[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]BankstonBeginning with the 2014 fall semester, first-time full-time freshmen will be required to live on campus, according to Scott Kuttenkuler, director of residence life. The policy applies to students enrolled in 12 or more hours who are less than 21 years old on the first day of class.

Exemptions include students who have completed 24 credit hours or are 21 years old on the first day of classes for that academic year. Other exemptions include students who live with their parents or legal guardians at their primary residence and commute to campus from within 60 miles of the Monticello campus; married students; students with at least one year of active military experience; and students who are single parents with the primary responsibility for supporting and caring for a child.

Other exemptions, which will be reviewed on a case by case basis, include students with an extreme medical condition or disability, and students with personal compelling circumstances.

According to Kuttenkuler, the policy change was made because studies show that living on campus “has numerous educational and social benefits. Students who live on campus tend to earn better grades and have higher grade point averages than those who live off campus,” Kuttenkuler explained. “They develop stronger ties to the college and have a greater feeling of community with their peers. Students who live on campus have greater opportunities to interact with faculty and feel more connected to their educational experiences.”

Jay Hughes, vice chancellor for student affairs, added that students who live on campus also tend to develop more lasting friendships with their peers, are more satisfied with their college experience, graduate at a higher rate and graduate in less time than their counterparts who live off campus.

“We feel like living on campus, especially for first-time students, is so important in so many ways,” said Hughes. “The first year of college will usually determine whether they stay in school and eventually earn a degree. This is an important step in our ongoing efforts to improve student retention.”

The cost of living on campus is also less than living off campus, said Kuttenkuler. “Most students, when they consider living off campus, don’t take into account all of the expenses they will incur,” he said. “They may look at apartment rent and it appears less expensive, but once they factor in utilities, food, gasoline for driving to and from campus, and miscellaneous expenses, it’s actually less expensive to live on campus.”

The new policy is part of a university-wide initiative to improve the on-campus experience for UAM students. The university recently completed a major renovation and upgrade of Bankston Hall, a coeducational residential facility, and is in the process of upgrading the interior furnishings in all of its residence halls. Other improvements have included a remodel of the campus coffee shop located in the Taylor Library and Technology Center,improvements to food service offerings, the completion of a campus wellness center, and increased on-campus student programs and activities. A game room and fitness room have also been added in the John F. Gibson University Center.

“We want our students to have a full college experience,” explained Hughes. “We want them to understand that college is more than just going to class. The years they spend here will shape them for the rest of their lives.”

To learn more about UAM’s housing policies, contact the Office of Residence Life at (870) 460-1045.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_gallery type=”flexslider_fade” interval=”3″ images=”25628″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]