Housing issues raise concerns for Jacksonville State students and parents

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - College students are gearing up to head back to campus for the fall semester. The first day of classes for Jacksonville State University is August 18th, but some parents say their children still don’t have a housing assignment.

They have two options: off campus housing or online classes.

One parent we spoke with says the university told her they’re working on a contract with a hotel. She says her daughter has been on the waiting list since May, but she didn’t know how bad the housing issue was. Her daughter is on a wait list with about 200 other students.

“They can take online classes but as of now almost all of the online classes are full,” says the parent of an incoming freshman. “They are trying to get some kind of contract with a hotel. But it’s not for certain whether or not they can get this contract”

She says the school told her she could get an apartment for her child, but they wouldn’t be responsible for the rent. The family also would not receive a refund for housing.

She says her daughter had scholarships to other universities but she chose JSU. She has already endured so much during the pandemic, she thought she would have a new start for her freshman year.

“They should’ve started letting people know, hey we’re starting to create a waiting list so you might want to seek other options. We can’t just go to another school right now because some schools have closed registration or either are going to Charge late registration fees.”

The incoming freshman questions how JSU handled the situation. She doesn’t understand why they would wait so late to let parents know about the housing issue. She’s not sure how to move forward.

“Why is this happening to me? Because I was really looking forward to and excited to get that in person learning experience,” says the student. “Now they’re talking about I have to do online for my freshman year. I don’t want to do this two years in a row. I just did this all year. I wanted to get that freshman experience. I have to to tell other colleges that I hope they still have my scholarship because if they don’t. That’s sad.”

JSU says they are aware of the housing shortage and are working to provide new dorms for students. Terry Casey, Vice President of Student Affairs sent us the statement below on behalf of the university:

“This fall, Jacksonville State is expecting to see its largest class of first-year students in university history. As a result, we currently have a housing wait list and are working to move students into a room on campus before classes begin. In the past week alone, our wait list has been nearly cut in half and we will keep assigning students in housing throughout the beginning of the semester. While we are excited about the growth we are seeing on campus, we apologize for any inconvenience the resulting housing shortage has caused. We will soon break ground on a new residence hall, which will add much-needed housing on our growing campus.”

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