Decreased enrollment leaves vacancies

By Jayna Ronayne

Decreased enrollment this semester has led to a high number of vacancies in NIU residence halls.

Jack Felver, NIU associate director of housing, said the planned cutback in enrollment led to the open spaces.

Associate Director of Admissions Bob Burk said the decrease in freshmen and new transfer students was a result of NIU President John La Tourette’s directing the university to reduce admissions this year. Last semester, La Tourette announced plans to reduce enrollment by about 600 students this fall.

“As far as I can tell, there are approximately 200 spaces open,” Felver said.

“The original plan was to decrease the number of new students by 400,” Burk said. “It was a planned reduction … housing knew of it, too, and if they’re only down 200, then they’re ahead of the game.”

Gregory Post, an officer of the Residence Hall Association, also said the reason for the open spaces was a “direct result of the decision to cut enrollment.”

“We are down considerably,” he said, “but it was expected and we prepared for it.”

The vacancies have left some students with unrequested single rooms, which wastes space and could wind up costing NIU money. NIU’s solution is to create more singles. “A couple weeks down the line, we will be offering more single rooms to students,” he said.

However, this will also force students to move in with each other, creating the additional singles, or to pay the price difference between a double and a single room. The forced moves would cause inconvenience to students and possibly could have been avoided when room assignments were initially figured out.

A double room runs about $1400-$1500 a semester, depending on meal plan. Singles cost an additional amount, about $400.

Burk also said the actual decrease in enrollment was not available at this time because “students are still registering, and it’s hard to tell during the first week. You have to allow those moving in to move in, and those who are leaving to leave.”

As for the official figures on the reduction in students, Burk said, “There is a report made to the state after the first week, but the official report will be within the first four weeks of school.”