On the move

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

The U has more students commuting to class than other major universities, according to numbers from schools of comparable size.

Of the 29,000 students attending the University of Utah, numbers provided by U Housing and Residential Education from the Fall 2006 semester show that only about 8 percent live on campus.

This percentage includes students living in family housing, graduate apartments, upper-division housing and the Residence Halls.

The University of California, Los Angeles, hosts about 25,400 undergraduate students each year. Of that number, 9,100 students live on campus — about 36 percent of undergraduates.

In the middle ground are the University of Washington, with about 17 percent of its students living on campus, and the University of Arizona, with about 15 percent on campus.

Although Utah State University is smaller than these other schools, with only 18,000 students, about 17 percent of them reside on school grounds.

But taking into consideration the accommodations available, Peggy Shultz, manager of campus residential services, said she does not think the U is very different.

“I don’t think we’re unique. There are other universities with small on-site housing,” Shultz said. “Our most unique feature is that we’re landlocked, and there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Shultz said the U is starting a five-year plan to increase housing facilities on campus, an endeavor headed by a long-range planning committee for the President’s Office.

The U’s urban setting may partly explain the lower percentages, as it allows students to use public transportation to commute to class.

Paul Brinkman, associate vice president for budget and planning, said the U would look different from other universities away from cities, but that urban colleges probably have similar make-ups.

In the country, said Brinkman, commuting would be a challenge, thus making students more inclined to live on campus or very close to it.

According to information compiled by the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, 88 percent of U students choose to commute.

With a large percentage of commuters also comes a lot of cars — and a large need for parking.

According to Director of Commuter Services Alma Allred, the U usually sells about 22,000 parking passes each year.

In the 2006-2007 school year, about 14,800 cash parking passes were sold, which Allred said gives a good estimate of how many students purchased the parking passes, since employees can purchase permits through payroll deduction.

For the incoming year, Residence Hall reservations seem on par with last year. As of July 13, about 1,760 students have reserved the Residence Halls and upper-division housing.

Since residents in graduate and family housing often stay throughout the year, HRE expects about the same number of students this year — 73 family housing units are available and about 180 students fill graduate apartments.

Lennie Mahler