While Quinnipiac University has steadily grown both in stature and physical presence, what hasn't grown is the desire for its undergraduate seniors to live on campus.
The university is committed to turn that around, according to its master plan that will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission next week.
For the last five years, the university has guaranteed all undergrads on-campus housing, according to the report, shortly after the opening of the $350 million York Hill Campus on Sherman Avenue. Those dorms atop Rocky Top Hill increased the school's dorm inventory by a third, according to the report.
"Unfortunately, while this year nearly one third of the senior class will live in University owned housing and the newly constructed beds at York Hill are mostly occupied, the demand for University owned housing has lagged behind the available supply," according to the report as more students -- mostly seniors -- opt to live off campus in either university-owned residential homes or private rentals.
That has led to clashes between the university and both town officials and residents living in the same neighborhoods as the students, who they say cause problems with parties and other undesirable behavior.
It in in the best interest of the school for those students to live on campus, school officials say, both financially and to address the town and resident concerns. Next year there will be more than 260 empty beds, they say, but in five years that number should be reduced to just under 100.
"[The university] has made efforts to increase senior class demand for this housing with the creation of the 'Senior Experience,' which offers housing discounts and other favorable living arrangements for members of the class," according to the report.
That effort has brought more seniors back on campus, but it's been tough to break their habit of wanting to live off campus, according to the report.
"Presently, approximately 80 percent of [Quinnipiac] undergraduates live in university owned housing. That statistic is equal to or better than most colleges and universities," according to the report.
"Given the fact that many students, especially with present economic realities, live at home with their parents, other students are living abroad, and clinical offerings require students to live away from campus, a 100 percent ratio is unrealistic," it says. "Nonetheless, the university stands by the commitment it has made to the town and to its student body to accommodate each and every Quinnipiac student who applies for university owned housing. It is doing so today and will continue to do so tomorrow."