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Thousands of Purdue freshmen in housing limbo with 5 weeks before semester start

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There are thousands of frustrated parents of Purdue freshmen, unsure where their students are going to live and unsure how much it’s going to cost.

Purdue officials said it’s a result of having the largest incoming freshman class in its history.

But it means some will be sleeping in spaces that were common areas or study spots last year.

Parents believe there should have been a lot more communication from the university. Most found out for the first time last week. They have to wait another week to find out where their son or daughter is going to spend their freshman year.

In total, Purdue says roughly 2,300 students are affected.

Based on where they end up, it could almost double their housing bill.

“We’re kind of in a ‘Catch-22,'” said Jamie, a mother of a Purdue freshman who talked with us as long as we didn’t use her last name.

While 2,300 families like Jamie’s met their deadline to sign a contract for housing at Purdue, the university has run out of room.

Last week, officials emailed those students an additional six options to choose from. Three are reconfigured housing options, including converted common areas. The other three are locations of apartment complexes that have master-lease agreements with Purdue.

“Yeah, it’s a concern having that freedom this young,” Jamie said.

“I’m quite sure they knew this was going to be a situation before one to two weeks ago,” said David, father to another Purdue freshman who also didn’t want his last name used.

While the reconfigured options have a discounted rate compared to traditional dorm options, the apartments are off-campus and several thousand dollars more than most typical freshman dorms.

“It’s a big, big difference,” David said. “We’ve been planning and budgeting for one amount and now there’s a very high likelihood that we’re going to have to pay more.”

Jamie is concerned about transportation and meals. She also worries that being placed off-campus will make it harder for her son to succeed academically.

“My biggest concern is safety,” Jamie said.

“They’re better suited and set up for success better when they are on campus,” David agrees.

Purdue University declined to be interviewed for this story and also did not respond to a number of News 8 requests, including how the students were selected for housing, how the latest round of housing will be apportioned and if the university would waive all fees for breaking a housing contract if a student was assigned to an option that was not desired.

It’s that lack of communication that upsets parents the most.

“I feel like first they should have been very transparent with families and the students,” Jamie said.

For students who want to cancel their housing contract now, Purdue has waived the $50 cancellation fee, but Jamie said at this stage in the game, there really aren’t many other housing options out there. There’s also been no indication that Purdue will waive the much larger fee that comes from cancelling a housing contract after the assignment is made.

The 2,300 students should get their assignment on July 23, exactly one month before the first day of classes.

In an email, Purdue officials said there were about 1,000 master-lease apartments available. The university has purchased about 500 beds, desks and chairs and leased other furnishings to make accommodations work.

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