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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Res Life prepares for record-high enrollment

MU intends to use only one extended campus location.

After an influx of freshmen to MU in fall 2010 resulted in a housing shortage and created problems for the Department of Residential Life, the university is preparing for what could be an even larger freshmen class for the upcoming fall semester.

As of Feb. 7, the university had received 16,733 applications and accepted 13,406. That’s up 505 applications and 199 acceptances from last year, however, only 3,658 enrollment deposit fees have been received, down 613 from last year, said Ann Korschgen, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management.

Despite the increase in applicants, Res Life is planning on using only one extended campus location, rather than the three it used this year.

“Our goal is to not have any freshmen (in extended campus housing),” Residential Life Director Frankie Minor said. “Now with that said, that was our goal at this point last year when the freshman class size jumped by about over earlier predictions 500.”

Residential Life is negotiating contract terms with extended campus locations. They will consider pricing, reliability and students’ past experiences, Minor said. That decision could be made as early as the end of the week.

“Our goal is that by the time students have to start signing contracts that we’ll have a clear indication of which space we’re going to be using,” Minor said.

Residential Life is capping the number of campus locations available for returning students at 2,000 for on-campus housing, and roughly 236 spaces on extended campus spaces. Minor said since exact enrollment numbers are impossible to pinpoint, Residential Life is keeping contact with the apartment complexes in case additional spaces are needed for freshmen.

“It’s kind of a tense period in the springtime here where I’m going to be touching base with the enrollment management folks,” he said.

Gillett Hall is set to re-open for the fall, creating 420 additional spaces. Minor also said some study rooms may be converted back to student rooms in order to gain even more space.

“Our first priority is to house as many of the incoming freshmen as we can,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Division of Information Technology has been taking steps to ensure ROAR does not face the database overload that it did last year.

“We are going to ask Residential Life to avoid using the Housing Director and MyHousing applications while ROAR is running at peak usage, because each application may lock database tables temporarily and slow processing,” DoIT Director Terry Robb said.

DoIT has also been working to increase the maximum number of processes between ROAR and the database. When ROAR opens, the application developer will be available to deal with complications.

“We are going to be on hand when the application is running to take calls,” Robb said.

This year, applicants have been split into four groups based on when their application was received. Last year, there were only three groups and 95 percent of students were in the first two groups.

“We’re hoping that by spreading those dates out and distributing them a little bit more, there will be a little bit less of a rush and a panic,” Minor said.

Residential Life is guaranteeing housing to incoming freshmen that complete a housing contract by May 16.

“We’re encouraging folks to be patient with us, but also to keep their options open,” Minor said.

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