Monday, February 24, 2014

UMD Freshman Connection Program to offer on-campus housing come fall 2014

The Department of Resident Life at the University of Maryland recently announced that Freshman Connection students will be offered on-campus housing for the first time since the program launched in 2006.

According to Scott Young, the Assistant Director of Resident Life, more students will be offered on-campus housing options as Freshman Connection continues to progress into a well-established program. As for now, on-campus housing is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first served basis.

Program participants increased the freshman class size by over 25 percent in the spring of 2014
This spring, about 1,100 Freshman Connection students joined the 4,000 other first-year students who started classes in the fall. Students who enroll in the Program for the fall semester can take up to 17 credits of courses taught by university faculty. Credits and grades are posted to a Maryland transcript and included in the student’s GPA. However, these courses are schedule during “off-peak” hours.
Alexandra Eggie, a senior economics major, was enrolled in Freshman Connection in the fall of 2010. “It was really inconvenient living in The View. I had to take a bus to the Student Union to get to all my classes.” On-campus housing options will make Program participants feel like part of the freshmen community instead of isolating them in off-campus housing, Eggie said.
The Department of Resident Life believes that all students should have the college dorm experience. “When the Program began, the Board of Regents decided that it was not appropriate to house Freshman Connection students in the fall because they weren't technically admitted students,” Young said. "It wasn't until this year that we decided to try again."

Vice President of Student Affairs Linda Clement and President Wallace Loh granted permission to the Department of Resident Life to house some number of Freshman Connection Students.
Freshman Connection students, on average, have lower SAT scores
According to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, for the fall 2014 freshman class the university received over 26,000 applications. Of the fall admitted students, the middle 50 percent of SAT scores ranged from 1260 to 1410. Among students offered spring admission, the middle 50 percent of SAT scores ranged from 1160 to 1260.
Haley Forman, a senior communication major, says that offering Freshman Connection students on-campus housing is not fair.

According to Forman, classes and dormitories are already over capacity. “A lot of my friends were cramped into forced triples,” she said. “There wasn't even a student lounge on my floor because they transformed it into a quad to sleep more students.”
But with the construction of new dormitories, Young believes they have the necessary space to house more students on-campus.
Prince Frederick Hall will house 462 additional students on-campus
Photo Credit: Christina Coplon
The seven-story residence hall will open in the fall of 2014 and will provide various housing options including singles, doubles, and four-person semi-suites. The dormitory is located in the North Hill Community between Caroline Hall and the Mowatt Lane Garage.
Prince Frederick Hall will be home to students of all ages. About two thirds of the resident hall will be reserved for two of the university’s Honors Living and Learning Programs, Design Cultures and Creativity and ACES Cyber Security, Young said.
But as more on-campus housing options become available to students, Young fears that the university’s relationship with off-campus vendors, such as The View and The Varsity, will be affected.

“We've had a pretty good relationship with the off-campus properties so far,” Young said. “I think they recognize that they’re not going to necessarily house less students. They’re just going to house different students.”

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