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Housing License Agreement Release Process

Carefully review the HLA Release Process information below before submitting a request. Any request submitted incorrectly will automatically be denied.

Important Considerations

  • Submission of an HLA Release Request and moving out of a housing assignment does not automatically result in a housing cancellation. Please discuss your options with the HLA Release Coordinator. To cancel your housing, login to AU Housing Portal and complete the relevant cancellation. You will receive a confirmation email when a cancellation is submitted.
  • Please note that Housing and Residence Life does not encourage students to cancel their housing assignment or to make alternative living arrangements, including signing an off-campus lease, until after a written decision is received.

Grounds for Release

  • A release is only granted when it has been determined that circumstances are substantially different from the time the HLA went into effect and the situation cannot be relieved by a room change or utilization of campus resources (i.e. medical housing accommodation or Residence Life staff support). If the situation can be relieved in this way an HLA Release Request will be denied.
  • Additionally, the HLA Release Committee will review requests with an understanding that:
  • The student is responsible for their actions.
  • The student has made a commitment to American University through acceptance of the HLA to live on-campus for the duration of the academic year.
  • Students should submit their request and all documentation at least 15 business days (3 weeks) prior to their requested release date. 
  • The HLA Release Committee will meet every two weeks during the semester. Meetings may be less frequent based on university holidays and closures. The HLA Release Committee will only review requests received at least 5 business days before a given meeting date to ensure the committee is best prepared to review the request.
  • The HLA Release Committee will send a decision notice to the requesting student through their AU email account within 3 business days following a meeting. If needed, the committee will request additional information.

All HLA Release Requests, including supporting documentation, should be submitted electronically in one email to from the student’s AU email address. Please title all emails ‘HLA Release Request.’

  • An appropriately submitted HLA Release Request must include:
    1. A 1-page maximum typed (Times New Roman, font size 12) document with:
      • The student’s full name, AU ID number, housing assignment, requested date of release at the top of the page, and release request type (financial/medical/other).
      • Answer to all the following questions:
        1. What unexpected circumstances changed for you after agreeing to the HLA and result in your inability to uphold your responsibility to live on-campus through the HLA? Please be specific with the date of the unexpected change.
        2. How would a room change or utilization of campus resources not support you to continue living on-campus?
        3. Which Housing & Residence Life and/or campus staff members have you worked with prior to submitting this request to address your change in circumstances? What was the outcome?
        4. What supporting documentation have you included with your request and how does each item support your request?
    2. Relevant supporting documentation.

All supporting documentation should directly relate to grounds for release and concisely support the request. Please ensure that all supporting documentation will easily be understood by the committee in relation to the reason for your request. This can include highlighting the keys section of a document. If a family member is including a letter (1-page maximum typed) for a student’s request the letter must include the family members name, the students name, the family member’s relationship to the student, and a printed signature. 

  • Financial: Students need to demonstrate how their financial circumstances unexpectedly changed following acceptance of the HLA. Identifying off-campus housing at a lower cost is not solely considered a enough reason for a release request. Housing & Residential Life will consult with Financial Aid to confirm that a student is utilizing available supports. 
    • Example documentation can include a letter from a family member, financial documents, or an employment termination document. The request will be considered based upon medical need and whether the need can be met through a
  • Medical: Students need to demonstrate how a medical circumstance unexpectedly changed following acceptance of the HLA. The request will be considered based upon medical need and whether the need can be met by requesting a medical accommodation through the Academic Support & Access Center.
    • Example documentation can include a letter from a family member and a signed statement from a physician, which addresses how this medical concern relates to the student’s inability to live in all on-campus housing.
    • Special Note: To protect your privacy, please consult with the HLA Release Coordinator before submitting any medical documentation to determine if this documentation is already possessed by another AU office or should be reviewed by a specific AU office rather than the committee.
  • Other: Students should submit under this type of request if their request does not relate to a financial or medical change in circumstances following their acceptance of the HLA.
    • Example documentation may include a letter from a family member and all information that substantiates the circumstances resulting in the request.