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Are enrollment plans realistic, or just admins padding their resumes with student money?

Ryan Nguyen has a good report in the Daily Emerald, here:

But the plan to build new residence halls does not entirely square with the findings of a residence hall feasibility study from September 2011. The report, meant to inform UO’s future housing projects, states that the university should “not demolish its existing debt-free housing, but rather maintain it and renovate it.” That conclusion is based off of the costs of adding additional housing and the subsequent changes to room rates.

“We are experiencing a significant student demand for a greater percentage/mix of larger rooms and rooms with in-room private bathrooms,” Housing Director Michael Griffel said in a statement when asked about the feasibility study. “There is also demand for lower cost, smaller double style rooms and triple occupancy rooms. The combination of legacy residence halls (Justice Bean, Earl, Carson, Riley) and new residence halls with some triple room occupancy spaces, currently meets and is projected to meet future student demand.”

The word in Johnson Hall is that these new dorms and renovations are being done now because they’ll form the core of the “Athletic Village” for the 2021 IAFF championship – paid for by higher housing costs for a generation of UO undergrads. The state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission is skeptical as well. Their thorough October 2019 analysis of future enrollment is here. It’s not good news.

As Nguyen’s story goes on to report, the administration’s latest silver bullet to increase enrollment – now that we’ve seen millions in subsidies for the Ducks don’t deliver new students – is guaranteed tuition. This has been tried at many universities, with varying success. Several have since abandoned it. If it works, it will be only a short-run boost, as other universities will copy it.

But that’s all the JH leadership needs – a few promising looking initiatives so they can pad their resumes for the next job.

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