While living on-campus is an expected part of the transition into college life, a record number of first-year applicants might leave some on-campus freshmen with more roommates than expected.

The last two years brought the largest pool of first-year applicants in Cal Poly’s history.

Every year, Cal Poly’s administrative Institutional Planning and Analysis Department releases “Polyview,” a document that counts applicants and charts enrollment based on census data. According to the most recent Polyview, 2010 and 2011 have the first and second highest number of applications, respectively, in the school’s history. Fall 2010 saw a record breaking 42,295 applicants, while Fall 2011 trailed with 41,279 applicants. Fall Quarter 2011 admitted 17,725 freshmen.

Larger freshmen classes mean an increased need for first and second-year housing. Administration recently dealt with this problem by increasing the number of triple bed dormitories on campus and exploring new housing alternatives, said Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong.

“Last year, housing was at about 107 percent occupancy,” Armstrong said. “That’s not something we want to see year in and year out,  but it also reflects a demand that students want to live on campus — they would rather live in a triple than live off campus. We also know we have some students that turn us down because we can’t guarantee housing for the first two years.”

While there are currently 6,800 beds on campus, Armstrong said there was a need for closer to 9,000.

Executive director of Housing and Student Affairs interim vice president Preston Allen said he understands students might not have initially been excited about living with two other roommates, but he said students are more comfortable with the idea of triples now.

“We’ve made it better,” Allen said. “Living on-campus, even if it is in a triple, is an experience they want, and that we know they benefit from. Next year, we may have triple-designated areas. We do track the grade point averages of triple students, and they are just as strong as students living in doubles.”

Allen said the opening of Poly Canyon Village jump started student interest in staying on campus for two years. He also said he hopes to build more housing projects in the remaining open space on campus.

“Right now we’re mulling over a mixed-use housing program that would meet first year students’ needs as well as supporting an independent lifestyle for upperclassmen,” he said. “We’re excited to see if we can create a hybrid.”

He said he would like to see the project spring up in the space behind Yosemite and Poly Canyon Village.

“Housing is self-supporting, so it needs to pay for all of its cost (its mortgage and all operating),” he said. “No campus, student fees or state monies are used for housing.”

Bigger freshman classes and an increased need for student housing have become a problem at other California State Universities as well.

Cal Poly Pomona’s campus has a first year residency requirement for students outside of a local service area. According to l Poly Pomona director of housing Megan Stang, there are 4,000 residential students, and Pomona offers a mix of dormatories, residential suites and apartments for students over the age of 21.

“From a housing professional’s standpoint, the increased demand is exciting because our team believes that a student’s college experience is greatly enhanced by living on campus, and to see students wanting that experience is fantastic,” Stang said. “However, not being able to provide an opportunity for all of the students due to a limited housing portfolio is very frustrating, both for the students and our team.”

Administrators across the universities stressed the importance of living on campus.

“We have a very vibrant campus, and it’s the center of the student experience,” Allen said. “Armstrong and I share a mission statement: that the campus is considered core.”

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