Record enrollment at Clark Atlanta causes housing shortage
Record enrollment has Clark Atlanta University scrambling to find housing for some of its incoming freshmen after nearly 400 more than anticipated showed up for orientation.
More than 11,000 prospective freshman and transfer students applied, a 26 percent increase from the previous year. About 5,500 were admitted, representing another significant increase. As many as 1,400 confirmed their attendance for 2007-2008.
About 1,200 freshman arrived beginning Wednesday â€” a few hundred more than the school has space for on campus and more than typically commit to attending the historically black school, according to Darrin Rankin, vice president for enrollment services and student affairs.
The total number includes more than 500 who arrived without room assignments because they didn't notify the school they were planning to attend or because they hadn't yet demonstrated they had the financial resources to pay for housing, Rankin said.
Also, four dormitories are closed for renovations expected to be completed within the next year, further limiting available housing slots.
School officials had hopes of housing the overflow students in dorm spots it has at the nearby Interdenominational Theological Center, MetroPointe Lofts in Midtown, and other off-campus locations by the end of the day Thursday, Rankin said.
CAU also has eased rules that require freshmen and sophomores to stay on campus in an effort to create additional openings and provide students more options.
Fewer than 300 were on the waiting list as of Thursday afternoon.
Long lines at check-in and news that housing wasn't immediately available to some left students and their parents frustrated.
Jessica Scruggs and her mother Stella arrived in Atlanta Wednesday from their home in Washington. By Thursday afternoon, Jessica, still wearing her white new student T-shirt, withdrew and now plans to attend Delaware State instead.
"They're taking in too many students," Jessica Scruggs said. "They can't accommodate them, which is bad."
Not everybody encountered problems. Thaki Ismael of New Jersey said his daughter, Atiyah, learned of her room assignment before arriving. Said Ismael: "We had absolutely no issues."
Rankin admits the process hasn't been as trouble-free as CAU, student and parents would like, but the school hopes to do better.
"We recognize we've got issues with our process. We're trying to work those things out," said Rankin.