Dorms at Kent State Over Capacity for Fall Semester

More than 6,300 students will be living on campus when school starts later this month

It's a familiar problem: overcrowding in the residence halls at .

This year marks the fourth year in a row when more students than there is room for will be living on campus at the start of the school year.

Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services at Kent State, said they expect to start the school year with all 6,260 beds on campus full and another 100 or so students in "transitional housing" for a total occupancy of 101.5 percent.

"We have identified approximately 130 spaces in the residence halls that will be converted into what we call ‘transitional housing,'" Joseph said in an email. "Transitional housing spaces are rooms on student floors that we normally use as lounge space for students."

The residence hall overcrowding should come as no surprise.

Kent State is expecting at the Kent campus this fall and stopped accepting submissions for fall this summer. The previous record for the freshman class was set in 2009 with 4,030.

And in recent years. In spring 2011, Kent State set an all-time high for spring enrollment at 39,936. That number compares with 38,196 in spring 2010 — the previous record for spring enrollment.

In the fall, the university set an all-time high for total enrollment at 41,365 across all eight campuses — making Kent State the second-largest university in Ohio behind only Ohio State University.

In the same time frame, since 2009 Kent State has torn down or repurposed several of its residence halls. Seven of the Small Group dorms near the intersection of Loop Road and Summit Street were torn down in 2009, and this summer the university started closing its Allerton Apartments as it prepares to demolish the entire complex by 2015.

And the former Harbourt and Heer residence halls near the Kent State Ice Arena are being renovated into administrative offices.

So with all these new students, is Kent State planning to build new residence halls to house them?

"At this time, Kent State has no plans to build new residence halls in the near future," Kent State spokesperson Emily Vincent said.

Joseph said the university is working with students who have to live in lounges, or transitional housing, this fall because of the overcrowding. Lounge spaces converted into rooms are priced 25 percent lower than the cost of a standard double room.

"We have reached out to some upper-class students and offered to release them from their housing contract in an effort to open up some more beds for freshmen," Joseph said. "In mid-July, we also had to stop accepting housing applications from anyone other than new freshmen who meet certain criteria."

All the transitional rooms have the usual amenities of regular rooms, Joseph said, but three to four students will live in a converted lounge until another room opens up later in the semester through attrition as students drop out or transfer to other schools.

And though the dorms are crowded, there are benefits to living in a residence hall, Joseph said.

Students who live on campus have a higher grade point average than their counterparts who live off campus. And students living on campus have a higher persistence rate — meaning they continue taking classes towards eventual graduation — than their off-campus counterparts, according to data provided by the university on its website.

"Most institutions, if they have a residency requirement at all, only require students to live on campus the freshman year," Joseph said. "We see real benefits academically to living on campus the first two years."

MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH August 14, 2011 at 01:03 AM
where did you get that "fact" you know saying it's a fact doesn't make it so...
Chriss August 14, 2011 at 01:12 AM
That "fact" is stated in the letters I received from both Silver Oaks and Capstone. It is the ONLY reason we were told to move out.
David Badagnani August 14, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Haven't you been following this story over the past weeks, as most other Northeast Ohio citizens with a conscience have? The information that the seniors were being evicted in order to fill the complex with college students was reported as early as July 23, 2011. College student housing is the only thing the Alabama-based Capstone Development Corp. does. And the Silver Oaks residents were certainly not invited to come live there again once the renovations have been completed. "According to its website, Capstone Development Corp. is the division within Capstone Companies focused on the development of student housing communities, both on and off campus. "The firm’s collective student housing development reflects more than $3 billion in project costs with more than 60,000 beds and 121 projects across the U.S. "Its on-campus developments on 58 campuses totaling more than 36,500 beds in 77 projects and off-campus developments totaling more than 21,900 beds in 41 projects. It also has three campus-affiliated developments totaling more than 2,000 beds in three projects." http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/5070617
MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH August 14, 2011 at 01:22 AM
yeh yeh even a heartless bastard like myself can read the news. what i was referring to was this statement, "It has everything to do with dorm overcrowding which was the subject matter." i read this as the "conspiracy theory" that KSU was behind it.
Jon Ridinger August 14, 2011 at 02:12 AM
If the dorm overcrowding was the direct cause of what's going on at Silver Oaks, then it seems odd the university would wait for the 4th consecutive year of the dorms being over capacity to secretly get Silver Oaks to go to student housing and do it in a way that doesn't alleviate the problem until at the earliest, next fall. In reality, it's a combination of enrollment growth at KSU driving the demand for rental housing here combined with the declining occupancy and aging state of the buildings at Silver Oaks. I'd be very interested to know what the occupancy rate was at Silver Oaks when the announcement was first made. From what I've heard from people I know who lived there recently, there were quite a few empty apartments. If anyone can get some hard numbers, I would love to see them. And actually, senior citizens likely could rent again at Silver Oaks, but I doubt they would want to. "Student Housing" is just who they market to. It's not an age-restricted community only for college students, which is not just 18-22 year olds. The difference is that there'd be tons of college students in the complex and rent would probably be a lot higher with a different contract structure. Again, I don't rejoice or find joy in saying that, but that's the reality we're probably facing.


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