Next fall, Susquehanna University will begin enforcing a long-standing policy requiring most students to live on campus all four years, officials at the Pennsylvania school say.
There was a small protest by students after media coverage indicated the policy was new. But spokeswoman Angela Burrows says the decision was driven simply by new residential units. “In the past, we didn’t have the capacity to house all of our students on campus. We acquired some new housing stock and, given our enrollment, we can now accommodate everyone.”
Students argue they could save money living off-campus and say they want to live more independently. Susquehanna has about 2,100 students, and housing for a double room in any of its residential units costs $5,560 a year, regardless of location. Single rooms cost an additional $575. The institution’s newest housing is a complex of townhouses that can accommodate three students per unit.
While many colleges require freshmen and sophomores to live on campus, four-year requirements are not as common, says Emily Glenn, corporate librarian for the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International. The belief is that residing on campus increases retention. “Students develop more of an attachment to the campus when they live on it. ... They get to know more people,” she says.
About 14 percent of seniors and 14.5 percent of juniors at public and private four-year institutions lived on campus in 2007, according to the most recent figures compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education. That same report found about 35 percent of freshman and 25 percent of sophomores lived on campus.
Centre College in Kentucky is another school requiring students to live on campus all four years.
“There is much growth outside the classroom,” says Ann Young, director of student life and housing. “Our students benefit from the extra educational and recreational programming done by our residence life staff.”