Longwood University today announced a one-year extension of its on-campus residence requirement, citing improved housing options and research that shows improved academic performance, graduation rates, and a greater sense of community when students live and learn together.
Longwood’s current two-year requirement to live on-campus or in university-managed housing will be extended an additional year.
For most of the University’s history, most students lived on campus throughout their time at Longwood. In recent years, while more independent on-campus housing options were being expanded and improved, third-year students were generally allowed to live off-campus – though about 40 percent of Longwood juniors already choose to live on campus.
Longwood believes it’s now time to move in the direction of strengthening community and togetherness.
“It is clear that Longwood is stronger when we live together as a residential community. The on-campus residential experience is really central to what defines Longwood, to what alumni consider among the most valuable parts of their experience,” said Dr. Tim Pierson, vice president for student affairs. “We took steps away from that in recent years when we had much less high-quality housing in place. We can see students do better socially and academically when they are in university-managed housing, and we feel it’s important to emphasize that."
The on-campus residential experience is really central to what defines Longwood...Dr. Tim Pierson, vice president for student affairs
As Longwood prepares for this change next year, a task force led by Student Affairs will seek input from students and departments across the University to help develop a stronger culture of on-campus living for upperclass students – one that ensures a more distinctive, flexible and independent atmosphere and set of options for older students, while still providing the support structure benefits of on-campus life.
“We’re announcing this now for several reasons,” Pierson said. “First, we’ve now substantially upgraded our housing, with every residence hall new or renovated over the last decade or so, and updated true apartment-style options in Longwood Landings and Lancer Park. Second, we are really focused on student retention, and it’s clear this is a critical tool to help ensure students stay on track to graduation, And finally, our experience with Covid-19 has reinforced our belief that students are best served living on campus, from safety and public health to student success."
A wide body of research shows living in university-managed housing boosts student academic performance and retention; one study found the improvement can be up to one full letter grade in GPA. Longwood’s experience in recent years has also been that many students do better living on campus. And Longwood now has a much higher quality supply of housing, with the recent renovations to Johns and Moss halls, the construction of Sharp and Register, and recent investments to improve the Landings and Lancer Park.“Longwood is renowned for its vibrant community atmosphere,” said Pierson. “This extension of the housing requirement will foster that sense even more and help create those bonds that are so important at college. Students and alumni always talk about the sense of energy and togetherness they feel when they walk down Brock Commons—it’s what makes us who we are.”
The extended housing policy will take effect for the 2022-23 academic year. Seniors and juniors will still be given housing choice priority.