Four-year housing guarantee strengthens student-university bond
University of the Pacific offered Stockton Campus freshmen a four-year housing guarantee and the results were positive and immediate, ranging from more affordable living options to higher student GPAs to plentiful co-curricular activities.
New transfer students also were offered a housing guarantee for up to two years.
Kenneth Caslib ’25, a third-year computer engineering major with a minor in Media X, had a front-row view of the changes for students in campus living. The resident assistant in Calaveras Hall said campus activity “significantly increased” in the past year.
“Students talked about how active the dorms became. We were required to have one social event each month on our floors, and they are very well attended,” said Caslib, who is from Stockton. “In regard to academics, the lobby at Calaveras Hall was packed with students studying every night. The environment for learning was quite positive and strong.”
University housing occupancy increased significantly, aided by considerable remodeling of residence halls and housing costs that are more affordable than the Stockton rental market.
“We are fortunate at Pacific to have both enough housing for all of our undergraduates as well as a wide variety of housing options with apartments, traditional residence halls and Greek houses,” Vice President for Student Life Maria Blandizzi said.
The university also established identity-based communities such as a gender-based floor in Farley Hall and esports and technology communities, among others.
In Fall 2022, approximately 800 students returned for another year of campus housing. This past year, the number was 1,375, said Josh O’Connor, assistant vice president for student life.
Overall, in Fall 2022, there was an increase in on-campus living from 1,711 to 1,899 students—an 11% increase. This past year, the target was 1,950 students—a total expected to be reached, which would mark the university’s largest campus residential population in 12 years.
“We saw many more students who wanted to stay on campus, and a variety of things made an impact. First, the housing guarantee is now implemented and it’s impactful,” O’Connor said. “We also are re-developing an inclusive culture in housing and residential life where students want to stay here. And we want students to feel like the campus is their home.”
University research shows a cumulative 3.21 GPA for on-campus residents compared to 3.11 for those living off-campus.
“Research shows students who live on campus perform better academically, are more engaged in co-curricular activities and graduate at a higher rate,” President Christopher Callahan said. “We require our undergraduate students to live on campus for two years, but we believe it is a great benefit for third- and fourth-year students, too.”
Pacific also offers a complementary guarantee: that undergraduate students will graduate in four years. The guarantee applies to students in most majors who remain in good standing, meet with their faculty advisor each semester, declare a major on time and follow other guidelines.
“We are committed to our students’ success,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admission Jeff Levine. “Our guarantee is a promise to students that if you follow our guidelines for staying on track, we will make sure you graduate on time.”
Caslib said the requirement to live on campus for two years is a positive.
“I ran into the students all the time who live in Calaveras Hall on their way to class, in the gym or at campus-wide activities,” he said. “We also work with resident assistants from other dorms such as Grace Covell and the quads. They all talk about the impact of having more students living on campus.”
O’Connor said the retention of students living in university housing is trending in a manner that “makes me very excited” about the future.
“Living on campus builds a stronger connection to the institution,” he said. “You want to be here as a student, get to class on time and engage in social events – all things that make you a stronger Pacific Tiger.”