Beginning in the fall of 2019, incoming freshmen will be forced to live on-campus in an effort to more effectively integrate students into all things UConn. While this type of mandate may appear authoritarian in nature, the benefits of such a fiat may be felt campus-wide.
According to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz, “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.”
Furthermore, “It helps them become familiar with university services, campus amenities and activities they might not otherwise experience. 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 advantages to immersion in this incredible university’s culture are undeniable, but some students are expressing justifiable concern.
A commuter of three semesters, Emma Geissert explained, “It is unfair financially to force people to live on-campus and it also can put people drastically outside their comfort zone (potentially ruining) a freshman’s first year experience.”
Similarly, Emma Pereira expressed opposition, stating, “I think that it should not be a requirement for freshmen to live on campus because room and board can be expensive and some people may not have the money.”
Alas, the price to be paid for integration must be revealed. The university’s mandate will force incoming freshmen to pay the $12,848 tuition fee imposed upon in-state students, but the cost runs deeper. While living on campus, students will accrue a debt of approximately $28,604 in associated costs, including the university’s meal plan and housing estimates.
UConn students will have to pay the price, but the product they’re being forced to buy is likely worth it.
As Emma Pereira, who has lived on-campus for two semesters, added, “Living on campus is very beneficial. It gives students an opportunity to be independent and responsible. I also feel like living on campus has given me an opportunity to help make stronger friendships and be more involved in the community.”
While commuter students still reap the doles offered by the state’s immense investment in UConn, they may be on the outside-looking-in when it comes to the unquantifiable benefits of the culture and community associated with the UConn family.
The university has put an official price on its students’ happiness. The question remains as to whether or not they’ll be happy to pay it.