Durham, N.C. — A record freshman class overwhelmed housing demand at North Carolina Central University in Durham, and dozens of incoming students will have to find living quarters off campus this semester.
University spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez said NCCU guaranteed an on-campus room for students who applied and paid a housing fee by May 1. The school decides about a year out how many rooms to allot to the freshman class. Other on-campus housing is reserved for upper classmen.
Throughout the summer, spaces in campus housing are doled out on a first-come, first-served basis.
By last week, all the slots were filled, and incoming students were told they'd have to look elsewhere.
"We were exhausting every possible avenue we could explore trying to provide housing, because we didn't want to tell people that you don't have housing, when they did have housing," said Dr. Jennifer Wilder, NCCU director of residential life.
"No matter how much you plan, sometimes things just don't work out. We predicted what we thought, and we just had way more people apply than we could accommodate," she said.
Students and their families were offered a list of off-campus alternatives.
"My daughter's frustrated, and I'm definitely frustrated," said Theresa Conyer. "I think if you had to move upperclassmen off the campus for freshman to have housing, that's what you should've done."
Alesha Lawson said the lack of campus housing may postpone her plans altogether. "I'll probably wait another semester," she said. "I don't want to do that. I guess I have to talk to my parents about that."
Hernandez said as students arrived on campus, school leaders had a better sense of how may rooms would be available, and they were whittling away at the waiting list of freshmen. By day's end Monday, only 56 freshmen who sought on-campus housing had not been accommodated.
Classes at NCCU start next Monday.