For the last couple of years (fall of 2008 was the beginning of this trend) colleges and universities across the country have been experiencing record enrollment numbers, and fall of 2010 isn't supposed to be all that different. The biggest problem with having this number of students is what to do with them. Many new students are traditional students expecting to live on campus. Unfortunately, between the sudden influx of students and continuing budget cuts, expanding student living is not always an option, especially for the short term.
A major problem that this leads to is students come to campus for orientation and have no idea where they are going to live for the next few months. Some students end up in triples when the room is meant for only two students, other times up to ten students are living together in a lounge.
Traditionally, colleges accept more students than they can house because they know some students will not show up and the rooming assignments will even out. Unfortunately, with even greater numbers of students applying, there are still too many students without rooms.
Several solutions are possible, and are done. One is to allow more students to live off campus. This works in some towns, but other times there is not enough off campus housing within a short distance. If money for students is an issue, schools may choose to allow financial and scholarships to cover off-living expenses. Another thing some colleges do is to focus on recruiting more non-traditional students. They will still bring money into the school, but the college does not have to worry about housing them. Schools will also turn spaces that are not normally used for living spaces into rooms. This is probably the least advisable option. Finally, schools can simply choose to turn away more students by raising their admissions standards.
Have you ever been caught in the middle of housing overfill? How did it affect the first few days of school? How does your school deal with it? What do you think is the best short-term fix? Reply in the comments section.