Elite colleges offer students cash, ski passes to ease campus housing crunch

By: | August 4, 2021

Colleges are preparing for a flood of students returning to on-campus dorm life this semester, after many spent the past year studying remotely. One problem? There’s not enough housing for everyone.

Undergrads looking forward to resuming in-person classes will be jostling for space with 20-somethings who took a year off, and students who otherwise might be spending time abroad. Accommodating them all has been like a puzzle — especially for elite schools that tout their small class sizes and close-knit social scenes.

In Vermont, Middlebury College is dangling incentives like ski passes to find takers for a satellite locale 11 miles (18 kilometers) away. Dartmouth College, in neighboring New Hampshire, converted common areas into bedrooms and doubles into triples, and offered $5,000 to students who would drop their bid to live on campus. Even after that, more than 90 remained on a waitlist for housing as of last week.

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