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WTAMU introduces housing incentive plan


By Rana McDonald

The benefits of residential living just got a bit more attractive for students at West Texas A&M University with a new housing incentive that offers up to a year of free housing for students who elect to live on campus during the last two years of their college careers.

Multiple studies have found that students who live on campus do better academically, and WTAMU officials want to foster that connection with a one-of-a-kind incentive that encourages students to stay on campus longer. With the plan, students who begin living on campus as freshmen and continue to stay will be eligible to receive free housing for both their sixth and eighth semesters. The incentive plan becomes effective with the 2018 fall semester and also will apply to current students who live in campus housing.

Transfer students also can take advantage of the incentive plan with a special track designed just for them. Any student who is classified anything other than a freshman and begins living on campus is eligible for a 50 percent housing discount on their fourth semester as well as the sixth semester, if applicable.

“Every study you look at in terms of academic performance shows that students who live on campus do better academically,” Dr. Walter Wendler, WTAMU president, said. “An on-campus residential experience offers a whole series of positive results—better grades, better student engagement, better retention—and academic excellence is what we are all about.”

Another benefit of the incentive plan is increased services. WTAMU officials are now working to place Resident Assistants with subject-specific expertise on certain floors of each of the University’s residence halls to help students with subjects ranging from mathematics to English.

The housing incentive plan plays into Wendler’s continued efforts to cut student debt and offers a win-win situation for both students and parents.

“We are looking for every possible way to economize on campus living,” Wendler said. “We are here to provide educational opportunities in an excellent and cost-effective manner that provide the best chance for students to meet their life aspirations.”

Mike Knox, vice president for student enrollment, engagement and success, has informally surveyed several students on campus about the housing incentive, and the reaction has been positive.

“I haven’t heard a single negative thing about the plan,” Knox said. “I’ve talked to probably 40 to 50 students, and I’ve only received positive reactions. Many reveal they are having a really good time living on campus.”

Levi Zemanuel, a freshman finance and accounting major from Amarillo, is living in Centennial Hall on campus and likes the idea of a housing incentive plan.

“I think the incentive plan is great,” he said. “I live up the road, but he community that is here on campus with residents is something you can’t find at any other university. I plan on taking advantage of the plan, and I feel others will be interested because WT has made a great effort to help out with the cost of college. The cost to reside at WT is not outrageous but having someone say we will pay for you to live on campus is a steal.”

WTAMU is home to 11 residence halls with approximately 2,200 beds available. The annual occupancy rate averages 90 percent. The renewal process for current students for the 2018-2019 academic year begins in March.

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