Freshmen in hotels set to move on campus

Ninety incoming freshmen were living in local hotels awaiting rooms in residential halls just two weeks ago, due to Tech’s open enrollment policy. Everyone who enrolls and pays a deposit is guaranteed a room. No one is turned away from Tech, no matter how outrageous the overflow.

“We have open enrollment, and we guarantee housing,” Charlie Mackie, Residential Life director, said. “Typically it’s not an issue, but enrollment has gone up every year for the past several years. Our retention rate also contributed 200 returning students that combined with the additional freshmen, causing the overflow.”

The 90 incoming freshmen were dispersed between Days Inn and Country Hearth hotels. The first week of school there were around 90 “no-shows,” or students who had reserved rooms on campus that never came. These “no-shows” allowed beds in resident halls for most of the 90 students. As of now, the remaining six to eight students staying at Country Hearth will hopefully to be out of the hotel by tomorrow.

Although freshmen are required to live on campus, any who preferred not to stay in hotels were wavered to live off campus as a first-year student.

“Generally the first couple weeks of school we lose 20 to 30 students that will go home for various reasons: college wasn’t for them, or they need to work,” Mackie said. “This number is in addition to the 90 who registered but never showed up.”

The room rate for these students is the base rate, the least expensive, and once they move, it will be prorated, depending on how long and in which resident hall they are placed.

Accommodations provided for the students during their hotel stay include a residential assistant as well as a hall director at each location, and each student is assigned a hall on campus to wash their laundry. A CATS bus stop was also placed near the hotel, so if they choose not to drive, the bus system is at their disposal.

The remaining six to eight students who are living in a hotel is a drastic change from last year, when most of the students lived in hotels the entire semester due to construction of New Hall North.

“Last year, we were in the hotel for the whole first semester because we didn’t have New Hall North providing 338 beds, and it cost us over $100,000,” Mackie said.

Ideally, Tech would like not to put anyone in hotels. However, if Tech started turning potential students away, there would be 90 plus rooms empty this semester. Therefore, the open enrollment policy ensures our residence halls will be at maximum capacity.

“The more people you have, the less it costs to operate,” Mackie said. “During these tough times in the economy, our budget is cut. When we have higher enrollment, it’s a great thing for Tech.