Record Number of Students Apply for On-Campus Housing for Fall 2022

(Photo courtesy Colorado State University)

Housing is guaranteed for first-year students. Temporary accommodations are available until permanent spaces become available.

As CSU experiences a surge in 2022-23 enrollment, University Housing is welcoming an anticipated record number of first-year students to campus.

It is creating an unprecedented demand for rooms in the residence halls and University apartments, and because living on campus is such an important factor contributing to the overall success of students academically and socially, University Housing is seeing to it that all who are required to live on campus will have guaranteed housing.

CSU requires that all newly admitted first-year and transfer students with fewer than 15 post-high school credits, who are single, under age 21, and not living with their parents in the Fort Collins area, live in the University residence halls for their first two consecutive semesters. In an effort to accommodate all of those students who need to fulfill this requirement, some applicants are being placed in temporary housing this fall. Being assigned to a temporary space means that as soon as possible (typically within the first few weeks of the semester) those students will be prioritized for reassignment to a permanent space for the remainder of the 2022-23 academic year, as late cancellations and no-shows are processed.

High demand, low supply

A combination of factors has created a perfect storm for the incredibly high demand for housing this year. Those include pent-up demand following the pandemic, unusually low “melt-rate” (the percentage of students who indicated they would attend CSU but then decide not to), and an increase in the number of admitted students. Putting an additional squeeze on the supply side, one residence hall (Westfall) is off-line for the academic year for scheduled renovations.

The need to find temporary spaces across campus has had University Housing staff looking for creative solutions to add more beds to the mix:

  • Available areas in the halls such as lounges and showrooms have been converted to living spaces.
  • Vacant beds that were being held for Residential Learning Communities are now open for general assignments.
  • The live-on requirement “exemption radius” has been expanded from 30 miles to 40 miles (students within a 40-mile radius of campus have been notified that they can be exempted from the housing requirement if they choose to live at home).
  • Temporarily all of the rooms on the lower floors of Westfall Hall will be used, however, the entire building needs to be vacated by Oct. 1 when renovation construction begins.

Finding rooms off campus
Even with these additional spaces, some beds are needed off campus to meet demand this fall. To fill in the gaps, CSU has booked the entire Best Western University Inn for overflow housing. The location just across the street from campus makes it ideal, and no other guests will be staying in the hotel while the students are living there.

Although most of these temporary spaces are short-term, some students may worry that they will not be getting the full campus experience they were hoping for, right off the bat.
“We know that some students will not find temporary housing to be an ideal situation,” said Nick Sweeton, interim director of University Housing. “We hope to mitigate the uneasiness that may come with a temporary assignment by being clear and transparent in our communication; making extra efforts to build community among students in temporary housing; and offering moving assistance when they are assigned a permanent space, among other strategies.”

Silver linings

Despite the drawbacks, there are benefits to living in temporary housing.

“Some students who lived in temporary accommodations in the past have expressed that they liked forming two groups of friends – one group from their initial temporary housing, and one group from their permanent assignment,” Sweeton says. “Building relationships with peers is a critical ingredient in student success. Students in temporary housing will have the same opportunities to participate in programming, form friendships, and access all that CSU has to offer.”

In addition to the social aspects, students assigned to the Best Western will have the added benefits of frequent room cleaning and linen changes, private baths, cable TV, micro-fridges, air conditioning, and an additional $150 in RamCash. They will also be charged for the least expensive room type in the residence halls while in temporary housing. The site is fully staffed by Best Western’s team in addition to a live-in CSU resident advisor (RA). CSU Police will visit the floors in the Best Western, similar to the way they periodically visit the residence halls.

Student success

The ultimate goal is for incoming students to feel welcome and part of the CSU community while getting all the temporarily assigned students into permanent housing as quickly as possible.

“National studies and CSU data repeatedly indicate that students who live on campus are more satisfied with their college experience, earn higher grade point averages, and are more likely to graduate, so it’s important for us to make both the on-campus and temporary living experiences as integrated as possible,” said Mari Strombom, executive director of Housing and Dining Services. “In college, students have the opportunity to live with people of common interests and majors, and also meet people from across the nation and world who have different perspectives and experiences. This helps students develop emotionally, socially, and academically.”

For more information about temporary housing and room assignments, check out the University Housing website.

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