It’s the kind of problem most campus administrators would like to have: too many students. But the price of success can also pose daunting challenges. With this year’s record class of nearly 900 freshmen—the most in school history—the University was faced with fitting 830 of them into 770 available beds on campus.
“It’s a good problem to have,” says Ron Slepitza, vice president for student development. “Only thing is, it’s like the pig going through the snake. Freshmen tend to become sophomores.”
Which means the situation could be worse next year. Adding to the challenge is that this is also the highest percentage of students overall to demand housing, with more students from outside the region and more Cincinnati students wanting to live on campus. By mid-summer, Slepitza and the housing staff had employed several strategies to free up as many beds as possible. Initially there were 718 available beds for freshmen and sophomores, who are guaranteed on-campus housing, says Lori Lambert, director for the office of residence life. But that number rose to 770 as some upper-class students decided to move off campus and additional bed space was created by converting study lounges into bedrooms. At one point, they were 100 beds short.
Among the other solutions: seeking students willing to triple up in a double room at below the normal triple room rate; encouraging upper class students in single rooms to double up; converting University houses to student housing; putting more honors students in the Buenger honors dorm by converting suite areas into extra bedrooms; and asking students whose parents work at Xavier to live at home their first year.
The remaining freshmen were assigned to triple rooms. “It’s not a first choice to triple students. It’s a last choice,” Slepitza says.