Due to the largest freshman class ever, 40 first-year students were assigned overflow student housing options in 1300, White and Johnson & Hardwick residence halls this semester.
Additional beds have been placed in resident assistants’ rooms in White Hall and the first and third floors of 1300, the traditional floors for incoming freshmen. In J&H, some students were accommodated in common lounges converted into four-person dorm rooms.
Sean Killion, associate director for assignments and billing in the Office of University Housing and Residential Life, said the need for overflow housing resulted from an increase in applications and enrollment.
“The number of students who are requesting to live in housing correlates very closely with the number of students that are being admitted to the university,” Killion said. “Every year when we go into our housing process, we identify what we anticipate for our new student population and our return student population…but it’s never an exact science.”
There are 5,750 students living on-campus this year, excluding the 40 students who were assigned to overflow housing, he added.
Some administrators view the need for overflow housing as a problem, while some believe it represents increased interest in Temple, he said.
“Twenty years ago, you’d always hear, ‘Oh, Temple is a safety school,’ and students might have been applying to other schools and Temple as a backup,” Killion said. “Now that dynamic’s changing.”
Temple usually accommodates about 80 percent of the incoming freshman class on campus, Killion said, but has had to accommodate more students over the last few years than were anticipated. For on-campus housing, UHRL operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who are timely with their housing deposit and meeting deadlines are more likely to receive their preferred accommodations.
“We are looking at an overabundance of students that are wishing to live on campus and that have been admitted to the university and they’re later in the process,” Killion said.
Prior to making room assignments to overflow spaces, UHRL called affected students to explain the overflow housing process and confirm students were OK with the situation. Some students chose to pursue other off-campus housing options instead.
“We thought it was important to explain what was going on and what the deal was, especially for the students that were going to be living with RAs,” Killion said.
He added that each year there are numerous unexpected vacancies in on-campus housing because of no-shows or cancellations early in the semester where students may decide to commute to Temple or attend a different school.
UHRL intends to relocate students in overflow housing to these vacancies within the first few weeks of the semester, giving preference to students who have been placed in rooms with RAs to help freshmen integrate appropriately with their peers and allow RAs their single rooms.
Several students who were placed with RAs were moved to permanent spaces before ever having to move into those spaces because of early cancellations.
But if enough vacancies don’t open up, students in overflow housing will have to remain in their accommodations until space becomes available elsewhere, Killion said.
He added that it is a possibility UHRL may not find permanent housing for these students, as housing has worked hard this year to reduce the number of housing cancellations.
Editor’s note: Gillian McGoldrick is a resident assistant. She played no part in the reporting of this story.