By Caitlyn Crenshaw–
When Ashly Roberts decided to come to the University of Louisville, she decided to jump into the traditional college experience by living in a dorm.
“Originally I wasn’t going to live in a dorm, but I realized that it would be a better idea to be here,” said Roberts, a freshman psychology major.
According to the fall preliminary numbers, 62 percent of this year’s freshmen decided to live on campus their first year of college. However, the freshmen of 2012 will not have the decision to fret over because it is now mandatory for all freshmen, with a few exceptions, to live on campus.
According to Shannon Staten, director of housing and residence life, “research shows that the students who live on campus their first year are 15 percent more likely to succeed and graduate…The main motivation [behind the policy] is to meet the university’s goal and our desire for students to complete and graduate successfully.”
Some freshmen say living on campus has benefits.
“Being a freshmen is hard enough without having to worry about all the other stuff,” Emily Simonson, a freshman living in Miller Hall.
Staten said one of the reasons for the timing of the new policy is that “until now we have been unable to take care of the freshmen on campus… However now we can take care of freshmen and do it well.”
Staten said the university has made efforts to make campus life easier for residents by extending library hours and improving dining services.
The new policy will not be a comfort to some incoming freshmen.
“I don’t think it should be required,” Simonson said. “It should be a choice.”
There will be allowances for some exceptions, because “we understand that there are just some things that get in the way,” Staten said.
Students will be allowed to file an appeal if they are married, have children, are a veteran, are over 21 years old or if they live in Louisville.
The financial impact of the new policy will likely shock many incoming freshmen next fall. The meal plan for students living in a dorm without a personal kitchen is $1,460 per semester, and there is also the expense of housing itself.
Staten said the price will hopefully be compensated by a “high level of participation and energy level around campus.”