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Major change at BYU: Students ‘may choose to live anywhere’ after freshman year

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BYU announced a major housing policy change, no longer requiring students to reside in campus dorms or school-approved housing while enrolled.

BYU announced a major housing policy change Thursday, no longer requiring students to reside in campus dorms or school-approved housing while enrolled.

BYU.edu screenshot

BYU-approved housing will apply to freshmen only beginning next year.

Starting in the fall of 2022, Brigham Young University undergraduate and single students can live anywhere they want after their first two semesters.

BYU announced the major housing policy change on Thursday, no longer requiring students to reside in campus dorms or school-approved housing while enrolled.

The decision was made to better serve students and provide more options, said BYU Student Life Vice President Julie Franklin.

“We have been hearing from and listening to our students’ concerns with BYU’s two-mile housing radius,” Franklin said in a news release. “Beginning in fall 2022, students who have completed their first two semesters at BYU will enjoy greater flexibility when choosing where to live.”

The new policy applies only to BYU’s student housing program in Provo, Utah. No changes will be made to student housing policies or programs at BYU–Hawaii, BYU–Idaho or Ensign College, the release said.

Previously, students were required to live in campus-approved housing where the landlord maintained contact with the university for the students’ entire school experience. All housing options were within a two-mile radius of BYU. The purpose was to provide a better college experience at BYU, which is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The U.S. Justice Department allowed BYU to segregate students based on gender through a 1978 agreement that said the private college could restrict housing for moral standards, the Deseret News reported.

Utah’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter challenged the housing policy in 1994, saying that Provo-area landlords discriminated against potential renters on the basis of gender, marital status and whether they are BYU students. BYU defended the policy and won when the 10th District Court of Appeals ruled that BYU’s policy did not violate the Fair Housing Act.

BYU graduate and married students have always had the option to live anywhere.

Single, undergraduate students can still live in BYU On-Campus or Off-Campus Contracted Housing after their first two semesters. Those who move to non-contracted off-campus housing must still abide by the CES Honor Code and BYU’s student housing policies.

“Like many universities,” Franklin said, “BYU will continue requiring students to live their first two semesters in BYU housing or off-campus contracted housing. Research repeatedly shows that students who initially have this close association with their fellow students have a better and more successful college experience.”

One of BYU’s considerations in changing its policy was the challenge third-party, off-campus landlords had when they tried to require non-BYU students to abide by the honor code.

All students and landlords of BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing were notified of the change at the same time. The students received an email with additional details. Read more information at och.byu.edu/.

BYU expressed appreciation to landlords of BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing and property owners and informed them that any of them wishing to participate as a BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing provider should contact the BYU Off-Campus Housing Office by Oct. 15, 2021.

Reaction to the BYU housing policy change

BYU graduate Daniel Haslam applauded the change on social media.

“This is great news for students. Should kill off the monopoly of ‘approved’ housing,” he wrote on Twitter.

The move is a “good, eminently practical policy change,” tweeted Ben Frandsen, a BYU assistant professor of physics.

“BYU undergraduates have been trapped in a near housing monopoly for a long time now, and this will give them much more freedom to find a housing situation that is a blessing to them, not a burden,” Frandsen wrote in a tweet.

Letter to Students and FAQ

Here is the letter to students, along with a link to Frequently Asked Questions.

Dear Student,

In an effort to better serve BYU’s students, the following changes will be made to the BYU student housing program effective fall semester 2022:

1. For their first two semesters as a BYU student, all single undergraduate students must live (1) in BYU On-Campus Housing, (2) in BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing, or (3) with qualifying family members. This applies to all single undergraduate students, including transfer students, who are matriculated, meaning they have been admitted to a BYU degree-seeking program. Any exception must be approved in writing by the BYU Off-Campus Housing Office. Completion of both spring and summer academic terms qualifies as one semester.

2. Single, matriculated, undergraduate students who have completed two semesters at BYU are eligible but not required to live in BYU On-Campus or BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing. They may choose to live anywhere. Availability of BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing for these students may be limited. Provisions in the BYU Student-Landlord Rental Agreement that allow students to break their lease for marriage, missions, and other reasons will apply only to BYU On-Campus and BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing. BYU single students choosing to live in non-contracted off-campus housing will still be required to maintain sex separation in their apartment and abide by the CES Honor Code and BYU student housing policies.

3. In addition to single, matriculated BYU students, only the following students are eligible to live in available BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing:

BYU evening students.

BYU Flex GE students.

BYU English Language Center students.

BYU Salt Lake Center students.

BYU–Hawaii students.

BYU–Idaho students.

Ensign College students.

For additional information please visit the Off-Campus Housing Frequently Asked Questions page at och.byu.edu.


Residence Life