More than 100 academic scholarships offered at Central Michigan University require students to live on campus for both their freshman and sophomore year.
The policy has been in place for more than five years and will continue in the foreseeable future, said Michael Owens, associate dean of students and director of scholarships and financial aid.
Owens points to the grade point average of on-campus students as one reason for the requirement.
“The academic success record is slightly better for on-campus students,” he said. “The differences aren’t dramatic, but the facts show that it is to their advantage.”
All students are initially required to live on campus for their first two years, even without scholarships, Owens said. However, this requirement is often waived when residence halls are close to being filled.
“If housing says that there isn’t enough space, then they waive the requirement for some students,” he said.
Lake City freshman Craig Johnson plans on living in a residence hall during his sophomore year, and has little to complain about when it comes to the requirement for certain scholarships.
“I think it’s fair,” he said. “If they are giving us money, I think they have a right to require us to live on campus.”
Johnson said the advantages such as close proximity to class, along with easy access to food, are reasons enough for wanting to stay on campus.
Complaints against the rule are not uncommon, but a large number of students are happy to keep their scholarships in exchange for living where the university wants them to, said Joan Schmidt, associate director of residence life.
“A lot of people don’t like the social restrictions,” Owens said. “There’s also a lot of peer pressure involved. Most people move off campus by their junior year because that’s what everyone else is doing.”
Expenses of living in a residence hall are often seen as an issue. However, Owens said that there is no major difference in costs between living in a residence hall and living in an apartment. Some students may save money living off campus, but some find it more expensive when groceries and other factors come into play, he said.
“Overall, it’s very reasonable for students to live on campus as a requirement for scholarships,” Owens said. “Most parents are extremely supportive of it.”