(KATV) Little Rock- Living on the UALR campus has notbeen a requirement, especially since the university attracts non-traditionalstudents. But that will change next fall for entering freshmen.
Incoming freshmen don't need toworry. You will not be forced to move into a dorm, but the school wantsstudents to be more involved, get the whole college experience and graduate ontime.
This semester there are nearly 13,000students attending UALR, only about 1,000 of them live in dorms.
Chancellor Joel Anderson says, "Itis not going to change the fact that UALR will continue to be overwhelmingly acommuter campus."
Chancellor Anderson say requiring freshmen to livein campus housing is nothing new in the U.S. and Arkansas public universities. "Wewant to see more of our students stay in college and graduate from college andliving on campus is research proven to make important contributions tothat."
Some students worry about thebottom line cost. Since it sets a student back $1,200 to $2,500 a semester.Senior, Ebone Elliott says, "Especially like with housing steadily goingup and the credit hours price increasing as well. It is putting a headache onmy parents and me as well."
But the majority of students ChannelSeven spoke with are for the change.
William Bissett has a family andhe is getting his third degree. He says, ""It's also nice for parents toknow their children are being taken care of in a very safe environment."
JT Poole explains, "Myfreshman year, I wish I would have lived on campus. I would have met morepeople and been involved."
UALR's graduation rates are amongthe lowest in the state, Chancellor Anderson says some students who work haveto take less hours and graduate after five or six years.
Lenita Gill wants to be akindergarten teacher. Gill says because she has lived on campus since she was afreshmen, she will graduate on time. "I feel like I am productive. It is a loteasier for me to get a lot of work done on campus; I have a lot of access tothe library and the food courts."
A few exceptions to the new ruleare if you're married, have a child, rather live with family or 21 years oldand above.
According to UALR, there isplenty of room for students to live on campus. UALR has roughly aboutone-thousand freshmen. In the spring the campus took over the University Villageapartments; that will be an extra 420 beds opening in the fall of 2013, bringingthe total to 1400 rooms.
Chancellor Anderson concludes, "We anticipate intime additional student housing will be built, but we're cautious about that.We will wait until the time is right for us to do it and it makes sense."