As many as 200 incoming Ithaca College students may be sleeping in dorm lounges this Fall, with approximately 1,830 new students expected to enroll in the fall, one of the largest enrollments in the school's history.
Larry Metzger, Dean of Enrollment Planning at the college, said that even though the numbers are high, they should not be considered an over-enrollment. Metzger said that last year's smaller than expected enter class and large graduation class led to 90 fewer students than panned.
"The college's planning team had anticipated that, given the graduation of a second exceptionally large class this spring, it would take two years to return to the desired stable enrollment level," he said. "Our success with this year's entering class increases the likelihood we will meet our goal."
However, Metzger warns that the increased amount of incoming students can cause housing problems.
Bonnie Prunty, Director of Residential Life at the college, said that the college is working hard to minimize the number of students needing accommodation. The college has offered the first 100 returning or transfer students who apply for off campus housing a $1500 incentive.
Despite this incentive, the rental market in Ithaca hasn't changed. Shane Varricchio, co-owner of Certified Properties in Ithaca, said that he is excited about the college's decision to offer money to students because this year's rental season has been slow. Owners that usually rent out property on their own have been calling his company for assistance in finding people to lease and many of his rental properties are still available.
"I really haven't seen a whole lot of fallout," he said about the college's over-enrollment for housing.
Varricchio also said that the college makes it difficult for property owners because they do not have benchmark dates as to when they will be approving students for off-campus housing.
Most sophomores and juniors at the college live on campus, and need specific approval from the office of residential life to move off. However this year sophomores, juniors and seniors are being encouraged to apply. To be approved, students must also complete an online educational module on living off campus and have a parent's signature if under 21 years of age.
The college also plans to offer temporary housing by converting dorm lounges to student rooms. In return for living in temporary housing, students will receive a $512 rebate on move-in day, free cable TV service and a microwave/fridge combination.
Prunty said that there is usually temporary housing due to the number of students not matching up to the number of designated spaces. For example, there may be too many rooms that are non-smoking or for a certain gender. However this year's over-enrollment has made numbers for temporary housing much larger. At the time of the interview, Prunty estimated that about 200 students could be placed in the temporary housing for the Fall semester, but with off-campus incentives she is hopeful that the number will decrease.
The college saw a similar situation five years ago, when it had its largest enrollment ever.
"There's a workable solution because we've been here before and dealt with these numbers before," Prunty said.
In 2000, about 180 students were placed in temporary housing, with as many as six students being placed in some dorm lounges and double rooms converted into triples. Prunty said that the college will not use forced triples this year and that the lounge space will be enough.