The University of Colorado Boulder is shifting the occupancy of Bear Creek, its apartment complex for upperclassmen, to make room this fall for sophomores whose freshman year under COVID-19 was less than ideal, transfer students and a potential surge of students who deferred their admission during the pandemic.
However, despite rumors circulating among worried students, CU administrators said Tuesday they don’t foresee having to kick out juniors and seniors who planned to live in Bear Creek again in the next academic year.
“The only way we’ll see that happen is if we have more students who plan to return than there is space for,” said Laura Arroyo, director of CU Boulder housing administration. “I never make 100% guarantee until I see the numbers come in. Historically, we have 50% of the students that currently live in Bear Creek return, and we’re not at capacity right now, so I don’t expect that to be an issue.”
The apartment complex consists of two buildings housing a total of 975 beds. The room rate for an apartment with roommates sharing a community bath is $7,610 per student, per semester.
Next year, the university is prioritizing one of Bear Creek’s buildings to be a catch-all for students disgruntled, displaced or deferred by the pandemic.
“We have a number of rising second-year students that are saying that they didn’t receive their traditional first-year experience and they really want to live on campus as much as possible for another year,” Arroyo said. “We know the majority will have to move off campus and we know traditionally they do. If we can create some space in Bear Creek and support them to live together and provide them a progression, I think that’s important.”
The building will also house transfer students who want to have more of a traditional on-campus experience, COVID-19 isolation space and be an option for some of the more than 1,200 students who deferred their 2020 fall enrollment during the pandemic — a 264% increase in deferrals.
Students who live in Bear Creek and plan to stay next year will be given time slots to apply for a spot in the fall rather than just signing up to continue in their unit, but Arroyo assured existing residents will be the priority.
“Before we open up any other space, we want to make sure we’re supporting our current students,” Arroyo said.
Reese Griffith, a 20-year-old astronomy major who lives in the complex, panicked when the usual deadline to confirm continued fall housing in Bear Creek passed without word from the university, later hearing through the rumor mill that students who wanted to stay next year might not get the opportunity.
The university-owned apartment complex is crucial to Griffith’s ability to stay at CU because the rent can be paid alongside her tuition, meaning her loans and scholarships can cover the cost.
“If I don’t live here, I’m basically going to be homeless or a college dropout,” Griffith said. “I come from a low-income family, and I have to live on campus to be able to pay for my housing in this way.”
Griffith, who said she had two meetings with Arroyo about the situation that went “poorly,” hopes CU is true to its word in prioritizing existing residents.
“It feels like they’re not viewing us as humans,” Griffith said. “They’re viewing us as numbers on a spreadsheet to fill a vacancy.”
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