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ASU officials anticipate increase in student enrollment to affect housing availability


JONESBORO — With another expected enrollment increase at Arkansas State University next week, university officials are already preparing solutions for a shortage of available campus housing.

“The housing situation signifies that ASU is becoming a destination for students,” said Chancellor Tim Hudson. “This will be their home for the next four years and it’s a matter of supply and demand. We want to ensure that when they arrive on our campus, we have provided more than adequate residency conducive to studying and comfortable living.”

“We are making short term arrangements for 60 to 70 incoming freshmen to stay in a local hotel,” said Dr. Rick Stripling, ASU’s vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “We expect that they will be there for 10 days to about two weeks before we can work them back into the university housing system.”

Dr. Stripling said the university has an obligation to the new students, especially those who are attending ASU on scholarship, to secure them a place to stay.

“We have been working with a couple of hotels to negotiate room rates for housing assignments and they have been extremely cooperative,” added Patrick Dixon, director for Residence Life.

Additionally, Jonesboro Economic Transit System (JETS) will transport students from the hotels to the ASU campus throughout the day to attend classes at no cost to the students.

Arkansas State’s enrollment figures have steadily increased for the last decade and Dr. Stripling noted that the student population is growing faster than housing can be constructed. He points to projected numbers for fall 2012 enrollment as a “good sign.”

Dr. Stripling mentioned that several construction projects are underway to alleviate housing issues. The Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) is also undergoing a new construction project with a 100-bed addition that should be available for use in the fall of 2013.         

Groundbreaking for Greek sorority housing was held in April 2012 with five houses to be constructed and with 100 students to reside in the new facilities. This will mark the first time in university history that sorority chapters have had individual housing.

The university will construct and own the facilities for those sororities that have signed lease agreements guaranteeing occupancy and additional support from the national chapters for common spaces. Revenues generated by the lease agreements will repay the bonds issued to construct the sorority houses.