Aug 18, 2011

Housing Crunch at UVa May Slow Future Plans for Growth

It’s no surprise that the University of Virginia might be a little tight on freshman housing space this fall. The Governor wants more undergraduate degrees from public institutions, and UVa is anxious to comply.

But with growth comes adjustment, some of which might be a little uncomfortable over the short term.

According to a Charlottesville CBS affiliate, about 90 more first-year students than expected enrolled for the Class of 2015, resulting in a scramble to find space in dorms already bursting at the seams.

To accommodate the extra undergrads, “forced triples”—three students in space designed for two—will be offered to students rooming in the Gooch/Dillard Complex and four buildings in the Alderman Road “new dorms” area.

“The rooms that have been tripled all have an additional set of furniture installed so that all three students have the same furnishings and storage space,” said university officials. “The triple rooms are also only set up in facilities that are suite style so that in addition to the space in the room, all students have a lounge space directly adjacent to the room and they share the suite with a group that is either 7-12 students in size.”

Earlier this year, UVa announced an increase in class target target size—from 3240 in 2010 to 3360 in 2011. To accomplish this goal, Admissions extended offers to 7750 students this year, as compared to 7212 last.

Evidently, more students than originally projected took them up on the offer, and the unofficial class size is 3,450 (the final count will come in October after the dust settles).

How these additional students will affect admissions decisions for the Class of 2016 remains to be seen. Plans to comply with the Governor’s request for continued growth are in place, but housing and other university logistics need to keep pace.

For now, incoming first-years will have the opportunity to “de-triple” as cancellations or “other factors” open up space. But the extra 90 students combined with a 97 percent freshman retention rate, may make Admissions think carefully about plans for the next class.

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