USU Eastern's student population declines; one of four dorms closes for semester
Due to the student enrollment attrition rate of nearly six percent between fall and spring semesters, there are no longer enough students at USU Eastern to financially justify use of four residential halls.
According to Alex Herzog, associate vice chancellor for student services, between fall semester of 2012 and spring 2013, the residential halls decreased in population from about 53 percent to 47. While this decrease is about average between fall and spring, the college was already hurting for students in the halls and it was no longer economically sound to keep all four residential halls open. For this reason, Burtenshaw Hall, deemed the most expensive to keep open, has been closed for the spring of 2013.
Burtenshaw, which can house up to 108 students, housed 20 students during fall semester who expressed an interest in returning for the spring. These students have been vacated to Aaron Jones Hall and the residential advisors have been dispersed throughout the buildings.
The heating and air conditioning units in the rooms are the biggest expense and it is estimated that the college will save $5,000 to $8,000 by not running these systems for a semester. The air conditioning units in Aaron Jones are also known to be less efficient than they could be. For this reason, the college is spending $175,000 to replace the archaic towers and put individual air conditioning control units in each suite.
If the numbers of students utilizing campus housing do not increase before fall semester, it is possible that Sessions Residential Hall will lie fallow next.
Herzog promotes on-campus housing because it saves the time and money of a commute to school, it allows easier access to classes, and because certain varieties of celebration are forbidden it allows students to focus more on excelling academically.