Housing & Residence Life

UNCW Two-Year Residency Requirement

students in residence hallAcademic and student success comes first at UNC Wilmington. We know, through many decades of research, that students who reside and eat on-campus make a smoother transition to collegiate life, develop strong friendships, achieve higher grade point averages, and persist to graduation at higher rates. With this in mind, UNC Wilmington has implemented a Two-Year Residency Requirement. Students admitted as a First-Year student will be required to live in on-campus housing for their first and second academic years.

Who Qualifies as a First-Year student?

All students accepted and enrolled at UNC Wilmington for their first academic year immediately after graduating high school.  This may vary based on time of start:

  • Students enrolling in the summer as a First Year student are required to live in on campus housing during the summer and participate in the summer Hawk meal plan. 
  • Students enrolling in the fall as a First Year student are required to live in on-campus housing and participate in one of the Hawk meal plans for two full academic years.
  • Students enrolling in the spring semester as a First Year Spring Admit (FYSA) have the option to reside on campus if space is available.  If living on campus, students must participate in one of the Hawk meal plans.


A student may request to have their Two-Year Residency waived by submitting a written appeal if they meet one or more of the following exceptions:
  • Students who are over the age of 21 or under the age of 17 by the 1st day of class.
  • Students who have active-duty service in the United States Military.
  • Students who have legal dependents.
  • Students who are legally married.
  • Students who live in New Hanover, Pender or Brunswick counties and reside with their legal guardians will be granted an automatic exception and no additional paperwork is required.*
    • *Students living with non-legal guardians such as: grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, brothers/sisters, family owned homes, etc. will not qualify for the exception.
  • Students with disabilities for whom off campus housing options are necessary for maintaining reasonable health and general safety.
    • Those requests with supporting documentation should be made directly to the Disability Resource Center, for more information call 910-962-7555  or www.uncw.edu/disability.
UNCW Housing and Residence Life may make additional exceptions  should occupancy considerations warrant, and will request verification  documents for any of the above exceptions.


How to Request a Waiver of the Two-Year Residency Requirement

If a student feels they meet one or more of the exceptions listed above and wishes to waive the Two-Year Residency Requirement for on-campus housing and meal plan, they should follow the below instructions for a written appeal.

  1. Fall under one or more of the exemption categories listed above.
  2. File a formal request for a residency waiver by emailing Housing and Residence Life with reasoning and supporting documentation. Please send requests to Housing@uncw.edu.

Students must send requests and supporting documentation by May 1.

Waivers received after May 1st will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If at any point a violation of the Two-Year Residency Requirement is discovered, the student will be charged for one full semester of housing as well as the default "Hawk Silver" meal plan. The student will then be referred to the Office of Dean of Students for additional sanctioning, which may include a requirement to move on-campus.

Questions regarding the Two-Year Residency Requirement should be directed to UNCW Housing and Residence Life at housing@uncw.edu or 910-962-3241, while questions about the associated meal plan requirement should be directed to Auxiliary Services at mealplans@uncw.edu or 910-962-3560.