CALGARY -- First-year students will need to be relocated this fall after the University of Calgary opted to close its dormitory-style housing on campus due to the number of shared common spaces.

“Normally we would place up to 800 students in traditional residence, first-year students, now we’re going to have to figure out a way to place them in our other buildings," said Lakshmi Sangaranarayanan, associate director of resident services at the University of Calgary. 

First-year students will instead move into two buildings, including the International House. 

It will also cost first-year students about $3,000 more than if they were living in dorms, and doesn’t include a meal plan, which is required. 

“We haven’t really increased the rent because students are moving into this building, students are going to be paying whatever the rate that has been set for this building,” said Sangaranarayanan.

On its website, the university says, “We understand this may cause some challenges; however, the new room assignments are in place to maintain everyone’s health and safety while staying with us.”

The university says the buildings are suite-style apartments which two students can share, while using a kitchenette and bathroom. 

Common spaces like lounges and the shared kitchen will be off limits to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

The students union says tuition increasing is impacting some students. 

“Students are rightly concerned about being able to afford the cost of their post-secondary education especially in these hard times, and this includes the cost of residence,” said Marley Gillies, vice president external of the students union. 

“We are asking the university to provide additional needs based grants and bursaries as well as remote social supports for those students living in residence and who need that extra support.”

The university says it only expects to see 30 to 40 percent resident capacity come the fall, due to students studying at home and online. Others have deferred to the winter semester. 

U of C currently has between 400 and 500 international students living on campus, and 400 students signed up for first year starting in the fall. Before COVID-19, up to 2,800 students lived on campus. 

Mount Royal University does not have dorms but rather apartment style suites. It says it will limit capacity.

For example, four bedrooms will be limited to two students. MRU typically has about 900 students who live on campus annually.