FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) – Classes begin Monday for students at Kentucky State University (KSU). The first-year students are already settled into their dorms, but returning students are fighting over the remaining limited available dorms.
KSU’s interim Chief Operating Officer Dr. Daarel Burnette said there are only 925 beds on campus, but 517 of them are already spoken for by incoming first-years.
KSU said those remaining 408 beds are in such high demand with returning students because they are facing challenges from inflation to housing shortages off-campus.
Concerned parents took to social media to express how worried they were about where their children will live for the next school year. KSU posted notices giving instructions to students still looking to secure housing, but Burnette said like the students, KSU did not anticipate for societal issues to make housing such an issue.
Dr. Burnette emphasized that this issue is not only affecting KSU, but schools across the nation as well.
“You got COVID-19 pandemic, you got monkeypox,” Burnette said. “Secondly, the high cost of living, inflation has driven the cost of living off-campus, and so the demand over the last six months have driven the numbers up on students wanting to live on campus, which we didn’t anticipate 4-5 months ago; also the new changes in gun laws, because we have a 24/7 department of public safety on campus.”
Burnette said on-campus housing goes first to first-year students and then sophomores. Upperclassmen are expected to transition into their own housing; “This is an opportunity for our students to mature, and assimilate into society.”
However, many students either cannot find any housing or the commute is too costly due to high gas prices, so upperclassmen are trying to get back on-campus for housing.
“Many of the upperclassmen came early to their start date, which is today, Thursday,” Burnette said. “When they come early, the staff is not prepared to process them into the school, and that’s what’s causing a lot of the dilemmas.”
With the surge of students waiting to see if they could secure a spot on campus, KSU improvised a plan.
“So we’ve reached out to two reputable hotels, maybe 4.5 miles away from campus,” Burnette said. “And we’ve secured several rooms not only to accommodate our juniors and seniors, but if we also have issues with kids being exposed to the virus, we have an area where they can be quarantined as well. We’re also providing shuttle services to bring students to campus every 30 minutes.”
In just a few short months, KSU is expecting to open a new dorm facility.
“That’s the bright light down the road,” Burnette said. “We got a brand new building scheduled to open in January 2023. That facility will provide 804 beds.”
In the meantime, KSU is advising students to get processed into the schools as early as possible.
“Getting clearance for your living arrangements, as well as dining, and covering your cost of tuition and fees, you want to start that as early as possible to avoid these dilemmas going forward in the future,” Dr. Burnette said.
Burnette also shared that the new interim president, Dr. Ronald Johnson, was just at the Capitol on Wednesday urging legislators to do something about Kentucky’s cost of living and housing shortages, so it doesn’t keep having an impact on KSU students.