In wake of increasing enrollment, six residence halls to reopen for fall 2018

A 16.8 percent increase in applications will likely bring in a larger freshman class.

Respect Hall will reopen next year due to an increase in freshman applications. Maneater file photo

The university announced at the UM System Board of Curators meeting on Thursday that six of the seven residence halls that were offline this year are set to reopen for the 2018-19 school year. The seventh, Responsibility, will be rented out by MU Health Care for an administrative building.

MU closed Center, Discovery, Excellence, McDavid, Responsibility, Respect and Schurz residence halls during the 2016-17 school year after seeing low freshman enrollment.

Some of those residence halls were used as guest housing for football weekends and other special events.

The reopening of these halls comes in the wake of a report that next year’s freshman class may see a rise in enrollment due to increased applications. This could end a two-year stretch of falling enrollment that many attribute to racial controversies on campus in 2015.

The university has received 16.8 percent more freshman applications than it had at this time last year, jumping from 15,060 to 17,583, according to a Jan. 29 MU News Bureau release. This is significant for MU Residential Life, as the only students required to live on campus are freshmen.

Transfer applications also saw an increase, rising from 806 to 904.

Residence Halls Association President Maggie Recca is also excited about some of the residence halls reopening.

“I know last year we were a little bummed whenever some of the halls got closed, which really they went offline because of enrollment, and enrollment is looking really good for next year,” Recca said.

Recca said that growth in the number of operating residence halls and students living on campus means growth for RHA.

“Just on a logistical level, if there’s more students and more halls, we’re gonna have more hall governments,” she said. “We’re gonna have more representatives.”

She said she is also optimistic about what this means financially for RHA.

“We are completely funded by the social fee money that students pay,” Recca said. “We’re a completely student-run organization, completely funded by students. So if we have more students, we have more money and we’re able to do more things.”

These reopenings aren’t just for first-year students. Recca said RHA and the Department of Residential Life have been pushing for returning students to live on campus as well.

“I know there’s this idea that you live on campus one year and then you move off, which is totally fine because that works for some people, but ... if you are a freshman and you want to live on campus again next year, we hope you would consider living on campus just as much as living off of campus,” Recca said.

As for the university in general, Recca said she sees this as a sign of MU bouncing back.

“I think this is just a very positive step for Mizzou because it means that we are making improvements,” she said. “I think that every university goes through a time when they might hit a bump, where enrollment goes down, and we’re kind of coming up from that, and I think that we’re coming back stronger.”

Edited by Skyler Rossi | srossi@themaneater.com

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