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VUU working to find housing for student overflow

Jeremy Lazarus | 8/13/2015, 1:51 p.m.
Virginia Union University is overflowing with students ahead of the start of the fall semester on Thursday, Aug. 13 — ...
Dr. Perkins

Virginia Union University is overflowing with students ahead of the start of the fall semester on Thursday, Aug. 13 — and has run out of housing on its campus.

At least 63 returning sophomores, juniors and seniors found out this week there was no room for them to live on the Lombardy Street campus, according to VUU.

The university can accommodate 944 students in its dorms, but indicated incoming freshmen filled a majority of the space, leaving fewer rooms for upperclassmen.

The 1,800-student, Baptist-affiliated school has been housing many of the displaced students at a nearby hotel while helping them make living arrangements off campus.

“Provisions are being made for students to seek their own housing with our assistance,” VUU President Claude G. Perkins stated in an email to the Free Press. Among other things, VUU is leasing nearby apartments “to handle the campus overflow,” particularly for students who cannot afford all of the initial rental costs.

For VUU, the housing problem can be considered good news. It means the university is bucking the trend of declining student enrollment that has plagued other historically black colleges and universities.

In the wake of public complaints from some of the displaced students and their parents, Dr. Perkins acknowledged Wednesday that the process could have been handled better. He pledged to avoid a repeat next year by improving communications with students and their families about the enrollment process and to ensure they have access “to the persons they need at least 60 days prior to their arrival on campus.”

“We are a student-centered university,” Dr. Perkins stated, noting the school provided more than $5 million in scholarships last year to ensure students who needed financial help could attend. “We are proud to have the opportunity to provide the best in liberal arts education to each and every one of the families we serve.”