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University of Utah says all 1st-year students who apply for housing by May 3 will have bed on campus

Utah at the beginning stages of transforming campus to ‘college town,’ says University of Utah President Taylor Randall

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Amber San Miguel unlocks her dorm room as she moves into the University of Utah student housing  on Aug. 16, 2023.

Amber San Miguel unlocks her dorm room as she moves into the University of Utah student housing in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Incoming first-year students who apply for housing at the University of Utah by May 3 will be guaranteed a bed on campus for the 2024-2025 academic year, university officials announced Monday.

The news comes as part of the university’s plan to address housing demand and increasing enrollment.

University of Utah President Taylor Randall said the state’s flagship university is “at the beginning stages of transforming the U. campus into a college town.”

At his inauguration in 2021, Randall shared his vision to grow the university’s enrollment to 40,000 students in the next seven years.

“Housing is a critical component of this transformation and by guaranteeing first-year students a place to belong, they will be more successful academically and socially and help us toward our goal of revolutionizing the student experience,” Randall said in a prepared statement.

Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president of enrollment management, said this move will allow first-year students to enroll in the university with even greater assurance.

“I think that’s going to be tremendous for their decision-making process about where to enroll. They already know they’re admitted to the U. but then also having a confidence that they’ve already got a space in campus housing somewhere, that’s a big thing,” Robinson said.

The U. has had record enrollment numbers the last four years, with 24,000 students applying to be part of this fall’s incoming class alone.

At one point, the supply of on-campus housing was so pinched that the U. launched a pilot program to pair students with alumni who live around the university.

“Two years ago, we ran into some capacity issues. My colleagues in housing have been working really hard to resolve that and we were in a place where we feel not only that we’ve resolved it, that we can make this guarantee to all incoming first year students,” Robinson said.

The guarantee is not room or community specific. Once students have paid their enrollment deposit to the university, they can apply for housing through their campus accounts.

Housing applications open on Jan. 17. The application deadline for First Year Living Learning Community is Wednesday, March 20, 2024, and Friday, May 3, for traditional housing.

Presently, the U. has 11 communities on campus and three off-site properties. Some residences are designated for first-year students, some are primarily upper-division, and others are a mix of first-year and upper-division students.

This fall semester, the University of Utah selected a group of partners to help build and manage 5,000 new student beds on campus. Some 12,000 beds are expected to come online in the next five years.

Academic research shows, on average, students who live on campus have higher GPAs than peers who live off campus.

There are other benefits, such as developing a sense of belonging that fosters personal growth in a safe and supportive environment.

“Living on campus puts all of the resources, amenities, and excitement of campus at a student’s doorstep,” said housing director Rachel Aho, in a statement.

“By living on campus, students experience all that the University of Utah has to offer. From meeting friends, getting involved, and deepening their academic pursuits; living on campus supports it all. There really is no comparison,” Aho said.