Hundreds of UC Merced students without housing, in-person start date delayed

Education

MERCED, Calif. (KGPE) – Just days before classes are set to begin, hundreds of UC Merced students are without housing – forcing the university to move its start date back.

Thousands of students were set to move into campus housing on Thursday, or off-campus apartments, before the return of in-person learning on Aug. 25.

But Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies says the university was not expecting so many students to move into campus housing, and it was only one week ago they found out the Merced Station – an apartment complex that was set to house more than 500 students – will not be ready for at least another month.

“Unfortunately this does happen sometimes; you’ll see more of a demand for your on-campus housing than you had predicted,” Nies said.

Classes will still begin on Aug. 25, but they will take place online until Aug. 30. Nies says the university is currently transitioning several two-person dorm rooms into three-person dorm rooms.

“We designed a lot of our buildings with rooms in them for on-campus housing to be tripled, but we set all of them up initially just as double rooms. Working with the state, we’ve been able to go back to that triple design opportunity,” he said.

According to Nies, that will open up space for 700 students. In total, there will be 4,300 students living on-campus this fall, compared to 2,900 in 2019.

For those who were supposed to live in Merced Station, Nies says the university is setting them up in hotel rooms through the end of September.

Merced Station was not available for comment.

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