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OSU taking steps to keep sophomores on campus

It's lunchtime at Marketplace, a coffee bar and restaurant near campus. It's on the university meal plan so students can buy groceries, panini sandwiches, sushi, and coffee with their prepaid meal plan. A place like this could gain more popularity if the new student dorm policy is enacted.

Eric Shyrock a freshman in computer science finished an iced coffee and is getting ready to head to class. Although he's not sure if he's moving off campus next year he says there are benefits to leaving dorm life.

"It's generally cheaper and it teaches you to be more independent anyways," he said.

Shyrock says the extra programs and academic support available to dorm residents is not worth an extra year on campus.

"I think it's kind of useless because one year seems like its long enough to understand the ramifications of living in a dorm and I don't feel like there is much more to learn in a second year there," he said.

Jamario O'Neal, a junior in communications moved off campus after his freshman year. He now lives in Easton area. O'Neal says it is easier to stay involved while living on campus but says he likes the off-campus atmosphere.

"It's a whole different lifestyle just living on campus than from not living on campus because its, its quiet," he said.

University officials say a desire to improve student life drives the proposal to require sophomores to live in dorms. University Vice Provost Joe Alutto says when students live in campus housing they tend to stay in school and have higher grade point averages.

"The question is how do we increase the quality of the student experience on campus," he said. "And this is literally the cost of going to college. It's an issue for students in terms how committed they are to the kind of educational experience they're going to have."

Alutto says it could be four to six years before the university would have enough housing to require sophomores to stay on campus. Officials plan to add up to 1500 more beds in the next four years but that is not enough to enact the sophomore rule. First, Alutto says the university must decide whether the extra housing would be developed using state or private funds and what kind of extra financial aid would be available to students.