published Friday, November 25th, 2011

Some UTC students still living in hotel rooms

FAST FACTS


• On-campus housing applications for fall 2011: 3,472.

• Residence hall demographics : 52 percent freshmen; 48 percent upperclassmen.

• Number of single-bed rooms converted to two-bed rooms: 18

Source: UTC

Kareem Bushnag signed up too late for UTC on-campus housing, so he was placed in a hotel room at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The semester is almost over, and the 18-year-old Knoxville native is still living in a hotel.

"There are not too many pros [about living in a hotel]," he said. "It's farther from campus; I have to take the shuttle. It's not as convenient; most of my friends are on-campus."

Of about 170 students placed in hotel rooms at the start of the semester, 51 still remain at the Choo Choo on Market Street, said Dee Dee Anderson, associate vice chancellor for student development at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The rest will be moved at the beginning of the spring semester, when some students now in campus housing graduate, transfer or don't return, she said.

About 2,900 students live in campus housing, Anderson said. Housing placements are first come, first serve, based on application dates.

UTC has been housing students in hotels for the last four years. Anderson said the school had 2,171 new freshmen at school this fall and received 3,472 on-campus applications, bringing enrollment to 11,429.

That leaves UTC at least 600 beds short, and the shortfall expected to grow, she said.

But the school is taking steps to lessen the problem.

About 150 students will be placed in the reopened Stagmaier Hall next fall, and 18 one-bed rooms have been converted into two-bed rooms.

Priority room renewal also will be given to rising sophomores for the 2012-13 school year, Anderson said.

"We found that, for retention of our students, those freshman and sophomore students really benefit from being on campus, socially, academically," she said.

Far more freshmen and sophomores ask to live on campus than juniors and seniors, she said.

Bushnag said he doesn't plan to stay in on-campus housing past his freshman year.

"I should have a car and a job by my sophomore year," he said.

Vivian Morimoto, from Brazil, is a senior and a softball player who lives in the dorms.

The 23-year-old sociology major acknowledges she is one of the few upperclassmen to live on-campus.

"I don't have a car to move around, and I can't afford to live off campus," Morimoto said.

The school is looking into acquiring more land for housing as part of its master plan, including on M.L. King Boulevard and along Vine Street to the northwest, but Anderson said those plans are still in their early stages.

about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

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