UA residence halls exceed capacity for fall semester

The University of Alabama anticipates a large freshman class on campus in the fall. On-campus housing is expected to be above capacity by between 250 and 700 beds, according to Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope. 

Returning campus residents will be encouraged to volunteer to live at The Lofts at City Center, an off-campus apartment complex located about 1.5 miles from campus on 10th Avenue East. 

The UA System Board of Trustees entered a $1.2 million agreement to lease 252 beds in The Lofts at City Center beginning in August 2020. The lease is renewable for up to four years. 

The beds were used last fall and spring to house students previously set to live in Bryce Lawn Apartments and the Highlands, two on-campus apartments. After students were relocated to The Lofts, the empty on-campus apartments were used as quarantine housing for students who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Bryce Lawn and the Highlands will no longer be used as quarantine housing, which the University plans to decrease significantly in the upcoming year. Instead, The Lofts will be used to house the large class of incoming freshmen. 

The University recommends any student in need of quarantine housing this fall return to their permanent residence, but a limited number of rooms at the Highlands have been retained as quarantine housing for students who are unable to return home. 

Monica Watts, UA vice president for strategic communications, said students who live at The Lofts will be able to pay for their rooms through their student accounts. 

“Our goal is to make the experience as seamless as possible,” Watts said. “Students will have access to the property amenities, as well as [Housing and Residential Community] staff who are available to assist them, which can make an off-campus leased property a very popular option.” 

Crimson Ride, the University’s bus service, has an apartment route that stops at the Lofts.

Currently, there is no financial incentive for students to live at The Lofts at City Center instead of a residence hall on campus, but students who live at The Lofts will enter a 12-month lease. Students living in residence halls on campus are required to move out for the summer. 

There are about 8,500 beds in residence halls on campus. Official student enrollment numbers will be released at the beginning of the fall semester.

Indiana University, which has a student population of about 48,000, is experiencing similar student enrollment projections for the fall semester. Compared to last year, Indiana University saw a 17% increase in enrollment and housing deposits. They expect about 9,300 incoming freshmen in the fall. 

Indiana University adopted a test-optional admissions policy this year, and more than 40% of admitted students didn’t report test scores. The University of Alabama also waived test scores last year and will continue this policy for the upcoming academic year. 

Watts credited the sizable incoming class to “the excitement of incoming freshmen seeking the University of Alabama experience and students returning for a full on-campus fall semester.”