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.
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 level of cleanliness, bedtimes, amount of socializing and noise, and more.
Selecting on-campus housing with the intention of moving off campus
Students who attempt to withdraw from on-campus housing after completing the online housing application and Housing License Agreement may face large cancellation fees. Before committing to living on campus, consider if on-campus or off-campus housing is the best personal fit.
Not 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.
If you still have questions after reviewing this FAQ, please contact Housing & Dining Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because our call and e-mail traffic will increase as we enter the spring semester, your patience is appreciated.
Is the room selection process for the entire 2016-2017 academic year or just for Fall 2016?
Your participation in the room selection process is your agreement to live in the residence halls for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. 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, withdrawal, or transfer) may not be subject to cancellation fees.
How do I participate in the room selection process?
The guide for the 2016-2017 room selection process will be available for students beginning on January 11, 2016 on the Housing & Dining Programs website. There will be three stages to the process (all are required steps of the process):
Step 1: Online Housing Application. Complete the online housing application and Housing License Agreement by Friday, January 29 at 5 p.m. EST, no exceptions.
Step 2: Selection of "Group Name". Students must create a Group Name by February 19 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: Room Selection. Select a space during the online room selection process between February 24 and March 2, 2016. Specific dates and times for selection in this range will be assigned.
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: Selection of "Group Name", individual students should declare a group of one and select themselves as the group leader.
During Step 3: Room Selection, 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.
What happens if I secure a space for Fall 2016, 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.
If I’m planning to study abroad in the fall, will I have housing on-campus for Spring 2017?
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.
If I’m planning to study abroad in Spring 2017, can I apply for housing on-campus for Fall 2016?
You should participate in the room selection process as if you plan to be at AU for the entire academic year. Students who participate in an approved study abroad program during the Spring 2017 semester will be exempt from the residence hall license agreement cancellation fee.
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.
I was planning to apply to be a Resident Assistant or Desk Coordinator for the 2016-2017 academic year. Should I participate in the room selection process?
Students must be rising juniors or seniors to apply for resident positions. You should participate in the room selection process as if you were not applying for a position. When available, applications for 2016-17 Resident Assistants and Desk Coordinators will be available on the Housing & Dining Programs website.
I currently live at the Berkshire Apartments under the AU Residence Hall 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.
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.
How can I learn more about the room selection process?
Housing & Dining Programs will be hosting five information sessions to provide opportunities for students to learn more about the room selection process and ask questions in person:
All students: Wednesday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m. in McDowell Formal Lounge
Transfer students only: Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. in The Hatch
All students: Wednesday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Letts Hall Formal Lounge
Sophomore students (East Campus Information Session): Wednesday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Nebraska Formal Lounge
Sophomore students (East Campus Information Session): Tuesday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Nebraska Formal Lounge
What new housing is AU planning for the future?
The university's strategic plan named the expansion of student housing a top priority. In recent years, we expanded campus housing with the completion of Cassell Hall and the renovation and expansion of Nebraska Hall. In preparation of the 2016-2017 academic year, we are pleased to announce three new residence halls to our East Campus footprint.
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.
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.
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 2016-2017 academic year, if they meet all deadlines of for the room selection process and select a space.
What does it mean that new students are guaranteed "up to four semesters" on campus?
All new students are eligible for on-campus housing for at least four semesters. Students who move off campus, transfer, study abroad, or take a leave of absence may affect their guarantee of campus housing for “up to four semesters.” After four semesters, housing is available through a lottery, but is not guaranteed. Students with questions about their eligibility should contact Housing & Dining Programs.
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.
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.