Updates to Honors Housing Policy

As many of you know, there are a great number of changes happening in the Honors Program.  Starting next year, the standards for invitation to join the program will from a 24 ACT AND a 3.4 Highschool GPA to a more complex, and flexible, criteria:  To be invited to apply, a student must have two of the following three:

  • 25 ACT
  • 3.5 High school GPA
  • top 10% of class rank

More importantly, we’ve changed the application to better evaluate a student’s commitment to service and leadership experience, and will weight the essay score more heavily in the admission process.

All of this means that we’re looking a very large recruiting class—even though we had a late start, we’ve already passed last year’s total for this point in the semester, thanks to the hard work of our Honors Ambassadors!

At the same time, the University has agreed to move to a 1-year residency requirement. Given our need to make space for what we expect to be the largest incoming class ever, we’ve agreed with Housing to allow Honors students to live off-campus if they meet the University’s policy for doing so. In short, we have decided to have one, unified policy with respect to residency requirements, effective Fall 2014.

What this means:

For current 2nd year students and above:

There will be no change. If you choose to stay on campus, you can take advantage of the Jr Incentive, which is valued at $2000. You will not be required to buy a meal plan.

For current 1st year students:

After 2 consecutive semesters on campus, you will be able to live off campus and maintain your standing in Honors next year.  If you choose to stay on campus, you can take advantage of the Sophomore Inventive, which is valued at $1000.  You will not be required to buy a meal plan.

Let me take a moment to be clear: NO one will be forced to move off campus. The new policy allows more students to live off campus if they want to. If you do not want to live off-campus, just make sure you complete your housing contract by March 31st, 2014.  In short, we are extending the policy that currently applies to 3rd and 4th year students to cover 2nd year students.

Honors will continue to have single rooms available for all incoming 1st year students who want them. In addition to all the single rooms currently available in the Honors halls,  we will make a small number of double rooms available to all students, for any students who prefers those rooms.  Note again that no one will be forced into a double room—each Honors student, regardless of year, can choose a single or a double, whichever he or she prefers.

Consistent with University policy, the Honors Residential Life Scholarship will be available ONLY to students who are required to live on campus (primarily 1st year students), and can be used in either a single or a double. 2nd year students will get the sophomore incentive ($1000) AND, because we are no longer requiring them to live on campus, can opt out of the meal plan.

Because of the anticipated demand for Honors Rooms from our large incoming class, current Honors students MUST complete their Housing contracts by 3/31/2014 to be ensured of a spot in the Honors halls. Students who fail to complete their contract by that date may not be able to find a room in the Honors halls.

This policy change creates more options, not fewer, for our 2nd year students.  Students are now free to live where they choose in their second year and maintain their Honors status.

We have no doubt that this new policy will effect the Honors community, and we are working with the Peer Mentors to ensure that students living off campus remain connected to the program. If you have any brilliant ideas or suggestions of how we might maintain connections with off-campus Honors students, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Honors Program office or members of the Honors student council.

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