Not enough UW dorms to house all students

Not enough UW dorms to house all students

Not enough UW dorms to house all students

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by ERIC WILKINSON

KREM.com

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 5:26 PM

SEATTLE -- For four years, Racheal Jappert has dreamed of setting foot on the University of Washington campus.

She and her mom toured campus Thursday, but despite her acceptance, Racheal isn't feeling quite as welcome here as she'd like.

"Well, right now, it's a little frustrating because I don't have a place to stay," she said.

Just like about 900 UW students, Racheal doesn't have a place to live for the coming school year. That includes almost 10 percent of the new freshman class and about 550 transfer and graduate students.

Racheal is now forced to consider a $1,200 per month university-owned apartment. That's about $400 more than the dorm. Her mother, Tina, single with three more kids, says they'll make it work one way or another.

"It'll be a strain. I'm already working five jobs, so, I might have to add a few more," said Tina.

A third of UW's incoming freshmen are from out of state. That is part of the reason the University of Washington is closing dorm room doors to those who are from here. It's difficult and disappointing for Racheal, who lives two hours away in Oak Harbor.

"You go to college and part of the college experience is to get a dorm room and interact with all the new freshmen who are also super excited to be coming to a big community," Racheal said.

Out of state students pay nearly three times the tuition as in-staters, making them an attractive market for cash strapped schools like UW.  The situation leaves some wondering whether out-of-staters are getting preferential treatment when it comes to housing. 

UW Director of Housing Pam Schreiber says that's not the case, and that the school has seen increased demand for on-campus housing for the past several years.

For now, the university is asking students who live within 20 miles of the school to commute. They are putting three students in rooms designed for two and are converting rooms like lounges into sleeping areas. More help to ease the housing crunch is on the way in the form of four new dorms still under construction -- two of which will be open in time for the start of classes next month. More rooms are expected to open up, but not until winter semester, and even then, some students will be left out.

"There may not be a guarantee of housing for them. So, we'll continue to communicate with them," said Schreiber.

University officials say the best way to avoid this mess is to apply for a dorm the very first day they open up.

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