New dorm looks to attract first-year students

First-year students will soon have one more choice to make before the fall semester starts, as the university has decided to remove its former policy requiring those students to live on campus for one year.

During discussion of USF’s pet project, Andros Village, at the Nov. 4 meeting of the Board of Governors, some members expressed concern with the policy because it increased the mandatory cost of attendance for those students.

According to the new policy, first-year students are encouraged, but not mandated, to live their first year on campus.

Moreover, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Miller, living on campus is “safer” and the university will “strongly recommend” that first-year students live in the new beds; and that, he said, was another appeal for students: 

“They’re new beds.” 

Lora Bishop, a first-year freshman majoring in psychology, has lived in Delta Hall and said she wouldn’t consider living on campus again, though she likes her current room and is grateful for the experience.

“I’m moving off campus next year, so I guess you could say obviously I don’t enjoy living on campus that much,” she said. “But I’m glad USF (required) you to live on campus.”

However, she said the price was a serious deterrent for her, and she would not consider living on campus again because the apartment she will be moving into costs less and will provide her with her own bathroom and living space.

Some other on-campus first-year students, though, did not take as much umbrage at the thought of living on campus as a first-year in the Village. 

Rachel Vogie and Chastity Pages, first-year students from Indiana and Tennessee, respectively, said living on campus their first year was a good choice. Both live in JPH. 

“I think I would definitely would (stay on campus) for the first year,” Vogie, a freshman majoring in management, said. “And I’m considering doing it for the second year, as well.”

The two out-of-state students said living on campus was a good way to get connected on campus, especially coming from out of town.

“I would probably end up living on campus, in the dorms still,” Pages said. “I know everybody say stuff about the money, but you take out a loan, and you don’t have to start paying back your loan until six months after you’re done with your schooling.”

According the, 45 percent of incoming freshmen take out loans that average $7,160 to defray the cost of attendance. 

Students living in double occupancy rooms in the new Andros Village will pay approximately $911.25 per month ($3,645 per semester, compared to $2,652.80 in existing housing), which reflects a projected a 5- to 10-percent increase, based on inflations. 

The average monthly rent in other halls, with a 10 percent increase in two years is $689.62 ($3645 per semester, compared to $3183.36 in existing housing).

In an email to the Oracle, Ana Hernandez, assistant vice president of Housing and Residential Education, said that “in Fall 2015, (the university had) 5,581 students living on campus.”

Of those, 3,311 (59 percent) are First Time in College (FTIC) students and 2,237 (40 percent) are not.