UMass addresses on-campus housing ahead of start of fall semester

Students are preparing to return to class at UMass and following last year’s shortage of on-campus housing, we’re getting answers on what’s being done this year
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 3:46 PM EDT
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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Students are preparing to return to class at UMass Amherst and following last year’s shortage of on-campus housing, which resulted in some students placed at a nearby hotel, we’re getting answers on what’s being done this year.

“It was a challenge. It was not something that we planned to have happened, but students love being here at UMass,” said UMass Amherst spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski.

Last fall, over 100 transfer students at UMass Amherst were placed at the Econolodge in Hadley, more than two miles off campus, due to a shortage of on-campus housing.

“That just sounds silly. It baffles me that they’re admitting students, but not being able to place them on-campus…doesn’t sound sensible to me,” said UMass transfer student Cody Cline.

Blaguszewski told Western Mass News that it happened because the university accepted what he believes is the second biggest freshman class in school history.

“We’ve calibrated. That was higher than we expected last year because of the popularity of UMass and this year’s class by design was smaller,” Blaguszewski explained.

This year, Cline is thankful he’ll be settled into his off-campus apartment when classes begin on September 5.

“I didn’t want to pay the room and board fees. I determined it was easier to just pay rent monthly, have a place to live all year,” Cline noted.

While Cline said he didn’t do much research for on-campus housing, Blaguszewski told us that this year, everyone who is promised housing, including freshmen and transfer students, will have a place to stay. There’s also a new apartment complex on Massachusetts Avenue, right in the heart of campus, thanks to the university’s first-ever public-private partnership with a developer.

“This planning has gone on for many years to build a facility this size. We’ve recognized that we need to do more to contribute to housing and we’ve done that with a number of housing developments over the past decade,” Blaguszewski noted.

The university is also providing assistance for students who look elsewhere through an Office of Off-Campus Student Housing.

“We know housing across the state, and including in Amherst, is a challenge and can be expensive, but our sense is that it should work this semester,” Blaguszewski said.

Students will begin the move-in process next Wednesday. There will be more information, including traffic advisories, released in the coming days.