Skip navigation

1st Year Live-On Requirement

summer 2023 orientation

summer 2023 orientation

summer 2023 orientation

Live Better. Live Southern Miss!

Southern Miss is committed to providing students with a comprehensive educational experience. USM recognizes the educational and social benefits students receive from residing on campus their first year, as compared to living off campus. Ample research across the United States over the last 30 years has compelling evidence that students who live in university-provided housing perform better academically, and enjoy a higher degree of satisfaction with their college experience, versus students who live off-campus or commute. Other benefits of living on campus include:

  • Minimizes stress of commuting
  • Students become more involved with the campus community
  • Students show greater gains in student development and interpersonal self-esteem
  • Students enjoy easy access to campus resources

In recognition of the value of the living-learning experience associated with on-campus living, the USM Department of Housing and Residence Life has a freshman residency program. This program requires all new full-time freshman students to live on campus their first year at USM. This is also consistent with the other state institutions in Mississippi, who have had first year residency requirements for a number of years.

Note for Transfer Students: If you are a transfer student who has less than 24 credit hours, this means you are classified as a freshman and will need to follow this program!

Possible Exemptions

There are exemptions to the 1st year live-on requirement. Below are some examples, but for the full list of exemptions, access to the exemption and appeal forms, and the FAQs about this new policy, please visit the 1st year landing page located in the Housing Portal.

  • The student is 20 years of age prior to the first day of classes of the student's first semester.
  • The student is married.
  • The student has custody of dependent children.
  • The student is an active military service member.
  • The student lives with a parent/guardian whose current permanent primary place of residence is not more than 50 miles driving distance from USM.

Note: If you do not meet the exemption requirements, once you've completed your housing application and it's been processed, you'll be able to find all of the information you need within the student housing portal. The Housing and Residence Life public website is set up for prospective students and parents, so instead of having to continuously go to the public website, the Housing Portal has been created strictly for students who'll be living on campus or already live on campus.


If you have questions about the first year live-on requirement, you can email us at reslifeFREEMississippi or call 601.266.4783 Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., CST and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

More Helpful Links

Live Southern Miss