UGA paying some students to live off campus

Russell Hall, with 970 beds, has the highest occupancy capacity of any of UGA’s residential units. (File/staff)

University of Georgia fall semester enrollment could set another record.

 

UGA officials don’t yet know for sure, but early indications point in that direction.

Admissions officials expect a “large incoming class with a higher-than-expected increase in the percentage of students accepting our offer of admission,” according to Greg Trevor, UGA’s executive director for media communications.

Last year about half the students who applied to UGA were admitted, 53 percent. About half of those admitted enrolled in UGA fall semester classes — a freshman class of 5,475. Most students apply to more than one college.

UGA sets new enrollment records most years, most recently in fall 2016, when enrollment edged up to 36,574 students.

The anticipated big freshman class has helped create a housing crunch on campus that’s led UGA officials to offer cash to students if they’ll agree to back out of their housing contracts.

UGA has 972 fewer beds than a year ago.

Russell Hall, one of the university’s three high-rise dormitories on Baxter Street, is undergoing a $44.5 million renovation. Its occupants are mainly first-year students, who are required to live on campus in that first year.

But many more students this year are signing contracts for residence hall space, more than the space available, so UGA is relaxing its rules.

The university is offering a $1,000 incentive to first-year students from Clarke and surrounding counties who agree to live off-campus their first year.

In fall 2016, according to the UGA Fact Book, UGA’s 24,335 Georgia-resident undergraduates included 1,805 from Clarke, Barrow, Jackson, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties. That figure includes undergraduates in four classes, not just the first-year class.

The university is also offering to pay $3,500 to non-first-year students who agree to cancel their on-campus housing contracts, and finally offering $3,500 discount to first-year students if they agree to live in Brown Hall, a 130-bed residence hall on UGA’s health sciences campus.

So far, reaction has been “positive” to the incentives, Trevor said.

UGA housing administrators believe part of UGA’s overbooking residence hall space may be attributable to another factor, Trevor said; a nationwide trend of students admitted to more than one university who book dorm space in two or more schools before they decide which one they’ll really attend.

Follow Lee Shearer at www.facebook.com/LeeShearerABH or https://twitter.com/LeeShearer.

 

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