Record enrollment, retention rates could cause housing problems at UK

Students express unhappiness on social media
Posted at 1:19 PM, Jul 22, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Record retention rates and high enrollment numbers are normally a good thing for a university. Unfortunately, it's leading to a housing headache for students.

A student reached out to LEX 18 to investigate allegations that UK has overbooked their campus housing. Meanwhile, an individual has started an Instagram page illustrating their disdain for their living situations.

A letter sent to Resident Advisers on behalf of the schools Res life stated that there are currently 500 overbooked room assignments "conservatively." However, the highest figure could be upwards of 900.

LEX 18 received a statement from concerned RA's at UK that said, in part, "As Resident Advisors, we find this situation to be untenable for our residents. RA's are given single rooms for one primary reason: to create a space for resident's and their RA's to talk privately and with anonymity. In this case, privacy means that no other person will learn what was discussed unless it is paramount to individual's safety and anonymity means no resident will know who came to talk to the RA. This space is fundamental to the ability of a RA to do their job."

The statement also said that RA's have been told that there will be an "RA Office" set up in each dorm room that is affected.

The statement ended with the following: "Ultimately, the current situation is not ideal for anybody. This is an incredibly difficult time for everybody involved, and we ask that everyone keep level heads when coming to a solution. Outrage and anger will not solve our problems, only exacerbate them. We RA's look forward to continuing the conversation with administration to ensure our residents have the highest quality experience."

LEX 18 reached out to a spokesperson with the university and they acknowledged a temporary issue that they are working to resolve.

“The value of a University of Kentucky degree is exemplified by our record first-year enrollment and record retention rates. More students, both first-year and returning, want to live in our on-campus housing because we know that decision results in higher grade point averages and great academic success. The result is a temporary capacity issue. With student success as our core value, our residence life and housing staff are developing solutions in partnership with our resident advisers. We will communicate a more specific plan this week and will be communicating directly with students and parents. We will honor our obligations and ensure that UK students who have a fall 2019 housing application to live on campus will receive an assignment," UK spokesperson Jay Blanton tells LEX 18.

This year's incoming freshman class has more than 5,450 students enrolled presently. UK also has a record number of returning students (2,425) who live in residence halls and will return to the dorms.

The university says they are doing the following to help alleviate some of the growth:

  • They are adding 6,850 new beds across 14 residence halls over the past five years.
  • Residence halls were designed so that certain spaces could be converted to additional housing space, with all the same amenities offered in standard rooms – including restrooms with showers.
  • Every eligible UK student who completed a housing application will receive a housing assignment before the start of the fall term.
  • Students who have already received a housing assignment will not be moved.
  • Those assigned to a converted room are being offered significant savings on their rooms, along with other benefits.

If you have questions about UK's housing policies, you can contact the Campus Housing Office at 859-257-1866.