UK plans to accommodate another record-breaking first-year class with TRI-IT pilot program


Construction has been completed on Woodland Ave in front of Chellgren Hall in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | File photo

Bryce Towle, Reporter

UK Housing is launching TRI-IT, a new dorm concept that fits three students into a two-bedroom suite, Director of Issues Management and Crisis Communications, Whitney Siddiqi said in an email to the Kernel.

According to the email, participants in the TRI-IT program will receive a discounted rate for living expenses. The standard two-bedroom suites offer living spaces for two people and cost $5,181 per semester. The three-person modified two-bedroom suite, or the TRI-IT option is priced at $4,922 for bedroom A (Bed A) and $4,138 for bedroom B (Bed B or C) per semester. 

Bed A of the TRI-IT option offers the same living quarters as the standard two-bedroom suites, one individual bedroom with a full-size XL bed, furniture and a five-foot by two-foot closet. The bedroom with beds B or C is equipped with twin-size XL bunk beds, additional furniture and shared closet space of the same size as bedroom A. The entirety of the living space is equipped with a semi-private bathroom, a common area and granite countertops, according to the UK housing website.

“In addition to the discounted room rates, all three roommates living in a TRI-IT room will receive up to $150 added to their UK Plus Account and up to $50 to use at the UK Bookstore,” Siddiqi said. 

The new option for student living will be available in Ball Hall, Blazer Hall, Chellgren Hall, Haggin Hall, Holmes Hall, Jewell Hall, Lewis Hall, Pigman Hall, Woodland Glen IV and Woodland Glen V. 

Last year the university received an entry class of over 6,000 students, leaving UK housing with a strained bed-to-student ratio, according to the Kernel’s “Overwhelmed” investigation series.

According to Siddiqi, UK expects another record first-year class this fall, also noting that the university has an unprecedented demand among students for on-campus housing.

Housing another record-breaking first-year class remains an issue, and the TRI-IT pilot program is aimed to correct it. 

“To accommodate as many students living on campus as possible as these students do better academically, acclimate more quickly to college life, and are more involved in the campus community,” Siddiqi said. 

Jason Akwa, an incoming freshman human health sciences major who is planning on living on campus weighed in with his opinions on the topic of the TRI-IT dorms. 

“I immediately shut it down, I wasn’t open to it at all. As soon as I saw it, I just wanted to stick to a two-person room,” Akwa said.

Meenaloshini Kandasamy, a sophomore psychology major at the university, said students will feel as though the two-bedroom three-person suite is unfair.

“It might be just kind of weird, they’ll feel it’s unfair. And also like for their college experience, they probably want that privacy,” Kandasamy said.

For many incoming students, housing plays a role in their choice to become a UK student, this was true for third-year political science major Stephen Morkel. 

“One of the reasons that I decided to come on campus and come to UK was that I knew that the dorms I’d be living in are really nice, especially coming in 2020 privacy was really, really important then, but the dorms are incredibly expensive, ludicrously expensive,” Morkel said. “And to kind of force in additional people into a space that was not built for it…I mean it just seems unfair.”

Morkel added that this is not the best solution to another record-breaking first-year class, and that he feels the university is “creating a half-measure response” in the hope to create a solution for the increase of incoming students. 

“Last year, housing was just like, horrible from what I heard, you know, people sleeping in the study rooms…that’s just awful, and they are bringing in just as many people… sounds like they’re taking out one bed and putting in another and saying job well done. You know, that’s just not how it works,” Morkel said.

The housing rates currently reflect the fall 2023 semester price. Spring 2024 room rates are subject to change. A review and approval by the UK Board of Trustees are pending, according to the campus housing website.