All freshmen will be expected to live on campus starting in the fall semester of 2016. A recent announcement from David Burge, vice president of Enrollment Management and Rose Pascarell, vice president of University Life, indicates that new first year freshmen students enrolled full-time are expected to become residential members of the Mason community.
According to the announcement, the decision was, in part, based on national studies that show students who live on campus perform higher in the classroom and feel more connected to the campus community. Modifying the housing expectation from “opt-in” to “opt-out,” Burge and Pascarell say, will better reflect the importance that the university places on residential life.
Mason has the second largest residential campus community in Virginia. In the last five years, between 65 to 75 percent of freshmen chose to live on campus at Mason.
The requirement does provide exemptions. Most notably, students that can claim a primary residence in the Northern Virginia counties of Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Alexandria, and parts of Loudoun are eligible for exemption. According to the email, 90 percent of freshmen who currently live off-campus this year fit into this category.
The other exemptions listed in the announcement are as follows: 20 years of age or older on the first day of classes; married, domestically partnered and/or has legally dependent children; current active military or veteran status; medical and/or disability circumstances; financial hardship that would result from living on campus; cultural or religious considerations; and unforeseen changes in a student’s circumstance.
While Burge and Pascarell say that they believe this requirement will “enhance the Mason experience” by growing enrollment, a review of the policy will take place after its first year.