- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers says a housing gridlock that initially left more than 300 students without a place to live during Welcome Week will be resolved.

By Thursday, The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/1WIXZFF) the number of students without housing assignments had dropped to 42.

Meyers told the College Board those students should be set by the weekend. Classes start Monday.

“We’ve had some challenges housing people,” Meyers told board members. “We’re still working on it.”

Since the peak, Meyers said the university has placed 100 students per day in housing. She did not elaborate on what caused the issues.

“There were things we could have done better,” she said. “Obviously, balls were dropped. Now the silver lining that you’re not aware of that I am is that everybody from every division has worked flat-out to serve our students. We’ll get back and make adjustments as needed.”

To handle increasing enrollment, Jackson State last year began leasing a 444-bed apartment complex adjacent to campus to house students. In January, the College Board let the school borrow up to $10 million to buy it. The school also began leasing last year a 244-bed hotel close to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds for the same purpose. The school pays $800,000 in annual rent.

In March 2014, the College Board gave JSU the go-ahead for a $48 million, 628-bed housing complex, dining hall and conference center on campus. That facility is scheduled for completion sometime next year.

Jackson State officials expect enrollment for the fall semester to top 10,000, which would be a school record. Last year’s enrollment of just more than 9,500 was also a record. The freshman class will top 1,500, itself a record.

There is enough space to house 2,800 students, a 14 percent increase from the 2014-2015 academic year.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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