St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

First Year Residency Requirement Link☍

Create PDF: First Year Residency Requirement

Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: Other

Department/Division: Residential Life

Effective Date: 12/13/2018

Last Updated: 01/12/2021

Applies To: Students

Responsible University Officer: Vice President for Student Life and Development

Policy Owner: Dean of Students

Policy Contact: Dean of Students


St. Cloud State University recognizes that living on campus during the first year provides a significant advantage that contributes towards overall student success. Campus residency provides opportunities to be part of a supportive community where connections with other students, faculty, and staff can more easily be made. Living on campus also connects students to resources and services that help with the transition to college life. Research has consistently shown that engagement, academic achievement, social connectedness, and other developmental factors are positively impacted by on-campus residency. (For more information about research data see the FAQ section.)


All students admitted as New Entering Freshman (NEF), regardless of transfer credit standing, are required to live on campus and select a residential meal plan for two semesters (not including summer sessions). New Entering Freshman is defined as a student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. This includes any student who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned through PSEO or Advanced Placement programs). For the inaugural year in which this policy is made effective, NEF will also include any student enrolled in the fall 2019 term who attended college for the first time in spring 2019 or summer 2019 unless an exemption applies.

Standard Exemption Criteria

Students may qualify for an exemption to this policy for one or more of the following criteria:

  • Students who will be commuting from the permanent home of a parent or legal guardian within a 35 mile radius of SCSU main campus. Proof of residency will be required.
  •  Students enrolled in 6 or fewer credits during both the fall and spring semesters.
    • Should a student with fewer than 6 credit hours add a class making him/her a full-time student, the student will be expected to move on campus or apply for an exemption under a different category.
  • Students with custody of a minor child or other dependent. Proof will be required.
  • Students who are married or in a domestic partnership/civil union.  Proof will be required.
  • Students who are Veterans or with current active military status (Certificate of Release and Discharge from Active Duty or written proof of current active military duty).
  • Students who are under the age of 16 or who are 21 years or older on the first day of classes of their entering term.

 Other Extenuating Circumstances for Exemption

Students may also qualify for an exemption to this policy for other extenuating circumstances outside of the standard exemption criteria. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Severe medical condition or disability that cannot be reasonably accommodated in a residence hall facility.
    • Prior to requesting an exemption, students must first contact Student Accessibility Services to request an accommodation. The written recommendation from Student Accessibility Services will be considered when making a decision about the exemption request.
  • Demonstrated financial hardship
    • The following are examples of reasons for financial hardship that may be granted (documentation required): loss of primary provider's income due to death, catastrophic health issues, natural disasters, or bankruptcy.
    • Prior to requesting an exemption, domestic students must apply for financial aid.
  • Other circumstances that may be considered include, but are not limited to, serious illness of parent, academic requirements such as student teaching, study abroad, etc.


Admitted students will receive instructions on how to complete their Housing and Dining Agreement as well as information about the on-campus living experience and living learning community options.

Exemption Requests, Decisions, and Appeals

Students who believe they qualify for an exemption based on one or more reasons must submit the Housing Exemption Request form to Residential Life (see Supporting URLs). The completed form must be received by Residential Life no later than 30 days prior to the first day of classes. Decisions about exemptions that meet the criteria or extenuating circumstances will be made by the Executive Director of Residential Life or designee. Residential Life will provide the decision by SCSU email.

Within five (5) business days of receiving the decision letter from Residential Life, a student may appeal the decision in writing (email is acceptable) to the Associate Director of Residential Life. The written appeal and any supporting documentation provided by the student will be reviewed by the Housing Appeals Committee to make the final determination. The Housing Appeals Committee will consult with other campus representatives to assess extenuating circumstances such as the ability to accommodate medical conditions and disabilities, financial hardship, and special needs. If the student wishes to meet with the Housing Appeals Committee, this request should be included in the written appeal documentation.

Providing false information to St. Cloud State University is a violation of the University Student Code of Conduct; individuals may be subject to conduct action. Students who are found to have provided false information will be required to move into an on-campus residence hall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is it so important for me to live on campus?

A. Researchers have consistently found that living on campus has several positive outcomes that help students developmentally. A synthesis of the empirical research reveals seven primary areas in which residence halls have a significant impact on students:

  1. Retention and persistence – Students who live on campus have greater expectations for academic achievement and are more likely to remain in college.
  2. Extracurricular involvement/social engagement – Students living on campus tend to be more involved in campus activities.
  3. Positive feelings about campus social climate – Students living in residence halls have a strong attachment to the University community; they feel that campus is more comfortable, more academically focused, more supportive, and more enjoyable.
  4. Personal growth and development (psychosocial growth) – Students feel more confident that they can meet challenges. They mature more quickly and learn to become interdependent.
  5. Interpersonal relationships – Students who live on campus build strong friendships and share more common experiences. They interact more, develop more resilience, and experience more diversity.
  6. Faculty interaction – Students have more contacts with faculty due to closer proximity to faculty offices.
  7. Higher overall satisfaction with their college experience.

Further, in 2014 Gallup conducted a web-based survey of 30,000 college graduates to determine what factors in college made a difference in their level of engagement in work, overall well-being, and emotional attachment to their alma mater. Findings from the 2014 Gallup Purdue Index Report showed that living on campus was the best predictor of institutional attachment from an alumni perspective.

Q. Where can I learn more about Meal Plan requirements and options?

A. Information about meal plan requirements can be found in the Residential Life handbook. Information about meal plan options can be found on the Residential Life or campus dining website. See the supporting URLs section for links to these resources.

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes


Responsible University Officer
   Rodriguez, Katrina L.
   Vice President for Student Life and Development
   Matzke, Jennifer S.
   Dean of Students
   Matzke, Jennifer S.
   Dean of Students

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