Despite the hardships presented by the pandemic and a summer filled with police brutality, Howard University has had its fair share of victories within the last two years. Phylicia Rashad has joined the university as the dean of the newly renamed Chadwick Boseman College of Fine Arts and Makur Maker became the first five-star recruit to play basketball at Howard University. Not to mention, McKenzie Bezos donated $40 million to the university and Howard University graduate Kamala Harris was elected as the Vice President of the United States. As a result of their continued success, enrollment has increased, but that may create more problems than solutions for the historically Black university.
A recent report from The Washington Post has outlined Howard University's current housing shortage. During the fall semester of 2019, Howard University welcomed 1,834 new students to campus. This fall, the HBCU is expecting more than 2,200 freshmen. In a virtual format, this increase would not cause many problems for The Mecca. However, plans to return to campus have caused many students to realize there aren't too many options for students hoping to live in university housing. Specifically, Howard University gives housing preference to freshman and sophomore students, so many juniors and seniors are being pushed out in the high-priced real estate market of Washington, D.C. Out of the chaos, the #HomelessAtHoward trend has become a topic of conversation on social media.
Howard University has worked to secure additional housing, raising its housing capacity to more than 5,500 beds. However, the housing that the university has secured is reportedly as far as the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. In certain instances, a one-way trip between the two institutions on public transportation can take as long as 45 or 50 minutes. With that said, housing in College Park through Howard University may be the most affordable option as many studio apartments in Washington, D.C. can cost upwards of $1,100.
“It’s difficult to sit through because, for me, Howard is the only school I can see myself attending. So when you get told in early July and classes start in August that you have to find housing in D.C. or you can’t continue to attend school, its like ‘What, are you kidding me?’" Howard University Yasmine Grier told Lauren Lumpkin of The Washington Post.
“I had to consider dropping out.”
Despite the housing shortages many students face, Howard University plans to welcome new students as early as August 6.