August 01, 2011 12:00AM
Pittsburg State University's residence halls will be full this fall. PSU's Office of University Housing announced in July that it has contracts for all of its available rooms and is now putting students on a waiting list.
The university's nine residence halls can house just over 1,300 students, according to Dr. Steve Erwin, associate vice-president for campus life and auxiliary services. That includes Crimson Commons, a new apartment-style residential complex that opened last year. In 2010-11, the university had a record 1,201 students living in residence halls.
Erwin said the number of housing contracts coming into the university has been significantly higher this summer than in previous years.
"Typically we see 10 to 12 contracts per week during June and July," Erwin said. "This summer we've seen that number reach as high as 30 per week."
Erwin said students on the waiting list still have hope of getting a room because there are always some cancelations as the beginning of the semester nears. For others, he said, the university will assist in any way it can, including relaxing the freshman campus residency policy.
University officials attribute the increase in housing numbers to several factors, including a recent push to renovate residence halls.
"We're halfway through our six-year, $12 million residential hall renovation plan," explained Dr. Erwin. "We've already renovated two halls and are completing Tanner Hall as we speak. In addition, we opened the $10 million Crimson Commons apartment complex last year. We've made a major commitment to modernize our student housing, and it's extremely gratifying to see students responding to the improvements."
An additional factor in the increase may be the success of the Gorilla Advantage program, which offers in-state tuition to qualified students in contiguous counties outside of Kansas.
"The Gorilla Advantage program has been a great success for our campus," said Dr. Bill Ivy, associate vice president of enrollment management and student success. "Our numbers continue to increase, and we're seeing a great response from students in the northwest Arkansas region. It's likely that at least a portion of the increase is coming from these students, which is great for our campus and our community."
Erwin said filling up the residence halls makes it a challenging time for the housing staff, but the problem is a reflection of some very good things happening on campus.
"I think it shows just how attractive Pittsburg State is throughout the region," Erwin said.