived together with other Freshman at Tropicana Del Norte. Many students, including athletes like myself, chose Tropicana Del Norte because we did not have to go through the lottery selection for our Residence Hall and risk being a mile away from main campus at Santa Catalina. Tropicana Del Norte is directly adjacent to campus, which makes it convenient to get to classes, the Rec Cen, playing fields, the stadium… pretty much everything!

Another main difference is that Tropicana Del Norte processes your housing cost separately from your “BARC” account. What’s a “BARC” account? Read on to my next FAQ and you’ll find out!

2) How does Financial Aid work?

This is a great question, because I too did not understand how the Financial Aid process worked when I started at UCSB, let alone how I could apply it to living at Tropicana Del Norte!

When you attend UCSB a Billing Accounts Receivable Collections or “BARC” account will be set up for you. All of your tuition will be charged to this account and you will be responsible for making payments to this account. If you’re receiving Financial Aid, then your disbursements will deposited in to your BARC account, which will cover your tuition costs. UCSB Campus housing is also charged to your BARC. Any unused funds from your BARC account will be sent to you in the form of a check, or deposited to your bank account directly, depending on what information you provide on your account. Tropicana Del Norte anticipates these disbursement dates and you can sign a Financial Aid Addendum to lump your monthly installments into quarterly installments. Then you’ll only need to pay Tropicana Del Norte when you receive your Financial Aid!

Need to apply to Financial Aid? Visit our Financial Aid page for instructions on how to apply for Financial Aid through FAFSA.

3) What are the meal hours for the dining hall?

Tropicana Del Norte café offers unlimited dining all day.

Monday – Thursday: 6:45 AM – 8:00 PM
Friday: 6:45 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

The café is open continuously during that time. Trop Café also offers sack lunches and late night dinners for students who are on the go or have class during a meal.

UCSB’s Dinning Commons have varying hours based on the Dining Hall. All dining halls close between meal periods.

4) Can we call you?

Many parents asked… Can we call you to check on our son/daughter? Some were prompted to ask when they heard one of the mothers in the Tropicana Del Norte video tell her story about needing to get in touch with her daughter and that she was able to call the office to have our staff check in and make sure everything was okay. This is not an unusual request! Whether a student forgot to charge their phone, are busy with class, or they’re sleeping in, we understand how important it is to make sure that they are okay.

For students or parents… We’re available to talk if you have questions about anything really, whether it’s what to bring with you when you move in, how to sign up, or if you’d like to talk to any of the on-site administrators or directors… we’re here to help!

So the answer is… YES! Call us anytime!

5) What is needed to reserve a space at Trop?

Signing up for Trop is easy! There’s 4 steps to reserve your space.

Step 1. First create a MyTropAccount by going to our website and clicking on MyTropAccount in the top right corner. You will be guided through the online Application and Contract process.

Step 2. You will be asked to pay a $125 nonrefundable Application and Processing fee.

Step 3. Once paid, your application will be submitted for review and you will be invited to continue completing your contract. You’ll tell us about yourself, complete your Roommate Matching Profile, tell us your Room Preferences, provide us with your Guarantor Information, sign the contract with a digital signature, upload a photo, and upload a copy of your Guarantor’s Identification.

Step 4. Make your contract signing payments, which will reserve your space at Tropicana. Contract Signing Payments include:

Refundable Security Deposit: $350
Tropicana Student Organization fee: $150
Initial Contract Payment: $1000

Once your space is reserved, you’ll be able to get to the fun stuff: Roommate Matching! Which brings me right in to my next Question and Answer…

6) How does roommate matching work at Trop?

One of the best things about signing up to live at Trop is picking your own roomates. It’s kind of like online dating, but to find a best friend! As an incoming resident you would fill out a profile about yourself (you can use a screen name if you want to stay anonymous at first), your interests, whether you are an early bird or a night owl, etc. You can then see the profiles of other incoming residents, chat with them, exchange phone numbers or Facebook info, and then, if you decide that you’re a good match, you and your future roomie can mutually request each other. It’s actually a lot of fun, and a great way to start meeting your future Trop neighbors and friends!

7) Is there a catch?

I asked the same question when I was an incoming freshman! Tropicana Del Norte is less expensive than campus, a mile closer to main campus than Santa Catalina residence hall, and it’s seems like a really cool community! Why isn’t Tropicana filled already?…

The answer to that is easy… You haven’t signed up with us yet! Tropicana Del Norte is home to 330 hardworking and focused UCSB students who love living here! Over 80% of those residents are freshmen who chose to live at Tropicana. We’d love for you to choose to live with us too and be a part of our community next year! See some of the great memories that have been made at Trop:

Tropicana Del Norte 2013-2014 – End of the Year Video 

If you have any questions at all about what it’s like living here or how to sign up to be a part of the Trop community, I’m happy to be of assistance! I really enjoyed having the chance to talk with so many incoming Gauchos, and I hope that I’ll continue to see you next year at Tropicana Del Norte!


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