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ECU overcrowding; some freshmen in temporary dorms

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They're growing pains brought on by a record-breaking number of incoming freshmen. They're growing pains brought on by a record-breaking number of incoming freshmen.
GREENVILLE, N.C. -

It's over-crowding at East Carolina University: more students are enrolling and now officials are having trouble finding a place for them to live.

Concerned parents contacted "9 on your side" about the problem and we got answers.

"This is not anything new. Other campuses really do this because they're over capacity," said Virginia Hardy, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at ECU.

They're growing pains brought on by a record-breaking number of incoming freshmen. Enrollment service officials report as many as 400 more freshmen have committed to ECU than in previous years.

ECU mandates incoming freshman who live more than 35 miles from campus live in the dorms but they're dorms that are now all booked up.

"We weren't anticipating this type of increase. We really were not," said Hardy, "It fluctuates. It really does and we don't know until Census Day, which is the 10th day of classes, before we can even say what the solid number is."

Hardy says most incoming freshman will most likely be put in rooms like spare resident coordinators rooms and it'll be divided with multiple beds.

Not only are more freshman enrolling but more students are returning to the dorms. The current plan is to migrate returning students out of the dorms and into student living apartment complexes off-campus.

Hardy says the university has already put out a proposal to student-living apartment complexes in the area until July 22nd and students moved to those apartments will be charged a consistent housing rate as the dorms. Any changes to meal plans have not yet been decided.

Adding to the crowing, Belk dorm will close for renovations during the winter break, January 2014. Hardy says an additional 200-250 beds will need to be freed up for those displaced freshmen including another 200 beds for the Spring 2014 semester.

"We still believe, based on research, that it is important for freshmen to live on campus for acclimation, adjustment, socialization and to develop a strong base for future success. Living on campus as freshmen does impact academic success and retention," said Hardy.

In 2008, ECU faced overcrowding with 280 freshmen moved to university-contracted, off-campus apartments. It was based on that experience that officials continue to give priority to keeping first-year students on campus.

For more information, contact ECU Campus Housing on their website.

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