PULLMAN, Wash. — A recent study of Washington State University
freshmen indicates that those who lived in university housing significantly
outperformed those who lived off campus. The data on academic achievement
is consistent with studies performed nationwide that conclude there is a
substantial educational benefit to students living in campus residences.

WSU has had a long-standing policy that all single freshmen under age 20
must live in recognized living groups such as residence halls, fraternities or
sororities, with only limited exceptions.

However, in the past, some incoming freshmen have been able to sidestep the
residency requirement through certain loopholes. The study examined a group
of 144 of these individuals’ academic records and other factors, then compared
them with freshmen who lived on campus.

In addition to better grades, the freshmen living in residence halls reported
greater satisfaction with their college experience, study time with others, social
opportunities and learning enhancements. Residence hall dwellers also had
significantly less likelihood of leaving college between the freshman and
sophomore years.

“WSU was founded as a residential university, and that atmosphere has been
a key component of its unique identity,” said George Bettas, vice provost for
campus life and dean of students. “It is clear that freshmen who live on
campus have a distinct advantage, personally and academically, over those
who do not. WSU is committed to the success of all its students. We want to
make sure all entering freshmen have the opportunity to avail themselves of
our educational and personal development programs that help students
succeed.”

Students entering WSU this fall must make living arrangements that are in
compliance with university policy before they can begin classes. Letters
explaining the live-in policy have been sent to incoming freshmen who are still
without housing contracts.

WSU freshmen may be considered for an exemption if they live at home with
immediate family, have a medical condition that requires special living
arrangements, or they have severe financial hardship. Students may also
receive an exemption if they have already attended at least two regular
semesters or three quarters at another institution.

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