Record Enrollments Causing Housing Crisis at Some Black Colleges

This year more than 11,000 students applied to Clark Atlanta University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia. The university accepted slightly more than half of its applicants. But a much higher than expected student yield caused a housing crunch on campus.

The high yield produced an incoming class that was 400 students larger than expected. Some 500 students arrived on campus without room assignments. Clark Atlanta scrambled to find dormitory space off campus at nearby educational institutions and in residential apartment complexes.

At Kentucky State University in Frankfort, the university stopped taking housing applications in July because it no longer had space to house any more students on campus. The university has made resident assistants double up in one room to make other rooms available for students. Computer lounges, conference rooms, and storage facilities have been converted into student rooms. Students in one dorm are being housed in the basement and have to go upstairs to take a shower. Some of these basement rooms house three students each. Students who opt for these converted rooms are given a housing discount. Other students are paying a premium to live in hotel rooms the university has procured off campus.

A similar crisis occurred at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. There, the incoming first-year class was 35 percent larger than expected. Students arrived on campus to find that there was no available housing. More than 100 students were without housing on the first day. The university secured 48 rooms at a local hotel to ease the shortage.