Incoming UK students, parents unhappy with new housing program

Parents of incoming University of Kentucky students say they are having a difficult time securing on-campus housing.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Parents of incoming University of Kentucky students say they are having a difficult time securing on-campus housing.

University officials say an influx of new students is partially to blame, and some parents say they aren’t satisfied with UK’s solution to the problem.

Dawn Norcia says the dorms at the University of Kentucky were a big draw for her incoming freshman son.

“When you see this, it’s like, ‘wow,’ it’s their selling point,” Norcia said.

However, Norcia says her son and many other first-year students are unable to get the rooms they want.

UK says the large incoming first-year class combined with an increased number of returning students looking to live on campus this fall is requiring the school to get creative in terms of utilizing dorm space.

“This year, we’re trying a new program which we’re excited about. It’s called ‘Tri it,’ and so we’re taking some Of our two-bedroom suites, and we’re making them for three people,” UK spokesperson Jay Blanton.

In a typical two-bedroom suite, each student has their own room. In a ‘tri-it’ room, bedroom two has two beds bunked, two desks and a dresser. The bunked beds will be offered at a discounted rate.

Some parents are less than impressed.

“They’re not even giving you two dressers,” said Norcia. “You don’t have room.”

According to UK, roughly 3,900 new students have been assigned room selection slots. The selection process is done in waves based on when students complete their housing applications.

The first wave included 1,200 students. As of Tuesday morning, 88% of these students had chosen a room, and of them, 47% selected tri-it spaces.

UK says all standard two-bedroom suites are full, leaving only four bedrooms and tri-it rooms available.

We also asked UK officials if they take the number of campus dorms into consideration when deciding how many new students to admit. They explained that while they are aligned, they are separate processes because not all students want to live on campus.

No student is required to live on campus at UK, that includes first-year students.

In 2020, there were over 73.1 million children under 18 in the United States. That was down 1.4% from 74.2 million in 2010. We got these statistics from the U-S Census Bureau.

The most significant decline was among the under-five age group, whose share of the population dropped by 8.9% or 1.8 million. This is consistent with the decline in the total number of births and the birth rate since 2015.

A look at the past decade shows a similar trend in Kentucky: a drop in the number of those under five and those between five and nine years old.

In its report, “Knocking at the College Door,” the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education projects that the number of high school graduates in Kentucky will peak in 2025 at 52,120, falling to 44,508 by 2030. That’s a 14.6% decline.

Recent in-state high school graduates aren’t the only pool for college and university enrollment. That report suggests they will need to increase enrollment among working-age adults and out-of-state students.