Some freshmen forced off-campus by overcrowding

By: 

News Reporter

This semester, growing numbers of incoming students have forced 21 freshmen to live off-campus without exemptions.           

New freshmen under the age of 20 with fewer than 30 credit hours are required to live in on-campus university housing. All students who graduate from high school within the preceding 12 months of the semester of their admission are also required to live on-campus.

Despite the recent completion of new dorms, Margaret Yackel, coordinator for off-campus living, said as of Aug. 4 the university housing dorms had reached capacity and the remaining 21 freshmen without exemption were to live off-campus.

Freshmen had to consider other living arrangements with university housing unavailable. Yackel assists students in locating alternative housing.

“It’s all about an educational approach and the continuing efforts to work with students,” Yackel said. “I do one-on-one apartment locating with students depending on their needs.”

Students can choose from approved Act Ally Member apartments, she said.

Act Ally Members are recognized as engaging in “reputable and fair business practices,” according to the Texas State website.

The Department of Housing and Residential Life has joined with the Center for Student Retention to reach out to students and keep them informed and involved on-campus, Yackel said.

Retention coordinator Naomi Valdez said communication with freshmen will be conducted through e-mail and promoted on social media.

“We have a list of all the students living off-campus, which includes the 21 students that housing was not available for as well as the more than 300 students living off-campus with exemptions,” Valdez said. “It’s going to be difficult because they are going to be living in apartments and at home with their families.”

The university fosters a “freshmen on-campus” atmosphere that can be beneficial to students. Valdez said the university wants students to be informed about resources and know they are not being forgotten because they live off-campus.

Some universities do not require freshmen to live on-campus, Valdez said.

“Here at Texas State, we think freshmen living on-campus is a strong component of our school,” Valdez said. “We want students to feel like they are part of a community.”

It is uncertain if future freshmen will continue to live off-campus without exemptions. Valdez hopes to have enough space for all freshmen in the future.

“With the expectation that the we will keep growing as a university, we will keep planning for this,” Valdez said. “The immediate goal is to get them involved and let them know about our resources.”

However, Andres Sanchez, former RA at Jackson Hall, feels the freshmen will be facing more challenges.

“I think they have a lot more going against them,” Sanchez said. “Drugs, alcohol and parties are off-campus.”

Living in a dorm fosters a “positive academic atmosphere” and provides a “solid foundation” based on support from the very beginning, Sanchez said.

 “You get to know your resources, like the counseling center, attorney for students, and you are up to date about things like registering, and living on-campus is how you build that community,” Sanchez said. “In the dorms is where you make friends for life.”

However, Sanchez believes some aspects of living off-campus may benefit freshmen.

“It exposes them to the hardships of living on their own, like signing their own lease and setting up electricity and Internet,” Sanchez said.