Once construction on the new residence hall on 17th Avenue is complete, the University of Oregon will have 10 functioning dorms. As the new dorm comes online, a new requirement for first year students will begin as well. In fall 2017, all first year students will be required to live on campus.
Currently, the university houses about 80 percent of first year students on campus. According to Leah Andrews, the director of marketing and communications for university housing, the number of first year students living on will rise to approximately 90 percent next year. The remaining first year students are expected to fall under exemptions. For example, if a student lives with their parent or guardian within a 30 mile radius of the university, they are not required to live on campus.
According to Andrews, space is not going to be an issue. Even without the new residence hall, the university would have enough space to move to a live-on requirement. However, opening a new residence hall in the fall gives the university the opportunity to take half of Bean hall offline and to begin renovations without losing any space.
UO is the last public university in the state to move to a live-on requirement, according to Andrews. Other universities such as Oregon State have seen GPA improvements and higher retention rates after moving to the live-on requirement.
“Student success is at the heart of this change,” Andrews said.
According to a study by UO’s Division of Student life, students who live on campus for their first year have on average a 0.13 higher freshman GPA than students who live off campus.
The study also states that students who live in a conventional residence hall have a higher life satisfaction rate and higher rate of social belonging than those who live off campus in their first year. The report concludes that students who live on campus their first year are more likely to graduate than their off-campus peers.
UO’s cheapest room combined with the standard meal plan costs $11,430 a year. This has raised concerns in the past among students about the increasing costs of a college education.
When OSU required first year students to live on campus, it was only one element of the campus’ First-Year Experience program.
OSU’s goal was to increase student retention and increase the six-year graduation rate, according to Brian Stroup, associate director of university housing and dining for OSU.
“We have well over 10 years of data that says students who live on campus have a higher GPA overall than the average of those that live off campus,” Stroup said.
The decision to move to a live-on requirement at both the UO and OSU were made by the leadership at each university and not by the housing departments.
“It was a decision made by the university for the overall success of students,” Andrews said.