You are here: American University Campus Life Housing & Residence Life Returning Room Selection

Clawed Z. Eagle with ballons

Returning Student Room Selection

Returning Student Room Selection (RSRS) at American University is an online process that provides eligible returning undergraduate residents the opportunity to select their housing for the next academic year. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the process begins December 2, 2019 at 12 p.m. and runs through February 21, 2020.

Process Overview and Timeline

There are three steps for the 2020-2021 process. To live on campus, applicants must follow all three steps and their respective deadlines.

Extensive information about the process is available throughout this page. Please review the provided information before contacting the Housing office.

Step 1: Apply (due February 7, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST)

Complete the online housing application and Housing License Agreement through the AU Housing Portal between December 2, 2019 at 12PM and February 7, 2020 at 5PM. The deadline is Friday, February 7, 2020 at 5 p.m. EST, no exceptions will be made.

Step 2: Group

Students may create or join a group of 2-6 students. Students can begin to create groups as each student completes the housing application. Students may make changes to their group configuration through selection. Based on limited living units that can house groups of 3-6, groups will need to regroup into smaller sizes if those living units are unavailable during selection.

Step 3: Select or Confirm (randomly assigned time)

Specific dates and times for selection will be assigned and communicated the week before housing selection which will take place between February 17-21, 2020.

During Step 3 students will be able to view and select a housing assignment. Any member of a group can select for their group at or after their selection time begins. Students that are assigned housing by another group member must confirm their assignment by 8a.m. the following day. Students who do not confirm their housing assignment within the designated timeframe will lose their assignment and be removed from their roommate group. Any student who does not confirm their housing assignment will have until the end of selection to pick a different room.    

Housing Options

Refer to the Residence Halls page for detailed information on each building and consider the associated housing costs (2020-2021 Housing and Meal Plan rates will be updated soon).

Housing options for returning students
Building Rising Sophomores Rising Juniors/Seniors Room Types

Students who elect to live in semi-private living units with private baths (Cassell, Congressional, Constitution, McDowell suites, Federal) are responsible for cleaning their in-unit bathrooms.

Only true triple rooms in Hughes and McDowell halls (originally designed as a triple room) will be offered for the 2020-2021 academic year. No double rooms will be converted to temporary triple rooms for the 2020-2021 academic year. Groups of three are not guaranteed placement in a triple occupancy bedroom.




Suite style




Double with private bath




Double with private bath




Double with private bath




Traditional room




Traditional room




Apartment style




Shared studio and 1-BR


Frequently Asked Questions


Returning Student Room Selection Process

Your participation in the room selection process is your agreement to live in AU-affiliated housing for fall 2020 and spring 2021. 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.

Yes, you will have the opportunity to create a roommate group during Step 2: Group. Roommate/living unit groups will be able to select together if there are vacant living units still available at their time of selection. Groups can be made up of students without regard to sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression. Groups can also be made up of students with both sophomore and upperclass residential classifications, but groups made up of both classifications will be limited to selection in Hughes or Cassell halls.

See the chart above for the buildings available according to your residential classification.

No problem. If you do not have an intended roommate, you will simply participate in RSRS as an individual. As such, you will not need to create a group in Step 2 and will select from an available space during Step 3: Select. Participating in RSRS as an individual does not guarantee a single room assignment. Single rooms are very limited and students should expect to select a double occupancy space or lager.


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 the fall, you should participate in the room selection process and secure a space. Students who participate in an approved study abroad program during the fall semester will be exempt from the housing cancellation fee. If you do select a housing assignment, complete a the cancellation applicaiton in the AU Housing Portal as soon as possible so your space can be assigned to another student from the waitlist.

If you select a space and then cancel to particiapte in a study abroad, your vacant space will be reassigned based on high demant for campus housing and we will not be able to accmodate roommate requests to fill the space.

For students studying abroad in the fall, housing is guaranteed upon your return provided that you meet all spring housing application deadlines. Information will be sent to you via email by October for the spring application process. Hall or roommate preferences are not guaranteed for students returning in the spring, but efforts will be made to meet those requests.

You should participate in the returning student room selection process. Students who participate in an approved study abroad program during spring 2021 will be exempt from the cancellation fee as stated in the Housing License Agreement.

If you wish to request disability-related housing accommodations, you must have completed the housing accommodation request process through the Academic Support & Access Center (ASAC) by February 7, 2020. Please note, housing accommodation requests typically take at least three weeks to process, so students should start the ASAC process well before February 7, 2020. Students can initiate this process through the ASAC Disability Related Housing Accommodations Process page. If you have questions, please contact ASAC at 202-885-3360 in advance of the room selection process.

Students applying to be a Resident Assistant (RA)or Program Assistant (PA) should review the questions and answers below to guide them through the Returning Student Room Selection (RSRS) process:

  • Q: I’m planning to apply to be a 2020-2021 RA/PA, should I apply for the Returning Student Room Selection?
    • A: If, regardless of being an RA/PA you want to live on-campus, you should apply for RSRS and select a desired space through the process. If you do no plan to live on-campus unless you are hired as an RA/PA please do not apply for RSRS. Students who are hired to be a RA/PA and have not yet completed the 2020-2021 housing application will be required to complete the application as part of their RA/PA position acceptance.
  • Q: What happens if I select a space as part of a group during RSRS and then later accept a RA/PA position? What happens to the members of my group?
    • A: If you are hired as a RA/PA you will be removed from the space you selected and assigned to your RA/PA space. If you selected a space as part of a group through RSRS your other group member(s) will be given the opportunity to request a specific student to fill the vacant space. If they do not request a specific student to fill the vacant space it will be available for students to select during the waitlist process.
  • Q: What happens if I’m not hired as an RA/PA and decide I want on-campus housing after the RSRS process has ended?
    • A: You can simply complete the 2020-2021 housing application and will participate in the waitlist process to later receive an assignment. Please be aware that available spaces will be limited after RSRS has concluded.

Students who need housing considerations due to gender should complete the Gender-Based Housing Consideration Form on CDI’s website. Considerations may include access to affirming bathrooms, roommates, and room type. If you would like to request a Gender-Based Consideration, you must complete the Center for Diversity & Inclusion’s (CDI) process by February 7, 2020 at 5p.m. Please note, the Gender-Based Consideration process takes at least 3 weeks to complete and should be initiated well before the deadline.

Students interested in opting into All-Gender Housing and living with differently gendered roommates do not need to fill out the Gender-Based Housing Considerations form. Students can select the All-Gender Housing option through the AU Housing Portal’s regular online application. The Gender-Based Housing Consideration form is only for students who have considerations for their housing based on their gender identity.

The Black Affinity Housing located in Roper Hall provides an intentional residential community dedicated to celebrating, exploring, and affirming black student experiences at AU and beyond. The live-in experience encourages dialogue and community building that is mindful of the diverse social, cultural, and academic needs of Black and multicultural students. Black Affinity Housing will enrich all of campus life by promoting solidarity among students of all backgrounds and identities.

Students interested in being part of this community are highly encouraged to attend one of the informational sessions to learn about the purposes and goals of Affinity Housing.The informational sessions will be held:

  • January 27th (Tuesday) 6-7pm in MGC 332
  • January 28th (Wednesday) 12:30-1:30pm in MGC 328
  • January 29th (Thursday) 6-7pm in MGC 332
  • February 4th (Tuesday) 12:30pm in the Centennial Perch
  • February 6th (Thursday) 12:30pm in the Centennial Perch

Sophomore and upper-class students will be able to choose available spaces during the information sessions or during the Returning Student Room Selection process. First-Year students will be placed in the community during their placement in June 2020.


Living Off Campus

HRL provides several off-campus resources and services, including a video guide to moving off campus and an off-campus posting tool.

Moving off-campus does not affect a student's eligibility for financial aid. The financial aid office approximates living expense for all students to the cost of a double room on-campus. If you would like to discuss your particular scholarship or loan arrangements related to moving off-campus, get in touch with the financial aid office.

Yes, all current AU students are encouraged to participate in the Returning Student Room Selection, including those currently living off-campus. Please review this page in full for the current room selection process.


General Housing

Current first year students (rising sophomores) are guaranteed a space on campus for the 2020-2021 academic year if they meet all deadlines, as well as select a space. On-campus housing is not guaranteed beyond the rising sophomore population. However, all students interested in living on-campus are encouraged to apply.

Undergraduate students, including students who are abroad or on a leave of absence, are eligible to participate in the returning student room selection process. Because there are approximately 400 spaces available for rising juniors and seniors, not all who apply will secure a space. Students who do not secure a space through RSRS can continue to seek on-campus housing through the waitlist selections, which will be available beginning in the spring semester.

Residential classification is the labeling system used to define a student's guarantee of housing and their eligibility for certain housing locations. It is determined by the number of semesters a student has lived in on-campus housing at AU (not including summer) or were abroad. It has NO relationship to any academic program, standing, or count of credit hours.

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 their sophomore and junior years; only 25% of the junior class has historically lived on campus, as compared to 85% of the sophomore class.

Refer to the Academic Year Rates page for housing costs. For questions specific to your meal plan, eagleBucks, or dining dollars, contact One Card & Dining Services.

Summer storage is a popular option for students looking for a way to store their belongings while they are at home or abroad during the summer. The UPS Store provides safe and convenient storage for all AU students. Located on campus, the UPS Store provides in-room delivery when students return in August. Stored items are placed in the student's assigned room before they return to school for the fall semester. The UPS Store has been serving AU students since 1987; for more information about summer storage, visit the AU Storage website.



Selection time slots are assigned on a random basis. Classification (number of semesters on campus) only impacts what locations you can select from, not what times lot you were assigned.

In both cases, students can participate in the Waitlist selection processes beginning during the spring semester. As cancellation fees go into effect immediately after a student selects or confirms a housing assignment, students are not encouraged to select a space they do want to live in, but rather to later participate in the Waitlist process.

Students can cancel their housing assignment by submitting a housing cancellation through the AU Housing Portal. In advance of cancelling a housing assignment students should review the cancellation webpage and 2020-2021 Housing and License Agreement to cancellation fees based on the date and circumstances of their cancellation.

Housing assignments are final and room changes are not offered during the room selection process. Students will have an opportunity to request a room change during the Fall Room Change process and/or the Open Room Change process.