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First Year Commuter Requirements

Typically, first- year students are required to live on campus for their first year on Rocky Top, but there are certain circumstances where this requirement can be exempt. First of these exemptions applies if you are residing with a parent who lives within 50 miles of campus (this exemption does not apply to students who wish to reside with another relative). The second of these exemptions applies to students who are married, military personnel, over the age of 21 by the first day of classes, or students who have a medical condition that keeps them from being able to reside on campus. More information about other causes for exemption and additional requirements can be found here.

Commuter Engagement

Living off campus doesn’t have to mean being out of the loop on everything UT. In fact, the Office for Commuter Engagement does their best to ensure that this is not the case for their commuter students. They often hold events to make sure everyone stays involved. There is an event at Welcome Week to kick start commuter involvement and even an event planned every month of the school year to keep everyone connected. These programs give First Year Commuters a way to make new friends and get connected to campus resources. Detailed information and a schedule of these events can be found on the Commuter Student Engagement page.


Parking is known to be one of the most challenging problems for commuter students. A commuter parking pass is $188 and lasts from August to May. Be sure to keep in mind that the commuter passes become void on game days and commuter lots (namely G-10) are often used during events at Thompson Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium. The various names and locations for commuter lots (and other transit options) are located on the Parking and Transit map.

Flex Plan

Since commuter students aren’t on campus as much as non-commuter students, they don’t necessarily need a full dining plan. Most commuter students opt to use the Flex Plan. The Flex plan is $300 on your VolCard each semester that can be used at any dining hall, on campus convenience stores, and restaurants. If you don’t use all of your Flex Plan in the Fall, it rolls over the Spring. If you still haven’t used all of your Flex Dollars you can request a reimbursement. If you don’t specify how you would like your reimbursement, the money will automatically be rolled over into your VolCard account. Dining plan FAQ’s can be found on this page.

Staying Connected

To stay up to date on everything UTK First Year Commuters, there are a few different options. There is a newsletter specifically for First Year commuters with all the upcoming information about events and other important notifications. If you have any questions about First Year commuting you can tweet the Office of Commuter Student Engagement @commuterVOLS, email them at commuter@utk.edu, or contact them by phone at 865-974-4656.


“Commuter Students.” University Housing, 29 Aug. 2018,


“First-Year Commuter Events.” Commuter Student Engagement,


“The University of Tennessee - Campus Map.” Maps.utk.edu,

https://maps.utk.edu/?id=314#!ce/3047?id=314#!ce/3047? ct/27641,3047,28181,28182,28183,28184,28185,30383,32647.

“FAQ.” Vol Dining, https://dining.utk.edu/meal-plans/faq/.

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