Minimal effect on on-campus housing due to missionary age change

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The ripple effect from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ change in missionary age eligibility may be far-reaching — but its impact on demand for on-campus housing this year is likely to be minimal.

Massive new Heritage dorms have replaced the old heritage halls buildings west of campus. Photo by Sarah Hill
Massive new Heritage dorms have replaced the old heritage halls buildings west of campus. Photo by Sarah Hill
BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead said in an email, “While it is still too early for any final counts, we do believe we’re going to see a decrease in the number of students living in on-campus housing this fall.”
Hollingshead also reported, however, that the number of freshman applicants for Fall 2013 was slightly higher than last year and that the numbers for male and female applicants were similar to those from the previous year.
“We will continue to evaluate the impact of the missionary age change on housing and make necessary adjustments as we get a better feel for that impact,” Hollingshead said.
Since LDS President Thomas S. Monson announced the lowered age requirements at October 2012 General Conference, an average of 1,400 mission calls per week have been issued since Jan. 1, 2013, according to the Church’s missionary FAQ.
Other universities with a large population of LDS students have reported varying degrees of change in their demand for on-campus housing.

Jon Phister, owner and developer relations manager for Housing and Student Living at BYU–Idaho, said on-campus housing in Rexburg is filling up at a similar rate to that of previous years.

“Women’s housing is full; in men’s housing there are some vacancies, but we’re right on track to fill up,” Phister said.

Scott Jensen, associate director of administrative services at the University of Utah, noticed an inconsequential decrease in the number of students on the wait list for on-campus housing.

“Specifically our male wait list is actually significantly shorter than it has been in the past,” Jensen said. “Overall, we haven’t seen a huge decline in demand. We’re still planning on opening full.”

Utah State University experienced a temporary decline in wake of the announcement.

“It did have a pretty big impact on us (this) spring,” said Steven Jensen, executive director of housing and residence life at USU. “Our occupancy was really high winter semester then dropped significantly spring term, particularly among females.”

According to Jensen, numbers had returned to normal by summer term.

“Our numbers are back up for fall semester,” he said.

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