Most colleges require students to live on campus during their freshman and sophomore years, but Wilmington College requires all full-time students to live in the residence halls for eight consecutive semesters or until they are 23.
“We are a residential college to start with. Primarily since 1870 most students have lived on campus,” Michael R. Allbright, Assistant Dean of Students for Housing and Residence Life, said. “The criteria was different in the 90s because there wasn’t enough physical space for students to live. We only had the six residence halls, but as we acquired College Commons apartment and the Village apartment was built there was more space for students. So, the previous two year requirement was expanded to four.”
Students are allowed to live off campus with their parents if they are within a 30-mile radius of the college. Some of the other exemptions include if the student is legally married, studying abroad, a single parent, or living in an approved fraternity house.
The college has an exemption committee that reviews special housing requests.
“If you have a legitimate request that isn’t under standard criteria, the committee will meet and determine if it gets valid,” Allbright said. “This morning, two of the three requests were granted, but they were kind of special requests.”
According to Allbright, the budget relies on 65 to 70 percent of students living on campus.
“It generates revenue for the college. Just housing alone, not the meal plan, if our occupancies good, it generates four million dollars a year. You think like 4,300 bucks times 400 students that are in the halls and 7,300 dollars for those living in the apartments,” Allbright said. “It just generates a lot of money. Unfortunately our budget is six percent of that. It doesn’t really help us necessarily, but it helps finance a lot of other things on campus.”
Main campus enrollment is said to be 1,007 on the college website with the residence hall capacity at 842, but the college is looking to expand to possibly 1,300 students.
“As enrollment increases dramatically, we’re going to have to drop down to 22 from 23, drop down to six semesters instead of eight. As we need more space we’re going to house freshman and sophomores, and first to go off would be the seniors and then our juniors,” Allbright said.
The school has also researched possible co-ed and family housing.
“If we had another whole village we could have a whole unit that could be a family unit. Then a married couple could live on campus if they wanted to,” Allbright said.
Allbright believes the four-year requirement is a little strenuous.