For students at the University of Central Florida, living on campus can offer more than just a convenient location – it’s also a place to achieve personal and academic success.

According to UCF Housing and Residence Life, students who live on campus are more likely to graduate than those who live off campus. In 2011-2012, the department saw the first-year retention rate of students who lived on campus jump up to 88.96 percent.

In addition, students who reside in one of the 14 living-learning communities offering specialized programming and academic support experienced a first-year retention rate of 91.66 percent.

“Living on campus increases a student’s engagement with the university,” said Jimmy Moore, an assistant director for Housing and Residence Life. “Residents are more likely to have friends, connect to resources, get involved in organizations and go to class.”

Students living on campus also achieved higher GPAs and graduation rates than those who lived off campus. Housing and Residence Life attributes the numbers to its highly-trained staff and specialized communities for out-of-state and transfer students and students in the Burnett Honors College and other academic programs.

“Living-learning housing creates a community,” said Moore. “UCF is a big place. Some students find the dedicated programming and services of a smaller living-learning community to be more supportive. In addition to a supportive community feeling, on campus communities also provide special programs, resources, workshops and access to academic advisors.”

Campus housing includes 57 residence buildings, 13 communities and 7,579 beds. Communities are staffed by student resident assistants who plan academic activities and programs for residents.

UCF freshman Jenny Ho said that living on campus in a living-learning community has helped her adjust to living away from home.

“I’ve enjoyed the benefit of having a shared interest with fellow residents and also having classes together,” said Ho. “Living on campus has not only made UCF my home, literally, but also in a sentimental sense because I feel like I belong in the UCF community.”

Ho plans to become a resident assistant next year to help other students make the transition to college life.

“People talk about the ‘full college experience,’ and living on campus definitely helps you to accomplish that, in addition to allowing you to easily get involved in student organizations, go to all of the amazing events on campus and still stay focused on your studies.”