Not to derail the conversation from housing stock too much, but I was actually one of these students who graduated HS in 2020. I'm under the impression that fairly few students chose to delay enrolling for a year, and in fact, most chose to live on campus. It certainly felt like I was in the minority when I chose to take classes remotely the first semester.How many new applicants this year decided to take a year off so their freshmen years weren't ruined by a Covid environment? Miss out on the last few months of senior year, prom, graduation, etc etc etc, only to be told that you aren't allowed to party or do other typical college activities as a freshman. Tough to make friends when you can't even see each other's faces. If I graduated HS in 2020, I would have seriously considered delaying college by a year.
It's going to take a couple more years to find the equilibrium where we can trust the numbers as "normal" again.
My guess as to why this is the case is that while Northeastern likes to tout its financial aid, I think a substantial percentage of the demographic remains the type of people who are more unfazed by a steep charge for virtual classes. As for the current situation on campus, housing stock definitely remains at or above capacity. I personally know many people who were stuck in the Midtown Hotel as mentioned above or even the Westin Copley. Some people attribute this to COVID density restrictions, but as far as I know, nobody is being placed in a single when they otherwise would have been placed in a double unless they have actually contracted COVID.