Campus residency numbers on the decline

The number of students living in Kilcawly House is on the decline. Photo by Mia Albaugh / The Jambar

By Mia Albaugh

Campus residency numbers continue to decline, reflecting a national increase in college students commuting to classes.

According to the Youngstown State University Preliminary 14th Day Enrollment, the number of college students that were living in on-campus housing was 6% of students in 2020. 

Most YSU students — 90% out of about 12 thousand — are commuters, according to the report. 

From 2016-2020, the number of YSU students living in campus housing has continued to decline, from 888 to 713. The biggest drop in numbers was throughout the course of the pandemic in 2020, when there was also a loss of students attending college, as stated in the report.

On a national scale, it is reported very few students live on campus, according to a survey report by Higher Learning Advocates.

The “education insiders” surveyed in the report included policymakers, politicians, and government staff working on higher education policy; leaders of higher education institutions; and leaders of associations, organizations and think tanks working on higher education issues.

While 62% of Americans thought that a majority of first-year students live on campus, only 13% do, according to the survey report by Higher Learning Advocates.

“Picture an 18-year-old from a middle-class background who gets support from parents and goes to school full time,” an education insider from the survey report said. “That is probably the experience of most of us in the policymaking community. But that is increasingly not representative of a college student today.”

An explanation could be the cost of living on campus. At YSU, the non-Penguin promise rate is $4887.50 per semester: $9775 for the academic year, averaging $1,600 a month, as stated by the YSU housing contract. According to the survey report by Higher Learning Advocates, 55% of students qualify as financially independent. However, 42% live at or below the poverty line.

The average cost for nearby off-campus living for a one-bedroom apartment is about $600-$700 a month, according to

In a statement made by the United States Census Bureau, it is difficult to measure where college students live. The question of ‘Where is home to a college student?’ lacks a clear-cut answer.

According to the Youngstown State University Preliminary 14th Day Enrollment, 6% of YSU students lived on campus in 2020.