This fall’s incoming class promises to exceed 573 students — one of Taylor’s largest classes in history. While campus residence halls might not immediately be able to accommodate these rising numbers, the university is navigating alternative living situations that include off-campus housing.
Skip Trudeau, vice president for Student Development, said the rise in enrollment is a blessing and a positive sign for Taylor — especially in light of decreasing college enrollment across the nation. Overcrowding at Taylor is nothing new, he said.
The university has granted permission to a little over 100 current students to live off-campus including seniors and juniors. The school has been collaborating with local landlords to expand off-campus housing options and also maintains a list of people students have rented from previously.
Julia Hurlow, associate vice president for Student Development and director of Residence Life, said previous off-campus housing requirements are still in place and include requirements such as: being 25 or older, married, working a part-time job of 11 hours or less, commuting within 50 miles from home with a parent or guardian, being a student teacher, having a social work practicum or being a nursing major.
Flexibility in approval for off-campus housing, she said, varies annually based on the class size. Trudeau said recent increases in approvals are specific to this year — the previous requirements will continue to apply.
Another option the university will explore is using lounge spaces in residence halls like Samuel Morris and Grace Olson. This option isn’t something new to Taylor and would be temporary. The current plan is to have all students in a regular housing situation by Christmas time this year.
“That's one of those areas where we're just gonna have to give each other grace and know that we're going to work hard to try to minimize that if we can,” Trudeau said. “We're very excited institutionally to welcome that huge freshman class.”
Despite these complications, Trudeau said the university is hoping to maintain such excellent levels in enrollment.
On-campus housing, he said, is a key-part of students’ experiences at Taylor University and is a part of what makes Taylor so unique. There are still benefits to living off-campus, such as the opportunity to experience a transitional “life away from Taylor.”
“I mean — what another great problem to have — we have seniors that don't want to move off campus, that's a testament to the experience that they have here,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau commends the Taylor community and encourages its students to continue to nourish that — no matter the shifts in housing. Grace and flexibility are key components to this navigation, he said.
Whatever their residence situation is in the upcoming school year, Hurlow encourages students to embrace their circumstance.
“Be present where you are and make the most of it,” she said.