Record number of MU freshmen prompt more temporary housing

Monday, August 20, 2012 | 9:31 p.m. CDT; updated 1:50 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 21, 2012
MU students walk through Tiger Plaza in front of Jesse Hall on the first day of classes Monday. The number of students enrolled at MU this semester has grown to 34,255.

COLUMBIA — A lack of MU residence hall spaces has left freshmen sleeping in study rooms, rooming with student staff members and living in off-campus accommodations.

The temporary living situations are due to a record-breaking number of incoming freshmen. This fall, 6,560 freshmen enrolled at MU, up from 6,168 in fall 2011. First-year enrollment has been steadily increasing for years — by more than 1,500 since 2007.

First-day enrollment


  • 6,560 first-time freshman, up 392 from fall 2011
  • 1,261 minority freshmen, up 392 from fall 2011
  • 26,821 undergraduates, up 1,007 from fall 2011
  •  34,255 total students, up 937 from fall 2011

Columbia College

  • 2,533 day and evening students, up 221 from fall 2011

Stephens College 

  • Nearly 900 students this year, down by about 130 from fall 2011

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"The fact that we are having more and more freshmen is something we need to get used to," said Frankie Minor, director of MU Residential Life. "We are also seeing a lot of freshmen coming from out of state."

To accommodate the increasing number of freshmen, extended campus housing has been expanded and temporary housing created.

This year, the number of beds at Tiger Diggs south of campus was increased from 335 in fall 2011 to 436 this year. Study rooms in the Hudson and Gillett halls have been temporarily converted into rooms and student staff members paired with a freshman as roommates.

The number of students in temporary housing has edged up from fewer than 25 in fall 2011 to 80 this year, paralleling the increase in enrollment. The students will remain in temporary housing for two weeks to three months until cancellations are finalized.

Taylor Rand, a freshman rooming with a student staff member in McDavid Hall, said the situation was understandable.

"It’s not too frustrating," Rand said. "I understand the freshmen overload that they have, not having enough rooms. I just hope it’s not permanent."

While all freshmen that met the May 15 housing deadline received a spot in a residence hall, those who registered after the date were not guaranteed a room. About 200 freshmen missed the deadline. Of those, 100 received accommodations.

"We don’t ever want to have to turn a student away, particularly an incoming freshman. ... " Minor said. "It’s disappointing in the sense that I would love to have as many of those students on campus as best we can."

Minor said an idea under consideration would eliminate a spring deadline and issue contracts on a first-come, first-served basis.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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Jeremy Calton August 21, 2012 | 2:22 a.m.

If you've ever noticed the quonset huts around town, those were all built post WW-II as a response to the same phenomenon. Why don't we just put up some more of them?

(Report Comment)
Jeremy Calton August 21, 2012 | 12:01 p.m.

If you've ever seen the quonset huts around town, those were built for the same reason during the post-WW II G.I. Bill boom. Why don't we build some more of those?

(Report Comment)

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