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Returning Room Selection

The 2017-2018 Returning Student Room Selection process has ended as of Friday, March 10, 2017. Students who missed a required step of the process including application, roommate grouping, or room selection are only eligible to apply for on-campus housing through the waitlist process. The waitlist application process is not a guarantee of on-campus housing, but is the best method to pursue on-campus housing at this time. The waitlist will be available through the AU Housing Portal. The application process and confirmation email will provide additional information about the assignments process and notification calendar.

If you have any questions about Returning Student Room Selection or the Waitlist process, please email


Communicating possible scenarios during room selection

Due to the limited nature of on-campus rooms, students should communicate options in their groups for plans if their top preference becomes unavailable. These plans may include different buildings or splitting the group. Specific housing assignments are not guaranteed until the housing selection process has been completed.

Roommate expectations

Clarifying expectations for living situations before selecting roommates is an important factor in having a successful year in the residence hall. Questions to consider include cost of housing, level of cleanliness, bedtimes, amount of socializing and noise, and more.

Selecting on-campus housing with the intention of moving off campus

Students who request to cancel on-campus housing after completing the Step 3: Select may face cancellation fees as outlined in the Housing License Agreement (HLA). Before committing to living on campus, consider if on-campus or off-campus housing is the best personal fit.

Having multiple housing options in mind

Because students are not guaranteed their top preference, it is highly encouraged to have more than one option on a different floor or in a different building. Students are never guaranteed a specific assignment until all steps of the housing selection process are completed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Room Selection Process

Moving Off Campus


Is the room selection process for the entire 2017-2018 academic year or just for Fall 2017?

Your participation in the room selection process is your agreement to live in the residence halls for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. You are contractually committing to live on campus for the full academic year; cancellation fees will apply should you decide to move off campus at any point during the year. Students leaving the residence halls for an approved reason (study abroad, permanent withdrawal, or transfer) may not be subject to cancellation fees with proper documentation.

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How do I participate in the room selection process?

The guide for the 2017-2018 room selection process will be available for students beginning on January 12, 2017 on the Housing & Dining Programs website. There will be three stages to the process (all are required steps of the process):

  • Step 1: Apply. Complete the online housing application and Housing License Agreement by Friday, January 27 at 5 p.m. EST, no exceptions.
  • Step 2: Group. Students must create a group by Friday, February 24 at 5 p.m. EST, no exceptions. This is required for everyone, including individual students (group of one) and for groups of two or more.
  • Step 3: Select. Select a space during the online room selection process between March 1 and March 9. Specific dates and times for selection in this range will be assigned.

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Will I be able to choose my roommate(s)?

Yes, you will have the opportunity to declare a roommate group during Step 2: Group. Roommate groups will be able to select together if there are spaces available.

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What are my housing options?

For housing options available, please see your 2017-2018 Returning Student Room Selection Guide.

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I don't have a roommate in mind for next year, but I would like to live on campus. Can I participate in the room selection process alone, or is there a program to match me with another student?

If you do not have an intended roommate, you may participate in the room selection process in a number of ways:

  • During Step 2: Group, individual students should declare a group of one and select themselves as the group leader.
  • During Step 3: Select, individual students will be able to select a single room or a space in a double or triple room, space allowing. Please note that students selecting as individuals will select during the last room selection time. If there are no longer spaces available, HDP staff will use the preferences individual students expressed during their Online Housing Application to make administrative housing assignments and roommate match no later than mid-July. Some residents may be paired with a visiting international student.

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What happens if I secure a space but decide to study abroad in the fall? I won't know if I'm accepted into the program until the summer. Will there be a cancellation fee?

Students who have already been accepted and paid the deposit to study abroad in fall should not participate in the room selection process. If you are unsure about your plans to study abroad in fall, you should participate in the room selection process and select a space if you are eligible to do so. Students who participate in an approved study abroad program during the fall semester will be exempt from the residence hall license agreement cancellation fee. If you do select a housing assignment, please complete a Housing Termination Form to avoid any Room and Board fees.

Your decision to study abroad will result in a vacancy in your room or unit. Due to a high demand for campus housing, your vacant space will be reassigned, and we will not be able to accommodate roommate requests or room changes for that space.

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If I'm planning to study abroad in the fall, will I have housing on campus for Spring 2018?

For students studying abroad in the fall, housing is guaranteed upon your return provided that you lived on campus during the previous spring semester and meet all spring housing application deadlines (information will be sent to you via email in October). Unfortunately, hall or roommate preferences may not be possible to honor for students returning in the spring, but we will make efforts to meet your requests.

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If I'm planning to study abroad in Spring 2018, can I apply for housing on campus for the fall?

You should participate in the room selection process as if you plan to be at AU during the fall semester. Students who participate in an approved study abroad program during Spring 2018 will be exempt from the residence hall license agreement cancellation fee.

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What on-campus housing accommodations does American University provide for students with disabilities?

If you would like to request special housing accommodations because of a disability, you must complete the Request for Special Housing Accommodation form and return it to Academic Support & Access Center (ASAC). ASAC will consult with other university offices as necessary in the handling of your request. Because there are many sites on campus that provide reduced-distraction study space, single rooms are not generally provided for students who have learning or attention disorders. If you have questions, please contact Academic Support & Access Center at 202-885-3360 in advance of the room selection process.

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I was planning to apply to be a Resident Assistant. Should I participate in the room selection process?

You should participate in the room selection process normally, as if you were not applying for a position.

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I currently live at the Berkshire Apartments under the AU's Housing License Agreement. Do I have to participate in the room selection process?

Any student currently living in University-sponsored housing on campus, or at the Berkshire Apartments must participate in the room selection process to return to campus housing for the following year. If you want to sign an agreement with the Berkshire Apartments on your own and separate from American University, you do not need to participate in the room selection process. You will be required to move out of your current apartment at the end of the spring semester.

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What are my options if I am not able to secure a space during the room selection process?

Students who met all three step deadlines and who did not have a room to select will be able to complete a "pending housing" application. Those students will be assigned to priority list for assignment in early June/July. Students who missed the deadlines may complete a waitlist application. We will not know about the availability of spaces until mid-July, after all new student assignments are complete. All rising sophomore students will be guaranteed housing if they complete all three steps of the room selection process.

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How can I learn more about the room selection process?

Housing & Dining Programs will be hosting information sessions to provide opportunities for students to learn more about the room selection process and ask questions in person:

  • Wednesday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Letts Formal Lounge
  • Wednesday, January 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Letts Formal Lounge
  • Thursday, February 9 at 5:30 p.m. in McDowell Formal Lounge (note that deadline for Step 1: Apply will have already passed)

What resources are available to help me move off of campus?

We maintain an off-campus web service listing current vacancies in the AU area at If you have any questions or wish to ask for additional support, please email

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If I live off campus, will it affect my financial aid?

Moving off-campus does not affect a student's eligibility for financial aid. The Financial Aid staff approximates living expense for all students which is equivalent to the cost of a double room on-campus. The Financial Aid staff welcomes the opportunity to discuss your particular scholarship or loan arrangements related to moving off-campus.

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If I do not get housing during room selection, can I participate in room selection next year?

Once you move off campus, you will no longer be eligible for on-campus housing.

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Why is there a housing shortage at AU? What is being done about it long term?

AU is retaining continuing students and enrolling first year and transfer students with greater success than ever before. We are also retaining more students in the residence halls as a result of their satisfaction with the experience. However, the university's current housing inventory is not sufficient to keep pace with this rapidly increasing demand. Additional student housing is a top priority in the university's Campus Plan, currently under development. Once additional housing is developed, we expect to house any undergraduate student requesting to live on campus, including juniors and seniors. New housing will take at least two to five years to develop.

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I thought students were "guaranteed" housing for four years?

Many students have the impression that housing is guaranteed for four years, since there are currently juniors and seniors living in the residence halls. However, housing has not been guaranteed for all students for a number of years.

Students are required to complete the housing application, complete the selection of "group name" process, and select a room during the room re-application process to confirm a space for the following fall semester. Undergraduate students currently living on campus will be eligible to participate in the process. There are approximately 400 spaces available for rising juniors and seniors, but not all who apply will be awarded a space during room selection.

Current first year students (rising sophomores) are guaranteed a space on campus for the 2017-2018 academic year, if they meet all deadlines of for the room selection process and select a space.

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How is a student's status determined, by credits or by number of semesters lived on campus?

A student is considered a rising sophomore, junior or senior based on the number of semesters lived on campus, including the current semester (course credits do not factor into eligibility for campus housing). Students who have lived on campus for four or more semesters will be required to participate in the housing lottery, if they wish to return to campus housing next year, regardless of the number of academic credits completed. Contact us directly if you have questions about which process you should participate in.

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Why is the availability of campus housing being limited for juniors and seniors?

Ideally, we would like to provide housing for all undergraduate students who desire to live on campus. A top priority in the university's Campus Plan is building housing on campus to accommodate juniors and seniors in future years. Current trends show that most AU students move off-campus between sophomore and junior years. (Only 25% of the junior class has historically lived on campus, as compared to 85% of the sophomore class). With an abundance of local apartments and a convenient transportation system near AU, we believe that juniors and seniors are better equipped to move-off campus and continue to be academically successful.

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What are the rates for campus housing & dining for the 2017-2018 academic year?

Please visit the 2017-2018 Academic Year Rates page for the most updated information.

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Additional Questions

If you still have questions after reviewing this FAQ, please contact Housing & Residence Life at Because our call and e-mail traffic will increase as we enter the spring semester, your patience is appreciated.