CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Southern Utah University is struggling to get students housing for the fall semester after university leaders say they’ve seen unprecedented growth in the last six years.

Campus tours are taking place at SUU for potential incoming students, despite university leaders saying there’s a housing shortage.

“I live in a property that my parents bought a few years ago, so I don’t have to struggle with the housing crisis, but I’ve seen a lot of other students having this issue,” says Ashlee Lyman, a senior at SUU.

She says in her four years at SUU, she’s never seen students struggle to find housing like they are this year.

“A lot of families are opening up their homes, for students just with extra bedrooms for kids that moved out and things like that, super strange situation,” says Lyman.

The Vice President of Student Affairs, Jared Tippets, says on-campus housing is full the fall semester.

“We anticipate that this might be the case for the next semester or two as the community continues to respond and provide additional housing for our students,” he says.

Tippets says he believes the pandemic and the hot housing market lead investors to sell properties to families, leaving their off-campus options slim. They’ve been calling students to see if some are willing to move their education online.

“We’re so appreciative for the community who have been opening up their doors, if they have a basement or apartment, a place where students can live, and have kind of their own access point, to the home, opening up those doors for our students to live in the community has given us each week, more and more beds show up,” he says.

Tippets says many students from the class of 2020 decided to wait out a year due to the pandemic, adding demand to the housing hunt.

The university is asking the Cedar City community to submit an off-campus housing option online if they have rooms to spare.