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The Journal Gazette

  • FILE: A student pulls a cart loaded with his belongings in front of one of the dorms at IPFW.

  • PFW dorms

  • PFW dorms

  • Purdue Fort Wayne students will stay at the Holiday Inn near the school until campus housing becomes available. (Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette)

Saturday, August 04, 2018 1:00 am

PFW hoping to find fix for housing havoc

Requests are 3 percent over capacity

RON SHAWGO | The Journal Gazette

Student housing is overbooked at Purdue University Fort Wayne, which appears to be a good sign as fall semester approaches.

Housing, which for the last nine years or so has been about 77 percent occupied at the start of a new academic year, is at 103 percent, said Jordyn Hogan, director of housing. How the overbooking occurred is unclear but could be linked to recruitment efforts, Hogan said.

Campus housing includes 1,140 beds in 13 buildings. A clubhouse is also on the Waterfield housing campus, bordered by Crescent Avenue and Hobson and Trier roads. Filling beds has been a challenge since the last of the buildings opened in 2010, school officials have said.

This year appears to be different.

The school is committing to a 5 percent overflow. Anyone on the overflow list will be moved into the Holiday Inn off Coliseum Avenue near campus, Hogan said. PFW will cover the hotel stay, which could cost the school between $50,000 and $80,000, Steve George, associate vice chancellor for financial and administrative affairs, said in an email. Students begin paying only when they receive permanent placement in campus housing, Hogan said.

“All the students so far have been made aware that the Holiday Inn has been awesome working with us, and as soon as we have permanent placements open up here on campus, we'll be moving students back.”

The school expects most of the students to be moved back within the first couple of weeks of classes as it works through no-shows and students who decide not to attend, she said.

“Those that are on the waiting list are being asked if they are open to the idea of extended housing,” Eric Norman, vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, said in an email. “If it looks like they will not get placed, we negotiated a deeply discounted daily rate at the Holiday Inn. We also have the ability to move them to an extended stay down the road, which may be better if it looks like they will be there for the duration of the fall semester.”

Last month, Purdue and Indiana universities ended their more than 50-year agreement to operate as Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. IU now focuses on health sciences and Purdue administers all other academic programs. Students from both schools can live in on-campus housing.

Last fall, IPFW began managing the housing complex after severing ties with the management company it has used since the units first opened in 2004.

The admissions team for Purdue Fort Wayne has been recruiting from outside the area. It is part of a rebranding and marketing effort that began in December and includes signs, updated websites and a print, TV, billboard and social media advertising campaign.

Whether it was recruiting or something else that prompted students to chose campus housing, Hogan is thrilled. 

“It's a really good thing. We're really excited,” she said. “I've been kind of in shock for the last couple of months but, yeah, we're really excited.”

Norman said the school is still taking names of students interested in campus housing.

“It certainly points to the value of the experience and the level of engagement that is offered on campus,” he said. 

Classes begin Aug. 20. Enrollment will become clear after Aug. 24, when the school census is taken.