June 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm

University of Michigan tries to free up dorm rooms for big freshman class

Ann Arbor— The University of Michigan is asking up to 300 returning undergraduates to move out of dorms to off-campus apartments to free up rooms for an unexpectedly large incoming freshman class.

The school received nearly 50,000 freshman applications — a record — for the upcoming semester. The number of new students who accepted Michigan’s offer of admission in the fall semester exceeded the university’s expectations, said Peter Logan, University Housing spokesman, according to a report by the Ann Arbor News.

The university sent emails to returning undergraduate students planning to live in residence halls that also house freshmen, Logan said.

Housing officials have chosen three apartment complexes close to the Ann Arbor campus and will absorb housing costs above what the returning students would be paying if they remained on campus. They also would be able to keep their residence hall meal plans.

The move will cost the school about $2 million and will be paid from University Housing reserve funds.

According to Logan, as of mid-day Monday, about 100 students had contacted University Housing to express interest in the option.

“We are taking these steps because we believe first-year students who apply for housing should live on campus, to help them with the transition to university life,” said University Housing director Linda Newman. “We hope our returning residence hall students will appreciate this unique opportunity to use their housing contract to live in a nearby apartment.”

The program is available on a first-come basis.

“Once we reach our goal of approximately 300 bed spaces it’s possible that we won’t have any off-campus bed spaces for the students to pursue,” said Logan.

Ongoing renovations to the school’s West Quad will add about 1,000 more beds when completed.

Detroit News Staff Writer Kim Kozlowski contributed.