10 National Universities Where Most Students Live On Campus

Harvard University has the highest percentage of undergraduate students living on campus.

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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.

The challenge of getting into school, paying for it and earning good grades is hard enough for some students. But today, some face an added obstacle: finding on-campus housing.

The country is facing a shortage of on-campus student housing at public and private schools, according to a 2012 report by the National Multi Housing Council that analyzed data between 2000 and 2010. The last decade saw a 38.7 percent increase in student enrollment, fueled partly by the size of Generation Y and economic uncertainty, the group found.

As enrollment surged, most states have seen a smaller percentage of students living in dorms. Areas with the highest campus housing shortages include Arizona, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and West Virginia.

Despite the shortage, some universities are still housing most of their students on campus.

[Learn how to get along with your roommate.]

Harvard University tops the list of National Universities with the highest percentage of undergraduate students living on campus in fall 2011, according to data reported to U.S. News in an annual survey. The Ivy League school has 98 percent of its undergraduates living on campus.

Harvard also has the number one spot in the U.S. News Best National Universities rankings, tying with Princeton, which is also on the housing list. Six other schools on the housing list fall within the top 10 of the U.S. News Best National Universities rankings: California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and Dartmouth College. The lowest-ranked school on the list was St. Mary's University of Minnesota, which placed 174.

Of the 247 ranked National Universities that provided data to U.S. News about campus housing, an average of 38 percent of the undergraduate population lives on campus.

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.

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The table below highlights 10 National Universities with the highest percentage of undergraduates living in campus housing in fall 2011.

National University (state) Percent of undergrads living on campus U.S. News rank
Harvard University (MA) 98 1
Princeton University (NJ) 97 1
California Institute of Technology 95 10
Columbia University (NY) 95 4
Stanford University (CA) 91 6
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 90 6
St. Mary's University of Minnesota 89 174
Yale University (CT) 88 3
Darmouth College (NH) 86 10
Vanderbilt University (TN) 86 17

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find the percentages of students living on campus, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2012 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 U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The on-campus data above are correct as of June 18, 2013.