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'Uncertainty is difficult': Parents of incoming UK freshman talk housing concerns

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Posted at 11:08 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 23:13:15-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The University of Kentucky is preparing to welcome its largest incoming class on record, with about 6,000 first-year students expected to attend.

One of those students is Matthew Coomer, 18, of Lexington, who hopes he can just find a place to live on campus.

"I do feel like it's going to be fine," Lee Coomer, Matthew's mom, said. "But what if it's not?"

The Coomers told LEX 18 that when they went online to complete the room selection process last week, they saw a message they did not expect to receive.

"It said there are no rooms at this time," Coomer recounted.

The Coomers had heard murmurs that other families had trouble finding their preferred dorms, but they were hoping they could find at least one option.

Instead, they received a message titled "Housing Update," thanking the Coomers for their interest in University of Kentucky Campus Housing.

"UK has experienced an unprecedented level of interest from first-year students around the country," the message read.

Another paragraph advised parents that if their child was not able to select a room "by the close of the room selection process on July 17, 2022, please continue to check the UK Campus Housing website and your UKY email for updates."

"The fear is if we wait until we hear the plan in the middle of July then rental properties very close to campus will be limited, if available at all," Coomer said.

A UK spokesperson told LEX 18 that over the next several weeks, rooms will become available as students inform the university about changes to their plans.

"Someone from the housing assignment team will reach out by July 15 once a space has been made available," Jay Blanton, the UK spokesperson, said.

The Coomers want their son to have the on-campus housing experience, but they worry they may be boxing themselves into a corner.

"They're saying that there will be enough rooms," Coomer said. "But the uncertainty of it is difficult."

Adding to the stress is the fact that if they break the housing contract they signed in January in order to look for housing elsewhere, they'll be charged with a penalty of 30% of the lowest housing facility rate for both Fall and Spring semesters.

Blanton told LEX 18 that extenuating circumstances or hardship issues may prompt the university to provide a waiver, but he would not comment on any specific case.