Shedding the commuter school image

Starting fall 2009, incoming freshmen living outside of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties must live on campus. The BOT approved the new policy, which will be enacted when the new Magnolia Hall opens.

Director of Residence Services Tom Kane said that on-campus housing won’t be exclusively for freshmen, and that returning students will have just as many rooms available to them as they do now, if not more.

“We currently house 4,500 students on campus, and Magnolia Hall will increase that number of beds to 5,500 total,” he said. “With this new policy, we expect freshman demand to increase by about 500, so there will still be plenty of beds available.”

Since the new Magnolia building will offer more beds than residence services expects to fill, Kane said some of the older buildings in the Andros complex will close for renovations.

This policy is 2.5 years in the making, Kane said, and is the result of University research.

“The University doesn’t want to do anything that’d chase students away, so the first thing admissions and enrollment planning and management did was talk to prospective students about this idea and get their feedback,” he said. “Most of the students said they’d be more excited about attending the University, because it’d make USF more of a residential university instead of a commuter school.”

– Candace Braun