Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Xavier Newswire: 40% more frosh = big impact on finances, campus life

The current issue of the Xavier Newswire has three articles about this year’s freshman class of 1,195 students, the largest since 1946. All three are accessible by clicking on the the title above.

The article "Large freshman class arrives amid concerns" describes the financial impact the increased enrollment will have on the upkeep of nearly all aspects of university life, from Residence Life to building maintenance to student dining.

The second article, entitled "Many adjust to 3-person dorm life," says 1,084 students, 90% of the freshman class, are being housed in residences originally designed for about 800. Residence Life Director Lori Lambert said, “When the numbers first came to us, I [thought] this is going to be a challenge” On some floors of three residence hall, three students are living in rooms designed for two students and four students will be living in rooms that traditionally housed three students. “It’s tight, I’m not going to lie…it’s tight,” Lambert told the Manresa Orientation Team. More students mean larger amounts of garbage and more student calls for assistance, plus an in-depth study of fire, building and other codes and standards was done before students were allowed to move into the dorms.

The third article, "Unexpected consequences," is an editorial that delves into both the obvious and less-obvious, long-term ways the larger number of students will affect the school. Among these are anticipated rises in alcohol, noise, and vandalism violations (per resident) in the months to come; insufficient club funding, laptops, and sand volleyball court space; and social, privacy and study time issues for students living with more roommates. But it’s the following excerpt that really caught our eye because of the potential impact on Norwood:

Moving to the long term, how will this population boom impact Xavier in the three years following this one? Greatly, to be sure, but the factor that continues to strike me is housing. The class of ‘13 will be as eager as any to move off campus as juniors and seniors, and perhaps quite a bit more eager next year after living like sardines in the dorms.

The demand for off-campus housing is going to skyrocket starting next year, but the supply is mostly fixed—there is a limited number of houses near Xavier that students can rent. And any economics professor would tell you that can only mean one thing: higher prices for everyone, upperclassmen included.

My advice to anyone seeking affordable off-campus housing next year: sign a lease as soon as possible and lock in a rate before landlords realize this is going on and spike prices.

What do our readers think? Will Xavier's increased freshman enrollment mean even more Norwood houses will wind up being rentals for students?