The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
Students at many large universities are required to live in campus housing as freshmen but, when given the choice, most first year students choose dorm life over an apartment or house off campus, according to data provided by 238 National Universities that reported first year student housing data to U.S. News in a 2011 survey of undergraduate programs.
[See which schools have the most undergraduates living on campus.]
Among first year students at National Universities that provided data, an average of only 21.3 percent of freshmen chose to live off campus. There were 101 schools that reported 10 percent or fewer of first year students who opted for off-campus housing, and 65 schools reported 5 percent or fewer freshmen choosing off-campus options. Twelve universities—including institutions such as Princeton University, Stanford University, and Yale University—reported no freshmen living off campus.
There are 32 schools that reported a majority of first year students that opted to live off campus. Among the top 11 schools with the most freshmen commuters, an average of 74.5 percent of first year students chose an off-campus alternative. (Due to ties, there are more than 10 schools on the list.)
At the University of Massachusetts—Boston, a strictly commuter school with no on-campus housing options, all freshmen lived off campus—making UMass Boston the only National University with this distinction.
[Learn more about how commuters can make campus feel like home.]
Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs, because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
The table below highlights the National Universities that reported the highest percentage of first year students that live off campus:
|National University (state)||Percentage of first year students living off campus||U.S. News rank|
|University of Massachusetts—Boston||100||RNP*|
|Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi||85||RNP|
|Florida International University||77||RNP|
|University of Colorado—Denver||75||181|
|University of New Orleans||75||RNP|
|Cleveland State University||71||RNP|
|University of Nevada—Las Vegas||70.6||RNP|
|Wayne State University (MI)||68||RNP|
|University of Louisiana—Lafayette||66||RNP|
|University of Utah||66||124|
|Wichita State University (KS)||66||RNP|
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find housing statistics, complete rankings, and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2011 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists have no influence over U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.