Guelph's mayor blasts university over lack of on-campus housing for 1st-year students this fall

The University of Guelph says it's looking at options to house first-year students. More than 1,300 students are on a waitlist to live on campus and the city's mayor says that's unacceptable. (Kate Bueckert/CBC - image credit)

Guelph's mayor says he's "disappointed" in the University of Guelph over concerns more than 1,300 first-year students could be without on-campus housing this fall.

In a statement on Thursday, Mayor Cam Guthrie said he only learned this week that the students who were given acceptance letters at the school may not be able to live on campus.

"I have made it clear to the university leadership that I am disappointed, and I expect them to actively participate in finding solutions," Guthrie said in the statement on the city's website and which he also shared on social media.

He said not having a plan to house first-year students will impact the wider community.

"The ripple effects will be considerable and compounding for our community for years to come. It is completely unacceptable," he said.

"Housing costs will most certainly rise, making it harder not just for students scrambling for accommodations, but for current residents and newcomers to Guelph and other individuals already struggling to find housing in our community. "

Statistics from the Ontario Universities' Application Centre show this year, the University of Guelph has 7,849 confirmations of offer acceptance from students. That's a 52.6 per cent increase over 2023.

The university's website, updated June 5, notes that "demand for residence has exceeded our capacity" and there is now a wait list for an on campus spot.

All international students and students from out-of-province who are beginning their studies at the school this summer or fall have been guaranteed housing. Ontario students were told on June 3 whether they were given a spot in residence or if they're on the wait list.

CBC News has reached out to the university for comment on the mayor's statement but did not immediately get a response.