UNCC pledges to find housing for all students as campus enrollment soars

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As Charlotte explodes with growth, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is seeing quite a growth spurt of its own.

"There's never been a better time to be a 49er," said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Aaron Hart.

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UNCC has hit a new enrollment record of 29,710 students.

With all the growth, on-campus housing is in high demand.

Hart said, "We've been between 95 and 99 percent occupancy for the past several years."

This year, on-campus housing is 99 percent full.

Hart's office warned students before the spring semester that demand was overwhelming.

Since there were wait lists, his office told students who applied late to make backup plans.

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Freshman Stephen Zargo saw just how hard it was to get into the room he wanted.

"The housing I applied for, I wasn't able to get it," said Zargo. "It was really disappointing because I didn't like living in a high-rise."

He said he was able to move into a different building for the spring semester after more space opened up.

The university is planning to make some big changes. It's going to tear down two old residence towers near the front entrance.

A new dorm with 700 beds will take shape there next, but that new project won't be finished for another two years.

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In the meantime, Hart said, the school is still on par to absorb the growth without any problems.

He said, if needed, the university could house more students by converting single dorms into doubles.

The university is also planning to start a new program to partner with off-campus properties.

"We would like to build a relationship with those properties that house UNC students just to make sure they're having the same experience a student living a few hundred yards from their classroom would have," Hart said.

Hart said housing is tight everywhere, but he wants to reassure students they don't need to worry they won't find a place to live.

"The message is definitely: Keep applying. We will work to the 12th hour to find a spot for you," he said.

The university was able to secure housing for every student for the spring semester.

UNCC said the earlier you apply, the better your chance is of landing your first or second choice.

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