Josie Larson, KSU freshman, pulls a cart of her belongings into Wefald Hall on Jan. 22. K-State will require freshmen to live on campus for their first two semesters starting in the fall of 2022.

Starting in the fall of 2022, Kansas State University will require first-year students coming to Manhattan to live on campus for their first two semesters.

University officials announced the new policy Friday. In a written statement, KSU dean of students Thomas Lane said this residency requirement is being implemented to enhance student success.

“National research and an analysis of university-specific data both show a statistically significant difference in the first-year retention rate and cumulative first-year grade point average between students who lived on campus versus students who lived off campus,” Lane said. “K-State first-year, full-time students living on campus average higher GPAs, stay in school in higher numbers, and graduate faster.”

For the 2020-21 school year, 3,501 students, or 16.8% of the total enrollment amount of 20,854, lived on campus. That represents a decrease from the 4,266 students, or 19.6%, who lived on campus for the 2019-20 school year. That year, 21,719 students were enrolled in courses at K-State. University officials said the lowered percentage of students living on campus is attributed to a higher number of students taking online classes only.

According to data provided by the university for fall 2018, KSU had a retention rate of 87.6% for freshmen who lived on campus, compared to a 79.9% rate for freshmen living off campus.

K-State will join other Kansas Regents institutions, except for the University of Kansas, in requiring freshmen students to live on campus. This makes KSU the seventh of the 10 member schools in the Big 12 Conference to implement the rule.

There are some exceptions. Students who plan on commuting from the home of a parent or guardian who lives within 40 miles of the Manhattan campus may be exempt from the rule. Students also may be exempt if they plan to live in other approved student housing, including fraternity and sorority houses.

From 2018 to 2019, the retention rate for first-year new members across all of Greek life at K-State was 95.56%. Out of 383 new members from the 2018-19 school year, 366 returned to campus as active members in fall 2019.

The application process for exemptions goes live in December on the Housing and Dining Services website, housing.k-state.edu/living-options/freshmen.

K-State has 10 residence halls with amenities such as on-site laundry facilities, tutoring programs, advanced dining centers, and 24-hour security. Students also can choose to live in the Jardine Apartment Complex for more independence.