All incoming freshman at the University of Connecticut will be required to live on-campus starting in Fall 2019, Stephanie Reitz, university spokesperson, said.
The on-campus residency requirement for new freshmen and change-of-campus students, meaning those students moving to Storrs from other UConn locations, is aimed to help students learn beyond the classroom, Reitz said.
“Living on-campus for the first year has been shown at universities nationwide to enhance students experience, giving them what we call wrap-around support academically and socially,” Reitz said.
The requirement is also supposed to make it easier for new students to find peers, Reitz said.
“It helps them become familiar with university services, campus amenities and activities they might not otherwise experience,” Reitz said. “It also helps them meet many other new students and quickly get help if they’re struggling to adjust to college life or having academic challenges.”
The change was approved by the Board of Trustees’ student life committee this past fall, USG’s Student Senate and the University Senate’s executive committee, Reitz said. The approval was based on a few factors, including the fact that the change doesn’t affect any current students and that UConn has room for the new students.
“About two-thirds of our Storrs undergraduates already live in residence halls,” Reitz said. “It’s expected to increase the on-campus population by about 200 students, which UConn can easily accommodate in its residence halls.”
In both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years, on-campus housing applications were below capacity.
However, UConn will allow students with extenuating circumstances to live off-campus their first year, Reitz said.
Students who would be exempt from the requirement include those living with parents or guardians within 60 miles of campus, students aged 21 and older, military veterans, students who are married and/or have dependents, those with medical conditions that cannot be met on campus, students with religious practices that cannot be accommodated on campus, non-degree students, those who have a demonstrated unmet financial need in which the cost of housing and dining would present an insurmountable financial burden and/or students participating in off-campus programs out of the area, Reitz said.
While this program has advantages, Emma Geissert, a fourth-semester math major who commuted for her first three semesters, said she would not have been exempt and she would not have liked living on-campus for her freshman year.
“It is unfair financially to force people to live on-campus and it also can put people drastically outside their comfort zone,” Geissert said. “It could help them socially and with time management, or it could ruin a freshman’s first year experience.”
Emma Pereira, a second-semester economics major who has lived on-campus the past two semesters, said that living on-campus could cause too big of a financial burden for families.
“I think that it should not be a requirement for freshman to live on campus because room and board can be expensive and some people may not have the money,” Pereira said.
For Pereira, she said she personally enjoys living on-campus and it has helped her college experiences.
“I do feel like living on campus is very beneficial. It gives students an opportunity to be independent and responsible,” Pereira said. “I also feel like living on campus has given me an opportunity to help make stronger friendships and be more involved in the community.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.