STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma State University is welcoming 4,668-plus first-time freshmen and 1,300 non-freshmen students into campus housing, but there isn’t enough space for everyone to have a room.
OSU Vice President of Student Affairs, Doug Hallenbeck, said they’ve never had this many non-freshman students seek campus housing, which is causing the university to think on their feet.
OSU has doubled up single rooms as well as put students in the common lounge areas.
“The most is we’ve had six-in-one of the lounges and they’re fairly, I mean, they’re good sized, and so we have beds in there,” he explained.
The class of 2026 eclipses previous records and represents an increase of more than nine percent over last year’s freshman enrollment for the fall semester. The record has been exceeded by more than 375 students.
Hallenbeck told KFOR those who are in doubled-up rooms will receive discounts on their room and board fees. Those who are in lounge areas will not have to pay while they’re in that living condition, according to him.
Hallenbeck also said having this many students want to live on campus is never a bad thing.
“It’s good that we have a lot of people who want to be part of Oklahoma State and be part of the Cowboy family. And we do feel like it’s a sign of success for a housing program that we had so many returning students wanting to come back and be part of university housing,” Hallenbeck added.
The extra students housed on campus are spread out across the dorms, but Hallenbeck said Wentz Hall is where most of the overcrowding is.
With the record-breaking number of students on OSU campus this year, transfer student and Wentz resident, Molly George, said it’s chaotic.
“It’s been a little bit crazy, especially like getting up the elevators, like it’s definitely been like lines for everything, especially, dining halls,” stated George.
George claims 2,000 students moved onto campus Wednesday, but she said her housing situation at Wentz has calmed down a bit.
“I know people were staying in lounges, but they got moved out. So, I think all of the frat guys actually got released to their houses, so, I think they got in their rooms,” she told KFOR.
Another Wentz Hall resident and freshman, Tatyana Going, said there’s only one student on her floor that’s living in the lounge.
“It’s not as crowded. I have heard we still have 60 more girls to put into rooms,” Going added.
Hallenbeck said this temporary housing should only last a month, which raises the question, where will these students go after this?
KFOR called around to different complexes in Stillwater to see what the average cost of one was. The average was over $800/month. The most expensive was a one bedroom for $1,300.
Most of the nearby apartments are sold out, though, and not accepting resident applications until January 2023.
But Hallenbeck told KFOR they’re working to have everyone in a permanent home.
“We’ll be able to move all those students, especially those in the lounges, into permanent space and throughout the others [ on campus],” said Hallenbeck.
Hallenbeck said they’ll continue to refine their housing process and make sure they’re prepared if this ever happens again.