West Texas A&M University

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Residential Living - Benefits of On-Campus Housing

Benefits of On-Campus Housing for Students

Courtesy of The Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers

Housing and Meal Plan Requirements

Introduction

There are many benefits to students living on campus. These benefits can be tied to access to programs in the residence halls and the connections to the university community provided by the halls. Studies have shown that students who reside on campus receive direct benefits related to individual academic success as compared to their off-campus counterparts. On a broader perspective, all students, residents and non-residents, benefit from the existence of campus housing as do faculty and staff.

Academic Impact for Residents

By living on campus, students’ current and future academic lives are greatly impacted. Students living in residence halls are more likely to participate in campus learning communities and by extension are more likely to have interaction with faculty through in-hall study groups and special lectures, enriching their experience beyond the classroom setting. Furthermore, it has been shown that students living on campus tend to earn better grades and have retention rates at their institutions which are higher than their off-campus peers. These students are timelier in their graduation and more often go on to graduate school and earn advanced degrees. Living on campus gives students an academic edge by earning higher grades, providing opportunities for learning communities and faculty access, and promotes their future growth by helping them stay connected to the college environment.

Social and Personal Development for Residents

Campus housing effectively integrates learning and social development by providing students the opportunity to form an identity or a sense of community with the institution. Students who live on campus generally participate in more campus activities, take advantage of campus resources, and are more involved in leadership experiences. Many times the interaction that students have within the residence hall frames their campus experience. Living in a community that offers all of the components of a small neighborhood assists students in gaining a better understanding of themselves and the diverse population that comprises their neighborhood. It also offers them informal and formal leadership opportunities on their floors or wings and within the entire residential and institutional community.

In addition to the residence hall experience, students who live on campus are also actively involved in campus-wide organizations and activities. They tend to have a better understanding of self, experience positive changes in values, have higher self-esteem, and are more satisfied with their collegiate experience. This is due to their experience as a community member and a leader in their “neighborhood” and the intentional facilitation of programs and services offered in the residential community. These programs and services provide students with information and valuable life skills such as effective communication, tolerance and understanding, decision making, and critical thinking that enhance their social and personal development and prepare them for life outside of college.

While there is no guarantee that on-campus residents will attend student activities, athletic and/or cultural events, it is more likely that they will attend than their commuter counterparts. On-campus residents are more likely to avail themselves of campus recreational areas, campus facilities, and campus support systems.

Convenience and Time Management

Many students find that living on campus is much more convenient. They don't waste as much time sitting in traffic burning extra gasoline getting to campus. Rather than spending time at the grocery store, on campus students have convenient ready access to varied and reasonably priced dining options. This helps them maintain a more healthy lifestyle than their off campus counterparts.

For many students, living on campus provides access to a wide variety of campus services, most of which have already been paid for. Because of convenience, access, and the highly structured and supervised environment in which they live, most on-campus students take greater advantage of campus services. They generally interact more with faculty and student mentors. They often take greater advantage of academic support services including mentoring, advising, personal and academic counseling, career workshops, faculty mentors, etc. The interaction and knowledge of services lead many on-campus students to become effective peer mentors. Availability of technology is extremely important to today's students. In general, high speed connectivity (including wireless), computer labs, and similar services are more readily available and at a lower cost to those living on campus. On-campus students often have an increased level of accessibility to public safety and security resources, thus lessening safety concerns. On-campus housing requires trained, skilled professional staff to manage it successfully. Students also enjoy a quick response from approachable and accessible maintenance and custodial staff and 24 hour live-in staff, further enhancing customer service beyond what they might receive if living off campus.

Conclusion

The references below are resources that support this document. Individual institutions that have had on-campus housing are also a good source of data to support on campus housing. Institutions often track their on-campus residents’ academic performance including grades, retention, and persistence to graduation.

2013-2014 University’s Housing and Meal Plan Requirements.

References

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  • Astin, A. W. (1977). Four critical years. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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  • Evans, N. J. (2001). Guiding principles: A review and analysis of student affairs philosophical statements. Journal of College Student Development.
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  • NASPA/ACPA. (2004). Learning Reconsidered—A campus-wide focus on the student experience.
  • Pascarella, E. & Chapman, D. (1983). Validation of a theoretical model of college withdrawal: Interaction effects in a multi-institutional sample. Research in Higher Education. 19, 25-48
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  • Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (1991). How college affects students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p.639
  • Upcraft, L. E., Gardneer, J. N., & Barefoot, B. O. (2005). Challenging and supporting the first-year student: A handbook for improving the first year of college. San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Velez, W. (1983). Finishing college: The effects of college type. Sociology of Education. 58, 191-200.