First-year housing requirement coming to TAMU-CC

Miramar+student+housing+complexes+as+seen+from+the+air.

Courtesy of TAMU-CC Marketing and Communication

Miramar student housing complexes as seen from the air.

Raul Alonzo Jr., Reporter

A new rule and going into effect Fall 2020 will require incoming first-year TAMU-CC students to live on campus for at least two semesters.

According to Dr. Amanda Drum, Executive Director of Strategic Engagement Initiatives at TAMU-CC, the change aligns the university with other schools around the country, with the intent to help make students more successful. 

Citing surveys taken by the university, Drum said students who live on-campus tend to have a higher GPA and graduate faster, as well as other benefits. These are trends that align with other national studies. “This is just because of the on-campus atmosphere,” Drum said. “The support system provided by on-campus residency.”

There are, however, several ways students can be exempt from the requirement. Prospective students who have completed high school more than twelve months of starting classes at TAMU-CC are automatically exempt, as well as those who will be ages 20 or older as of Sept. 1. In addition, prospective students are exempt if their permanent address is inside of Aransas, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces and San Patricio counties. They may also be exempt if their permanent address resides inside the zip codes 78340 or 78393, which are Bayside and Woodsboro, respectively. 

There will also be options for Special Residency Requirement exemptions which can be based on medical reasons, significant financial reasons and others. According to TAMU-CC’s website, the most common special exemption is the student living with an approved family member. This can include parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles. Cousins or siblings are not considered approved for the exemption, Drum said.

Drum said the consideration for the requirement had been in the works since at least 2017, when the university last added housing. That year, they overbuilt some in anticipation for the future. With admission rates steady, the university saw the opportunity to implement the requirement. “This is not an unusual thing,” Drum said. “90% of campuses have a live-on requirement. We’re doing a one-year requirement because we know we can manage a one-year requirement.”

For first-year Environmental Science major Avery Howe, the requirement wouldn’t have changed her plans much had it been in place when she decided to enroll at TAMU-CC. “I kind of already knew I was going to live on campus, so I don’t really mind it,” Howe said. “It’s really close to classes and all the buildings I have to go to.”

But for first-year Marketing major Mason Moczygemba, a requirement could possibly play a factor for incoming students. “It’s certainly a lot more expensive to live on campus than off, so then it definitely could have impacted that,” Moczygemba said. “Because if it was required that you live here, then I think some people may have not been able to afford it.”

Drum said the university does take into consideration market rates when comparing to off-campus options, but that there are differences to take into account when drawing comparisons. Such differences Drum points to include the offering of nine month leases on campus versus the strictly 12-month options off, as well as the inclusion of utilities and individual lease liability on-campus. “When you really look at the value you get for living on campus,” said Drum, “and you consider everything that’s included in on-campus housing, it’s a very good value.” 

Drum said the university also works with the RTA annually when considering transportation needs. This way, the school can adjust should the housing requirement prompt a spike in ridership that would need to be accounted for. “I think this is a change for our campus, and change is always a challenge,” said Drum. “It’s hard for people to think about changes that come, but this is something that is a best practice nationwide. We are doing this to help our students be more successful, and that’s really the goal.”