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Housing shortage still poses problems

Despite state funds, solution still years away from practical implementation

Campus Correspondent

Published: Sunday, February 16, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 16, 2014 22:02

Dorm Room

KAITLIN STORO/The Daily Campus

In this Feb. 16, 2014, photo, students are shown in one of the University of Connecticut’s dorm rooms in the Northwest Residence Halls. A housing shortage, which has plagued the university since the fall semester, is preventing some students from living on campus next semester. New dormitories are not expected to be completed until 2016 despite planned increases in student enrollment.

The University of Connecticut still faces a housing shortage, though the problem will be ameliorated with the enactment of the Next Generation Connecticut program.

All residents returning to the Storrs campus in the fall are guaranteed housing, according to Residential Life, but incoming students from the regional campuses will be put on a waiting list, along with transfer and exchange students.

Additionally, students who fail to pay their room reservation fees, as well as re-admitted students, will naturally face a longer wait on the list, according to the Residential Life website. With rising popularity putting a strain on residential services, only the most committed UConn students will be among the first picks for housing, at least until the university grows to accommodate a growing student population.

In the fall of 2013, UConn saw an influx of freshman students. The increase in enrollment led to alternative arrangements being made, such as the temporary housing of students in the Nathan Hale Inn. This number has been attributed to UConn’s rising popularity and prestige among national universities. According to a recent (much talked-about) ranking by “U.S. News,” UConn has joined the top 20 public schools in the nation, and its freshman class has been identified as the most academically accomplished, according to University Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz’s article in UConn Today. The rising number of admitted freshmen and the recent jump in average SAT scores and number of valedictorians and salutatorians enrolled highlights a jump in UConn’s reputation and standards, with a corresponding jump in national rankings,
A soaring reputation, as well as a growing demand for public education documented by CollegeBoard, has made UConn a competitive school for serious students. Therefore, the number of enrollments at UConn is expected to continue to exceed occupancy levels until new dormitories are built from Next Gen Connecticut, which are expected to be finished in 2016, according to Residential Life. This initiative will greatly expand UConn’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) facilities in order to address the growth of STEM jobs (and the decline of Connecticut’s preeminence in those fields, measured in the Kauffman Foundation’s New Economy 2010 Report).

The university plans to expand enrollment to include an ambitious 6,580 more students, an increase of around 20 percent to the current student body. In addition to undertaking new construction projects, the university will “upgrade aging infrastructure to accommodate new faculty and students” in the years to come, according to UConn’s website. The residential life enjoyed by tomorrow’s students will look a bit different than today’s accommodations as these changes go underway. 

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