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Mizzou to rent out unoccupied dorm rooms amid falling enrollment, budget cuts

Amid budget cuts and falling enrollment, the University of Missouri will begin renting out unoccupied dorm rooms during special events in fall 2017.
Amid budget cuts and falling enrollment, the University of Missouri will begin renting out unoccupied dorm rooms during special events in fall 2017.

Now anyone can have that college dorm experience for just $120 a night.

The University of Missouri will rent out empty rooms this fall for home football weekends and other events at the Columbia campus. The move was announced Thursday at the university Board of Curators meeting.

The rooms are “walking distance from Memorial Stadium,” promises the Residential Life webpage.

A “guest housing” page created this week offers furnished, two-bedroom suites with four single beds for $120 per night. Parking is extra.

“Free high-speed wireless access, and economy bed linens and towels are included,” the website says.

The offer comes in the context of falling enrollment and budget cuts. Freshman enrollment dropped 23 percent in 2016 and, as of early May, it was down another 16 percent. Earlier this month, UM System President Mun Choi announced $101 million in budget cuts at Mizzou’s four campuses, resulting in the loss of 474 jobs.

“We have taken seven residence halls off-line temporarily due to the drop in enrollment,” Christian Basi, director of the university News Bureau, said Thursday. “Because of that we have been looking for additional uses for those residence halls instead of letting them sit there. Even if they are off-line, they cost to operate.”

The university will use 12 residence halls for student housing this fall. Of the seven off-line halls, Excellence and Discovery Halls will be offered for weekend rental. Basi said the university plans other uses for the remaining five.

Basi said he is not aware of any other schools offering dorm rentals. He said it was far too early to gauge the level of interest.

The Twitter-verse noticed the unusual dorms-for-rent offer.

“I remember in college them running out of dorm spaces for students,” posted one person. “How do you have extra to rent...?”

“Renting a dorm room in Columbia has to be better than some of those hotels,” posted another.

“The newer dorm rooms are not anything like the dorm rooms when I was at Mizzou,” said another person.

Mizzou is nearing the end of a $300 million, 18-year Residential Life Master Plan approved in 2001, according to The Columbia Missourian.

Staff writer Lily Oppenheimer contributed to this report.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

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