The Australian National University says changes to on-campus accommodation are aimed at increasing diversity and bringing in more lower socio-economic students into the residences.
Among the planned changes for 2015 outlined on Monday is an increase in fees, a switch to a centralised allocation system for accommodation and a reduction of the number of returnees in favour of more places for new undergraduate students.
ANU deputy vice-chancellor Marnie Hughes-Warrington said in a letter to students the change to the number of returning students would be "small" from the current 72 per cent, to 67 per cent next year.
Professor Hughes-Warrington also argued the new allocation system would bring in more students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and "ensure that the diversity and talents of ANU students are a hallmark of all of our residential communities".
Professor Hughes-Warrington said that currently, low SES students account for only 1 per cent of the residents on campus.
"In some cases only 5 per cent of residents are international students, and other residences have very few students from government schools," Professor Hughes-Warrington said.
Professor Hughes-Warrington said the new allocation system would combat these statistics and "ensure that the diversity and talents of ANU students are a hallmark of all of our residential communities".
Under the changes, fees for self-catered colleges would rise by 7 per cent, and catered would increase by 5 per cent in 2015.
The ANU Interhall Council, who represent residents, was not pleased with the changes, arguing it was not properly consulted and that the move will alter the culture of the colleges.
UniLodge residents' committee president Samuel Guthrie said the ANU Interhall Council was told in a meeting on Monday with Professor Richard Baker, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Student Experience, that the policy was eventually aiming to reduce the number of returnees to on-campus accommodation to 50 per cent.
A spokeswoman from ANU said she was not at the meeting and that the current policy was to reduce the number of returnees to 67 per cent in 2015.
A statement on the ANU website responded to claims the character of the colleges would be affected.
"We don't expect that changing the balance of new and returning students should adversely affect the sense of community that characterises the residential experience," the statement reads.
The statement said students who have to move will be assisted in changing over to rental accommodation.