Overflow housing predicted for Fall 2015

Carolyn Pippin

Residence Services is predicting the returning number of students set to apply for housing for Fall 2015 will be higher, once again causing dorm overflow for the first two weeks of the semester.

“As the year progressed, our applications were up and our admittance rate was up with quality students,” said T. David Garcia, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “We noticed that the numbers were just way, way higher than anticipated.”

Kent State brought in approximately 4,250 freshmen in Fall 2014, but the amount of students applying for on-campus housing caught Residence Services off guard, and the retention of these students increased by 4 percent from the class of 2017, the largest freshmen class ever in the history of Kent State.

“That put a huge constraint on housing, which then, in turn, had to be creative and innovative in how do we create more bed space,” Garcia said. “So they created probably an additional 200 more beds.”        

Residence halls gained that additional space by giving several residence assistants roommates and converting Centennial Court E and F into triples this semester. Predictions on the number of returning, transfer, international, first and full-time students factored into the creation of a bed space forecast. For Fall 2015, the number of beds on campus total 6,311. Including resident assistants, the number sits at 6,500.

“We intentionally do have more students than we need, and we do go into overflow,” Director of Residence Services Jill Church said. “By two weeks into the semester, we won’t have anyone in overflow, according to our predictions.”

Anticipating the amount of international students that will need on-campus housing makes predicting tricky.

“Our students in the U.S. apply for housing (beginning) Feb. 1, but students in other countries aren’t applying until July 1,” Church said. 

Last year, the acceptance of international students cut off early, which prevented 50 to 60 students from coming to Kent State, an occurrence that Garcia said won’t happen next year due to a commitment made with international programs.

Church said one factor to keep in mind when forecasting is that on-campus housing usually loses approximately 1,000 students from the first to second year due to several factors. 

“It’s a lot of different reasons: Some are no longer required because they’re older, some have post-secondary credits so they don’t have to live on-campus, some decide well I just wanted that first year and now I’ll move home, some live in sorority houses, some tell us that they’re not going to live here and they move into an apartment and we don’t know,” Church said.

The age requirement to live off-campus decreased from 21 to 20 to encourage more students to live in apartments or other housing.

“Given all of that, we didn’t start to notice that off-campus housing was getting full,” Garcia said. “We were hearing from students saying ‘Hey I can’t get an apartment in Kent.’”

Sophomore exploratory major Julia Fedyski looked into apartments to live in for the following school year back in January.

“By the time I looked, everything was full and the waiting list for places were like 50 people, but I knew 50 people weren’t going to drop their space,” she said.

To combat the increasing amount of students wanting to live on-campus, Kent State plans to work with regional campuses to look for a solution. 

“If we do have a challenge of providing a space at Kent campus, we will work hard trying to get them to enroll at one of our regional campuses to start their program there and then come over in the spring term,” Garcia said.

Contact Carolyn Pippin at [email protected].