Residency Requirement, Philosophy, and Mission

Residency Requirement

A hallmark of a College of Idaho education is the residential campus experience. Freshmen make life-long friendships, connect with classmates, and explore autonomy and healthy decision-making in our residence halls. Sophomores enjoy convenient access to classes, academic, and social supports and take part in a truly representative governing system as they form their own policies. Our upperclass students discover the thrill of creating a living space that is uniquely theirs in our apartments, or the sense of pride and accountability inherent in paying utilities on their own and managing a group of roommates in our rental houses. In addition, our upperclass students mentor and provide leadership modeling to younger students, as well as carry on the campus traditions that make our community dynamic and unique. These residential experiences are a part of our identity as a residential campus, and they lay the foundation for a truly transformative college experience. For these reasons, as well as others, the College requires that all students who are under 21 as of September 1st, who are unmarried or without a long-term partner, and who do not have dependent children, live in campus housing for six semesters (typically three years).

Students may petition to be exempted from this requirement. Non-Academic Petitions are found on the Forms  page of the Residential Life website.



The Office of Residence Life strives to provide a living environment that enhances learning and personal development.  Residence Hall staff members are educators who seek to create a community where students mature personally and academically. 

Living in a residence hall offers opportunities for involvement in campus activities, access to academic support, personal growth, leadership development, life skills, interaction with campus leaders, independence and fun.

Research shows that students who live on campus tend to do better academically, are more involved in campus activities, and remain in school at higher rates than commuter students.  The average GPA for a first-year student that began studies during the Fall 2009 semester at The College of Idaho was two tenths of a point higher than the GPA of a first-year student living off campus.  This persisted through the spring semester, with the average GPA of the first-year student rising an additional half point on the 4.0 scale.  

The residence hall experience is intended to complement the academic experience, help students become integrated members of the campus community, and facilitate their overall growth and development.  Additionally, a robust and diverse residential community equates to a vibrant and thriving college campus.  

The Office of Residence Life believes the time a student spends in the residence hall with peers living and learning together is equally as influential on the student’s learning experience as knowledge gained in the classroom environment.  A recent article in The Journal of College and University Student Housing suggests learning that occurs within the walls of a residence hall is active and caters to the student’s need to listen, read, think, study and write while at the same time allow for her to feel, worry, care, hope and develop other emotions (Riker & Decoster 81).  The Office of Residence Life considers the student’s whole wellness when providing a safe and healthy place to live and frequently partners with other Student Life offices and local community leaders to bring resources to our residence halls. The connection that forms between a pair of roommates, a floor or wing, and that eventually extends to a building community, is centered on academic and personal support for the individual, safety, and harboring the interpersonal relationships that enrich the learning environment. 

Residents living in our halls have access to 24-hour support services, provided by professional staff members and students trained as Resident Assistants or First Year Mentors.  As community builders, student leaders create opportunities for their residents through planned activities and programs.  Leadership, teamwork, cohesiveness and a sense of identity, all characteristics of a strong residence hall community (Pascarella &  Terenzini, 1991) are the outcomes of student-led programming initiatives.  These student centered activities are intentional and purposeful, engaging residents in discussion or in an active role that connects them to classroom subject matter, current local and global events, or to one another,  thereby further strengthening the academic and social community of The College of Idaho. 


The Office of Residence Life is committed to providing a safe and supportive residential and community experience that challenges students to cultivate:

  • Life skills
  • Responsibility to themselves and their community
  • Identity development and formation
  • Ethical leadership skills

We accomplish this through intentional and developmentally appropriate programming and student interaction.  We also accomplish this through an educational conduct program which holds students accountable for their actions.