In 2020, Michigan State University announced that they were reinstating the second-year housing requirement, meaning all first and second-year students are required to live on campus at MSU for their first four semesters.
“We did some assessment studies and found that students who live on campus for two or more years persist and graduate in higher numbers with higher GPAs than students who move off-campus after their freshman year,” Chief Communications Officer for Student Life and Engagement at Michigan State University Kat Cooper said.
According to MSU, undergraduates that live on campus for their first two years have graduation rates that are about 2.5 percentage points higher than their peers that only live on campus for their first year.
“This led us to believe that the reinstatement of the required second year on campus was the best next step,” Cooper said.
Students seeking exemptions need to meet one of the following criteria: they'll be living with a parent or legal guardian, they'll be 20 years of age by the first day of class of fall semester, they're married, they're a military veteran with one or more years of active service, or they will be taking six or fewer credits during the semester in question. If a student meets any of those requirements, they are automatically approved to live off-campus.
As of Feb. 24, Cooper said 700 exemption requests have been approved thus far, and a total of 1,100 have come in. Students can still apply for an exemption even after they’ve signed their housing contract, depending on whether their situation has changed. Not meeting the requirements is generally the only reason why a student is denied.
Japanese freshman Molly Mason wrote a letter to the housing office to ask for an exemption.
“I wrote a letter and I was like, well, it's expensive,” Mason said. “And I really like my cousin's house, my uncle's house. They housed someone before that went to MSU, so they know what it's like. And I would have all the freedoms that I would have if I was living on my own at a dorm. And that's basically just what I did. I didn't have to really give them any documents. I just wrote them a letter.”
Students must register through the housing exemption application. If the criteria does not apply to the student, they may still apply for financial or medical circumstances, which are reviewed by someone in the Student Life area.
“There is also an appeals process if students feel that there are mitigating factors that weren't considered,” Cooper said.
Mason said it took the housing department just a few days to make their decision.
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