TOEFL Q9: Housing Policy Change


In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over question three from the TOEFL speaking test. Read the text below out loud with the tutor.

Housing Policy Change for All Incoming Freshmen

State University students:
Over the past school year, several juniors and seniors have moved out of on-campus housing. This has greatly reduced the school’s income. To make up for this, all incoming freshmen will be required to live in the dormitories. The university will provide freshmen with special services. These include free use of laundry machines, study groups and sports teams. I thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Dr. Patricia Levine, President

Reading time: 45 seconds


Listen to a short conversation related to the reading.
Note to tutor: read the text to the student. The text is not presented to the student in the actual test.  

W: Did you receive that email about the housing problem from the school president?

M: Yes, I read it this morning.

W: I didn’t realize the school’s financial problems were so serious. But it seems that this plan is the best way to solve the problem.

M: I’m not so sure of that.

W: What do you mean?

M: Well, not all of the incoming students will want to live in the dorms. Maybe they want to live with their parents and save money. If that’s the case, then these students will not enroll at our university. Then there won’t be enough new students for the school’s plan to work.

W: I see what you’re saying. How can the school solve its financial problems then?

M: I think they should lower the price of the dorms. They’re too expensive. That’s why the older students moved out. If they make the dorms less expensive, then more students will live in them.


The man expresses his opinion about the announcement. Explain his opinion and the reasons he gives for holding it.

Preparation time: 30 seconds l Response time: 60 seconds


Use the chart below to explain the main idea of the conversation.

Main Idea In the man’s opinion, the school ’s plan may not be the __ to solve the problem.
Reason 1 He worries that not all of the __ will want to live in the dorms. Therefore, they might not __ at the university. If that happens, then the school will not make __.
Reason 2
 The man also feels that the dorms are __. By making the dorms __, more students will __ in them.


Give a brief spoken response to the questions based on the text and the conversation.

  1. What is the man’s reaction to the announcement?
    • The man disagrees with the woman. He is not sure that the plan __.
  2. Why does the university want all freshmen to live in the dormitories?
    • They want the freshmen to live in the dorms in order to make up for their __.
  3. Why does the man think this plan will fail?
    • He feels this way because many incoming students will not want to __.

Sample Answer

Reading great sample answers is one way to improve. Go over the sample answer with your tutor. Ask questions if you have any.

Sample Answer
The speakers are discussing the university’s housing policy change. The woman thinks the plan is a good idea. However, the man is not sure it will work. His first concern is that many incoming students will not want to live in the dorms. Consequentially, they will not enroll in the university. If this happens, then the university’s plan will not work. Therefore the man thinks that the school should make the dorms less expensive. If the dorms are less expensive, then more students will choose to live in them.

Further Study

Have more time? Here is a list of common vocabulary words related to the text you studied today. Go over each one with your tutor.

Additional Expressions
policy (n) a set of rules or ideas about how to do something
e.g. Each employee is given a handbook on company policy.
provide (v) to make something available; to give
e.g. The website provides information about local activities.
income (n) money that is earned from work
e.g. Farming is his main source of income.
cooperation (n) the act of working together to do something
e.g. We are asking for your full cooperation.
required (adj) needed; essential
e.g. The truck driver carries a special license, as the law requires him to do. = The truck driver carries a special license, as required by law.
financial (adj) related to money
e.g. The family is struggling with financial problems.
serious (adj) having an important or dangerous result
e.g. Crime is a serious problem in this neighborhood.
incoming (adj) arriving at or coming to a place
e.g. All incoming phone calls are monitored for quality control.
dormitory (n) a building at a school campus where students can live
e.g. The college dormitory [=dorm, residence hall] is very expensive to live in.
enroll (v) to enter as a member or participant
e.g. They enrolled their children in a private school.

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