Over the past several years, securing housing on Temple University’s main campus has become increasingly difficult.
Enrollment has risen significantly since the stock market bubble burst, leaving many upper-middle class families scrambling for an affordable education.
These students represent a growing portion of the Temple student body, and many of them want and can afford housing.
The problem is, Temple is not building more dorms.
The number of applications has doubled over the past 10 years and the University has been admitting more students.
Building dorms is expensive, and housing officials have said that after the large amount of debt incurred in the building of new dorms like 1300, they are not looking to build any more.
Instead, the school is focusing on adding amenities, like the expansion of the Student Center, which will attract more students to Temple.
There are other obstacles besides funding to building more dorms, but these are not impossible to overcome.
One issue is the encroachment of Temple on the surrounding community.
It would do little good to alienate the residents of North Philadelphia by pushing even further into their neighborhood.
Instead, Temple needs to make smart use of the space that it has.
The aging Temple Towers dorm should be torn down and replaced with a new, higher capacity residence hall.
The building has a host of maintenance issues, including a fluctuating vermin population and maintenance problems.
Parking could also be consolidated to make room for residence facilities.
If parking garages were built on several of the larger parking lots, other lots could be used to build dorms.
The garages would likely provide more overall parking, a blessing to commuters, especially in light of how many students are being forced off campus to find a place to live.
The University is currently working with private developers like Philadelphia management (the operators of the Kardon Building and the new Elmira Jeffries Apartments) to create off campus living options.
While some students have jumped at the chance, these “luxury” facilities are not what the majority of Temple’s students, many of who are coming from working class families, are able to afford.
Many of the rooms in these buildings were available through Temple this year at regular housing rates, but this is not a permanent arrangement.
The other side of the housing crisis coin is the increasing enrollment.
While it is understandable that the University wants to admit more tuition-paying students in these lean financial times, it is irresponsible for Temple to admit so many new students when it has no sure place for them to stay after their first year is completed.
It is not made clear to new students that housing is only guaranteed for them during their freshman year, and it is a shame that some students are now transferring because they were unable to get it.
Until a solution to the housing problem is found, Temple should put a freeze on admissions to maintain the current enrollment levels so more students do not get the housing shaft.
University officials need to work with students and developers to find creative solutions to the problem within the space and financial restraints that exist, because the current attitude of “Oh well, you got a bad lottery number, go to our off-campus housing fair” is unacceptable.
The Temple News editorial board members are:
* Mike Gainer, Editor in Chief
* Jeremy Smith, Managing Editor
* Brian White, News Editor
* Kia Gregory, Opinion Editor
Letters to the editor can be submitted via our Web site @ www.temple-news.com under the “submissions” link. They can also be dropped off at the Temple News office located in the Student Center, Room 315.