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In second full semester during the pandemic, almost half of undergraduate students to be living on-campus

Spring 2021 sees a 181.5 percent increase in students living on campus, only 15 percent studying remotely

Nearly half of all enrolled undergraduate students are living on campus or in University-leased housing this semester, according to data provided to The Herald by Dean of the College Rashid Zia ’01.

Only 15 percent of enrolled students are studying remotely this spring, and 36.1 percent are living off campus or commuting.

The University leased rooms at the Omni Hotel to supplement its supply of housing this semester, which also includes rooms at locations such as 257 Thayer, River House and Chestnut Commons. 

The data reflects student preferences regarding their location of study for the ongoing term as of Jan. 18. These numbers are broken down by class year, financial aid status, gender and membership in historically underrepresented groups. Unlike the previous reports, this data now includes first-year students since this is the first term they are fully enrolled at the University.

Currently, 3,187 students out of the 6,538 enrolled — 48.6 percent — will be living on campus, marking an increase of 2,055 from the fall. The number of students studying remotely dropped to 982, 633 fewer than in the previous semester. Meanwhile, the number of off-campus and commuting students stayed relatively stable with only a 196 student increase from 2,173 students in the fall to 2,369 students in the spring.

Students’ spring locations of study more closely match the plans they declared over the summer than they did for the fall term. At the time, 15.5 percent of students were planning to study remotely, 47.9 percent were planning to live on campus and 36.6 percent were planning to commute or live off-campus. 

The survey was taken before the University announced its phased approach to reopening, which led many students to adjust their plans for the fall semester.

One factor that may have influenced students' decisions was the University’s experience in the fall, Zia wrote in an email to The Herald. He added that due to a successful COVID-19 testing and tracing system and an adherence to public health guidelines last semester, cases remained stable despite a national rise in cases at the time. 

The overall increase of enrolled students can be attributed to the addition of first-years as full time students at the University, according to Zia. He also added that the number of students taking and returning from leaves of absence was not a major factor in the increase of enrolled students.

First-year students have the largest proportion living on campus and the smallest proportion of remote learners, with 88.5 percent living on campus and only 10 percent studying remotely. 

For sophomores this term, 73 percent are living on campus and 23 percent are studying remotely. In the fall, the proportion of sophomores studying remotely and on-campus was split almost evenly — 47.8 and 47.9 percent, respectively.

Like the previous term, sophomores this semester again had the highest proportion of remote learners, followed by juniors, 17 percent of whom are studying away from campus. Only 11.3 percent of seniors are studying remotely.

There was a small increase in the number of juniors and seniors living on campus or in University-leased housing, with most living off campus or commuting.

Financial aid status, whether students are part of a historically underrepresented group or if students are international do not affect the trend of more on-campus students and fewer remote students this semester, according to Zia. 

Aided students had higher percentages of remote and on-campus living while unaided students had higher percentages of students commuting or living off campus. Still, both categories saw a decrease in the number of students living off campus or commuting this semester.

Just over half — 52.3 percent — of students on financial aid are living on campus this semester. 30.5 percent of aided students are living off campus or commuting, and 16.9 percent are studying remotely. 45.7 percent of unaided students are living on campus, while 40.5 percent are living off campus and 13.5 percent are studying remotely this semester.

More students from Historically Underrepresented Groups (HUGs) are studying remotely and living on campus than non-HUG students. 

HUG students saw a rise in those living on campus from 29.4 to 53.8 percent, in addition to a decrease in students studying remotely — 34.2 to 16 percent. Non-HUG students saw an increase of 21.9 to 49.0 percent of on-campus students as well as a decrease of 47.8 to 35 percent of students living off campus or commuting and 30.3 to 12.3 percent for remote students. 

International students represent the biggest number of remote learners out of the three categories. 35.8 percent of international students will be living on campus compared to 17.3 percent last semester. Meanwhile, 35 percent will be off campus or commuting and 28.9 percent will be remote.

International students studying remotely is expected, according to Zia, since there are “significant challenges in navigating international travel amid the global health pandemic.”

Clarification: A previous version of this article stated that nearly half of enrolled students are living on campus. In fact, nearly half of enrolled undergraduate students, specifically, are living on campus. 


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