University makes preeminent progression in Expanded Housing


Four bunk beds, shared dressers, joint clothing racks, and the complete invasion of personal space — for freshmen David Hejnar, Kenneth Hines, and their six other roommates packed into the 12th floor study lounge of Slater Residence Hall — this surreal living situation has become home.

Despite crowded quarters, Hejnar boasts positively regarding expanded housing.

“It’s not all negative,” he said. “It kind of forces you to talk to more people considering I have six roommates, seven people all together. Privacy is kind of a problem, but otherwise I don’t mind it.”

Michael Barron, the UI assistant provost for Enrollment Management and executive director of Admissions, said expanded housing has and will always continue to be present at the university because inevitably some students who are accepted to the UI will decline their acceptance.

“Because of these behaviors, colleges and universities, including the UI, offer admission to many more students than we know will accept our admission offer and ultimately enroll,” he said.

“Understanding the trends in students’ decision-making allows both Admissions and Housing to closely monitor these numbers and to anticipate the likely enrollment and housing needs.”

Although expanded housing has occupied university dormitories for more than 30 years now, the number of students put in expanding housing is decreasing.

Only 50 students are currently inhabiting residence hall study lounges in Stanley, Slater, and Daum this fall, down by one-third from last year.

Von Stange, the director of the UI Housing and Dining, said this can be accredited to the university leasing apartments in the area, adding 107 beds.

“As evident this year, the problem has been reduced,” UI spokesman Tom Moore said. “The addition of the new residence hall should reduce the number of students in extended housing even further with the caveat that increased enrollment may change that outlook.”

The construction of a new dormitory on the West Campus is expected open in the fall of 2015 and to house 500 students and eliminate the need for the UI to lease apartments, Stange said.

Stange also said the university conducted focus groups and sent out a survey to students in expanded housing to examine how the experience impacted them.

“We asked how students were doing academically, were they socially inhibited, and if they had trouble transitioning to regular housing,” he said. “We want students to be successful, that is our main goal.”

All students in expanded housing are expected to be relocated by Oct. 1, and many students will be moved out this week. He said students in expanded housing also offer a financial benefit to other students, because they pay $10 a day before they are relocated.

“The more students we have in [expanded housing], the lower the rates will be for the next people because we’ll have excess dollars, and we can then be more aggressive on some of the renovations that we do,” Stange said. “So an extra hundred students could be an extra $600,000. In the end, it benefits everybody.”

UI freshman Hines said despite the often crammed living conditions and the additional qualms expanded housing may provide, a number of positives have surfaced.

“I’ve developed good friendships,” he said. “These guys are the first people I met on campus, and I can tell we will all be friends for a while.”

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