West Texas A&M University is changing its housing and meal plans, effective Fall of 2021, lowering both the age required to move off campus and altering the length of time on-campus students must purchase cafeteria meal swipes.
The University’s previous housing and meal plans were far more strenuous, preventing students from moving off campus in a plethora of different ways. Every undergraduate below the age of 21, who was partaking in 12 or more semester hours, was not permitted to move off campus until they had lived there for four fall or spring semesters, or completed 60 post-high school credit hours. The meal plan requirement was then also based on these 60 college credit hours.
But after the summer of 2021, the age requirement of living on campus will be lowered to 20. In addition to this, students living on campus must now purchase a silver meal plan (which secures 175 meals and 300 dining dollars) during their first 2 years following high school graduation, changing the requirement to be based on high school graduation date, not college credit accumulation.
Jeff Sulik, senior director of WTAMU’s Office of Residential Living told the WT Newsroom that “This is especially a positive change for students who take a gap year after high school.”
This change comes after continuous ardent and enthusiastic campaigning for on-campus living on the university’s part, but is assured to be in line with the University’s long term plan. This plan looks forward decades instead of years in an attempt to reach an admirable goal. ”By 2035, when WT reaches its 125th anniversary, we will have attained doctoral status in the Carnegie classifications of universities with a powerfully distinctive mission,” said President Walter Wendler, in the plan’s introduction. “The insight and participation of faculty will be of paramount importance in this effort. Great universities are great because faculty members are wholeheartedly committed to helping students meet their aspirations.”
WTAMU remains convinced that the facts prove on-campus college life leads to better academic performance and higher college experience satisfaction, but is also thinking about student’s time and flexibility.
“We know students benefit from living on campus, which we see through higher GPAs and retention rates and through students reporting greater satisfaction with their college experience,” said Jeffrey Baylor, executive director of admissions, speaking to the WT Newsroom. “We also remain committed to providing flexibility in housing matters as part of our student-centered focus.”
Last year WT reported a record number of enrollment, beginning Fall of 2020 with over 10000 students. Currently, however, only 28% of Undergraduates live on-campus, which is a 2% since 2015. But these new slackened restrictions and a more nuanced way of handling on-campus living requirements may be factors in a residence hall boom. WTAMU is showing signs of closing in on its long-term goal, and this decision may prove positively decisive in its race.