A UNM survey suggests that living on campus may help boost students’ GPAs.
The Division of Enrollment Management conducted an eight-semester study between 2006 and 2010 that suggests students who live on campus have higher GPAs than those who live off campus. The study looked at freshmen and sophomores during spring and fall semesters only.
Freshmen living on campus were shown to have higher GPAs on average than those who lived off campus. Freshmen experienced a slight drop in their GPAs during the spring semesters, but the cumulative semester average was 2.69 for on-campus freshmen and 2.61 for off-campus freshmen across eight semesters. On-campus GPAs were even higher among sophomores: On-campus sophomores’ average GPAs for both spring and fall semesters were 3.18, while off-campus sophomores averaged 2.90.
“Living on campus is a better choice; we have studies that show the benefits sustained,” said Stacie Jackson, assistant director of Residence Life and Student Housing. “Every student has a resident adviser who is also a student and provides all the help needed in a mentorship way.”
Tread Childs, 19, is a sophomore with a 3.2 GPA who has been living on campus for four semesters in the SRC apartments. He said living on campus contributes to his good grades, but that it isn’t the only reason for his academic performance.
“I’m from out of town and living here seemed more convenient, everything is right here”, Childs said. “My grades are fine, but living on campus is not the reason. It helps, but I don’t think it makes the good grades. It’s nice to have everything close like it is, but it doesn’t make me have those grades.”
Sophomore Lauren Ingham, 19, said she opted to live off campus from the start because it’s cheaper and allows her more freedom. She said she doesn’t think living on campus would make difference in her GPA, which is 3.85.
“Living on campus has the advantage that everything is closer and you are around people all the time, but that can be a distraction as well,” she said. “I don’t see a correlation between good grades and living on or off campus — it has to do with the effort you put in no matter where you live.”
Teresa Ortiz, coordinator of UNM Student Family Housing, said proximity is the main advantage for students and is therefore the biggest factor for a higher GPA among students who live on campus.
“I believe that student GPAs are higher when they live on campus because, in general, they are more tied to the University and their collegiate experience,” Ortiz said. “The main advantages are the proximity to everything in terms of classes, activities, support and resources.”
Ortiz also said the extracurricular activities and the social life that come with living on campus are a big contribution to increased GPAs. “Instead of just coming and going to class, they are meeting new people, getting involved in activities they may not have tried if they weren’t living on campus and getting a truly holistic education,” she said. “They tend to get more involved in extracurricular activities … which also can help strengthen a student’s GPA.”