Increased freshman attendance at UTC leaves upperclassmen without a place to live

By Laura Milton

CHATTANOOGA(UTC/The Loop)– It is no secret that housing on UTC’s campus is limited if you ask any student on campus, but this year it has grown even worse with increased freshman acceptance, leaving the university with little options.

When you access the UTC campus housing website a pop-up appears reading “UTC Housing upperclass rooms are currently full for Fall 2011 – Spring 2012.  For waiting list information, click here.” It immediately directs students to a waiting list information page, explaining their options to get a room.

Stophel - UTC place

UTC Place 3000 Building on a typical school day.

Rosie Smith, a Nashville freshman, was one of these students who wanted to return to campus housing, however, she wanted to change complexes, which is how her dilemma began.  Students who wanted to change complexes had to wait until the very last day to register.  But little did Smith know that by the time it was her turn to register all rooms on campus were full, leaving her and her three roommates homeless.  “Our plan at the moment is to live off campus unless we can scheme a way to get back on campus, because FAFSA doesn’t give as much money for when you live off campus.”

All freshmen have to live on campus, meaning there are fewer rooms for upperclassmen that want to live on campus. With the increased enrollment each year, more “freshman only” rooms have to be reserved for the incoming class. Which leaves upperclassmen to find their own place to live.

About 3,000 students live on campus, but the UTC spring 2010 demographics statistics indicate that 1,966 freshman attended school last year.  That only leaves about 1,000 rooms for the remaining upperclassmen, and even those statistics are outdated.

The university has tried many things to house all students on campus, like putting students in hotels, putting six people to a room in Lockmiller, and talks of renovating Stagmeier Hall.  However, the university may have one more trick up it’s sleeve.

Stephen Turner, an Assistant Resident Director for the university said the UTC has discussed plans of adding another complex.  “[UTC] has a plan for a new complex, it’s not set in stone, but it has been brought up.”

“We are doing all we can to make living on campus a great experience for students, but the university just keeps accepting students and there’s nothing we can do about that.” Turner continues.  Usually all freshman are moved out of the hotel by the Spring semester from transfers and drop-outs.

Along with big changes already made on campus, there may be new changes for next school year.  Turner also explains that “Guerry, or the 1000 building, will be an all freshman apartment beginning in the fall, and that certain floors in each complex will also be all freshman.”

Hopefully, in the future upperclassmen students will have more options than living off campus.

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