Dorm application numbers down

BY SHAWN GUDE | MARCH 26, 2009 7:40 AM

For UI students who have been relegated to temporary housing over the years, it may come as a shock that empty dorms — rather than overcrowded ones — could be a problem next school year.

But at least for now, housing applications for fall 2009 are down, University Housing Director Von Stange said.

His theory for the decline? The seemingly catchall scapegoat — the economic recession.

“Applications may be down based on the fact that people are waiting longer to determine whether or not to come,” Stange said, and because of economic malaise, “people aren’t going to throw out housing deposits to a lot of schools.”

Returning student applications are up more than 100 from fall 2008 applications at this time a year ago — 1,699 to 1,568 — as of Feb. 28, the most recent figures available. New applications are down significantly, however, from 4,503 for the fall of 2008 to 4,225 for this coming fall.

The numbers don’t come as a surprise to City High senior Dyllan McIntosh, an incoming freshman.
“It doesn’t really surprise me, because you can find cheaper housing,” said McIntosh, who will live off-campus. “And you don’t need it as much to find new people to hang out with. That used to be how you met new friends. Now, you can just go on the computer.”

( Daily Iowan video feature )

Video in QuickTime format, click here for free player download

Still, Stange maintained a glass-half-full attitude on the preliminary estimate, and he remains sanguine the applications may start to pour in.

“The Burge addition is almost full with returning students,” he said. “Obviously, we’re concerned with our beds being full. But at the same token, it provides us with options that we haven’t had before.”

For example, he said, temporary housing would be down, and unsatisfied students could change rooms with greater ease.

Incoming freshman Tyler Shoemaker, also a senior at City High, saw positives and negatives to a possible dip in dorm residents.

“Temporary housing would almost be eliminated, so it could have benefits,” said Shoemaker, who also thought Stange’s economic explanation was a plausible one. “But in general, the university could have fewer students. It’s kind of like a Catch-22.”

While his department isn’t planning on having vacant floors, Stange conceded there was a possibility of floors devoid of students. The location of such floors largely depends on where students apply, the housing director said.

In Mayflower, he said, the university has put off hiring some resident assistants.

“When we see the numbers return, we will hire RAs to fill those floors,” Stange said. “We are simply being good stewards of the students’ room-and-board dollars.”

In response to the decline in projected residents, the university has also mounted a visible pro-dorm campaign.

Colorful, handmade posters on billboards adorn resident-hall walls, lauding the benefits of dorm life — its proximity to classes, high-speed Internet, etc.

And that push may buoy the dwindling numbers.

“Right now, applications for returning students are up, so in that sense, it’s been very successful for us,” Stange said.

Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Home Service Guides  
Life Insurance DMI Furniture
Custom Magnets Buy a text ad

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.