LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Kentucky is taking new measures in an attempt to solve its overcrowding problem.
As a result, the school is assigning roommates to resident assistant advisers. Resident assistant advisers help new students acclimate to university dorm life and serve as counselors.
In the past, the advisers have not had roommates. To make up for the change, the university is giving them incentives, including a laundry service and a $900 gift card.
They already receive a free room and meal plan.
Jay Blanton, the public relations executive director at UK, said there are a couple of factors contributing to the housing shortage. First, there is a record number of incoming freshman.
"We've got the largest class in the history of the university coming here this fall," Blanton said. "Between 5,400 and 5,500 students."
The second contributing factor is that around 2,500 second-year students want to stay on campus, which is more than in years past. That means the school has about 400 more applications for on-campus housing than there are residence hall beds. However, Blanton said it's a good problem to have.
"When students live on campus, we know from research we’ve done, GPAs are higher," Blanton said. "They become more involved in campus life and build community. And as a result of that, they graduate on time, and that means lower debt."
To create the extra space needed to provide a bed for every student, the university has added a second bed to the resident adviser rooms, which typically only house the one RA. The school is also converting multi-purpose study rooms into two-person dorm rooms. The residence halls were built with full bathrooms attached to the study rooms, in case this exact scenario ever arose.
Blanton said it's a temporary solution, and the school expects more room to free up as the semester starts. Each year, some students either don’t show up or leave early. Blanton said the university will adjust when that happens.
To see the university's dorm overcrowding backup plan, click here.
Students start moving in on Aug. 17, and the first day of classes is Aug. 26.
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