More obstacles in the way of education
We understand enrollment and retention at UALR is a great balancing act. But the recent decision to require first-time freshmen to live in on-campus housing beginning fall 2013 has many students and faculty baffled.
UALR has had sluggish enrollment growth for years, so how does requiring students, many of whom could likely live with their parents nearby, attract more students?
Tuition went up significantly last year and now university administration has decided that adding a bill of approximately $7,300 a year is a good idea.
Seven grand is a lot of money, and that can long way for most people.
Non-traditional students are exempt from the requirement, but new students straight out of high school are going to be out of a lot of money. The kicker is that even if first-time freshmen live down the street from campus, they will still be required to live on campus. That is absolutely ridiculous.
Excuses for the requirement have included increasing retention rates and improve the campus environment. It is true that with the now more than 1,000 students living on campus the atmosphere has changed. But research needs to be done to determine why there is still lack luster enthusiasm for events and programs.
University officials have said that data proves students living on campus do better in school and are more likely to graduate. We have no doubt that is true, but is it statistically significant enough to make this requirement. And are outside variables such as the fact that many on-campus residents don’t have part-time or full-time jobs may have more to do with their increased GPAs and graduation rates than the fact that they live on campus.
With the goal of increasing college graduates in the state, there should be fewer obstacles in the way of potential students.