Should freshmen be required to live on campus? It deters students

Blake Blevins

UK has recently expanded its reservoir of residence halls. For those living on the south end of campus the sound of construction has been perpetually heralding the additions of Lewis Hall and University Flats. 

However, with empty rooms in some of the already existing residence halls, it is reasonable to speculate the university may have difficulties filling the new dorms being introduced this fall. 

These housing additions pose a question: should UK require freshmen to live on campus for their first year like many other state universities/colleges, or should they face the risk of more empty rooms? 

The fact most pertinent to this debate is cost. The convenience and inclusivity of on-campus living comes with a price, which can be fronted with out-of-pocket capital or student loans, depending on the situation. 

For many, no thought is given to expenses such as these. There are students who never need to glance at price tags or their account balances— simply giving their parents access to their financial account takes care of everything for the next four years. 

Others, however, crunch numbers to the last cent. The difference in a few hundred dollars can be the deciding factor on what college to attend or even whether higher education is an option. 

Despite this, the two most commonly cited sentiments in favor of requiring first-year students to live in a residence hall consist of academic benefits and a bandwagon argument. 

There certainly is a correlation between students who live on campus and higher grades and class attendance— a statement circulated in a recent advertisement by UK’s official Instagram account.

It can also be argued that there is a correlation between socioeconomic situations and whether or not a student lives on campus. There are insufficient grounds to declare a policy requiring freshmen to live on campus a noble tactic to increase student success. 

A second notion used to further this proposal is the point that many other state and out-of-state institutions of higher learning require first-year students to live on campus. Without further justification, which seems absent, this is fallacious and holds little weight. 

A potential middle ground for the housing dilemma is to allow exceptions to a rule requiring living on campus for first-year students on the basis of financial need, but the realm of higher education is clearly still lacking a method of gaging true financial position. 

UK faces an ethical dilemma: is the university to force prospective students into living on campus or to potentially allow newly constructed residence halls to sit vacant? 

Allowing more youth the indispensable experience of higher education is infinitely more important than underbooking dorms.