Housing capacity limits student options

By Sarah Hillenbrand | 8/23/14 7:42pm


GVL / Archive Freshmen move in.

Housing at Grand Valley State University faces greater challenges with a growing freshmen class, more students wanting to live on campus and limited campus housing. While students who apply prior to May 1 are guaranteed on campus housing, students who apply later are responsible for finding somewhere to live.

“We’re seeing an increase in the freshmen class, so we see a rise of students living on campus,” said Andy Beachnau, associate vice provost for student affairs and director of housing and health services. “Unlike other campuses, we don’t require them to live on campus. Upperclassmen get to sign up (for housing) before freshmen, and we’re seeing an increase in the number of students who want to live on campus.”

According to data from Institutional Analysis, in fall 2013 there were 21,235 undergraduate students at GVSU. Of those, 4,124 were freshmen students. GVSU only has a university-owned housing capacity of 5,675. 

Beachnau said housing for this year is over 100 percent full, with some students placed in temporary housing, and that there will be around 6,000 students living on campus – a university record.

Beachnau added that there has been some discussion for new housing to be built, but that it still needs to be decided how big they want on campus housing to be. Some of the older housing on campus also needs to be replaced and upgraded, Beachnau said, which may come before building new housing.

“Everything is in play: build, upgrade or manage current housing,” he said. “At some point it’s like an airplane – we have to decide how many seats we want on the plane and at what point do you close the door.”

Living on campus as a freshman, while not required, is an important experience for first-year students, Beachnau said. If they applied for housing after the May 1 deadline though, he said they will probably be living off campus. 

“Living on campus is a gateway experience,” he said. “It’s where you meet friends and begin the Laker experience.”

For more information about living on campus, visit www.gvsu.edu/housing.


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