The new policy requires students with less than 30 semester credit hours (excluding hours earned through Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment) to reside in one of the two University-owned residence halls.
They also must be under age 21, live at least 90 miles from campus and be enrolled for nine or more hours during the fall and spring semesters.
"We are expecting good things for freshmen under this policy, helping them with their transition to University life and getting them involved with the campus (activities)," said Pat Zarate, Residence Life director. "We looked at national studies that showed students who live on campus have a higher GPA and graduate sooner than those that do not live on campus."
According to Zarate, 538 freshmen applicants qualify under the mandatory policy for the upcoming fall semester. The Women’s Residence Hall and Troxell Residence Hall, a co-ed dormitory, have a total capacity of about 384 people.
In that case, the housing policy stipulates the additional students must reside at Bronc Village – an on-campus apartment complex for non-freshmen students – if space is available.
Exemptions include married students or those with children. Other exceptions will be considered on an individual basis by the Residence Life director.
"I think it will be good for the University and good for freshmen because they will have that automatic support system," Zarate said. "It will be good for the University because it will be building a community and its residential base."
For more information on the new mandatory housing policy, contact the UTPA Office of Residence Life at 956/287-7100.