You are here: American University Campus Life Housing & Residence Life FAQ Mid-Semester Residential Experience

Mid-Semester Residential Experience

We are excited to welcome over 1250 undergraduates to campus for a short-term residential experience that will begin in March and run through May. Thinking of applying? You can use the links below to jump directly to the information you're seeking:

About This Program

What is the short-term residential experience?

It is an opportunity for around 1250 undergraduates to live on campus during Spring semester 2021, from mid-semester (early March) to the end of the semester (May 5). There will be no change in the way classes are delivered. Students will live in single rooms with shared bathrooms and utilize the meal plan.

How are participants selected?

You must be a full-time undergraduate and must apply between January 5-January 19, 2021. Priority will be given to first-year students. However, undergraduates from all classes can apply. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will be considered on a space-available basis.

I’ve also heard the term “mini-mester.” Is this the same thing?

Yes, this residential experience has also been referred to as a “mini-mester.”

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Application Process

When and how can I apply?

January 5 through January 19, 2021 on the AU Housing portal

When will I learn if I have a spot?

Room assignments will be emailed to participants on January 29. If we are unable to accommodate your request, you will be informed that you are on the waiting list.

How do I accept or decline a spot?

Once you are assigned a room, you are automatically confirmed.

Students wishing to cancel their room assignment must do so within 48 hours of receiving their placement by e-mailing  

Can international students participate?

This depends on the terms of your visa. While AU is increasing the number of in-person classes, many will remain online, which can impact the ability of international students to reside in the US. Please contact your advisor at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Can transfer students participate?

Yes. Transfer students will be considered according to their class level, which is determined by the number of credit hours completed.

Can part-time students participate?

No, you must be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours) for Spring 2021 when you apply.

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What is the cost for housing?

Rooms in Anderson, Letts, Leonard, Hughes and McDowell are $2478. Students arriving between March 4 and March 9 will be charged an additional $300.  

How and where will students be housed?

Students will have single bedrooms and share community bathrooms. Students will be assigned to one of the available halls: Anderson, Letts, Leonard, Hughes and McDowell. (Rooms being used are typically doubles, but in Spring 2021 will be used as singles for health and safety protocols.)

Will there be activities to welcome and orient students to campus?

Yes. More information will be forthcoming.

Will students be able to visit between residence halls?

Yes, students who live in residence halls may visit each other, with restrictions. Only one guest per room is permitted at a time to ensure physical distancing.  

Please note that only students living in an AU-operated building can be guests in residence halls. 

How will I get my OneCard (student ID) to access buildings?

Please submit your photo online as soon as possible. (Early online photo submission enables you to avoid backlogs in appointments. You are encouraged to submit your photo before applying or receiving a room assignment.)

More details will be forthcoming.

Can a student bring a car to campus?

First-year students cannot have a car on campus; others may have a car.

Will the AU Shuttle be operating?

Yes, it will.

Please note, though, that Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has suspended the U-Pass program for area university students, so that program is not available.

How many students will be living on campus during Spring 2021?

Around 1250 spaces will be available for the mid-semester residential experience.

In addition, space has been allocated as Emergency Housing for students with critical housing needs. In total, AU expects to house around 1500 students on campus during Spring 2021.

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Dining on Campus

How will meals be provided?

AU Dining will provide meals to go, for pick up. In addition, there will be several other food outlets open on campus.

What is the cost for the meal plan?

$1588 for a 100-block meal plan. This provides around 12 meals a week, as well as $400 worth of EagleBucks, which can be used (via your OneCard student ID) for purchases at on-campus and some off-campus food and retail vendors.

Will I need to be on the meal plan?

Yes. All students attending the short-term residential program will be required to be on a meal plan. 

What food outlets will be open on campus?

Einstein Brothers Bagels, Wonk Burger/Absurd Bird and the East Campus store, as well as traditional dining to go. Two campus cafes, Davenport Lounge and the Bridge, are also operating.


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Health Testing & Protocols

Do I need a COVID-19 test before arrival?

Yes. Students will be expected to get a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to coming to DC. 

Are there health protocols I need to follow after arrival?

Yes. As per DC protocols, you must limit activities for three days after arrival in DC. You will then take a COVID-19 PCR test, at no charge. If the test is negative, you may participate in full (masked) activities.

What if I am already vaccinated for COVID-19?

Students will be required to follow DC protocols regardless of whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

How often will I be tested for COVID-19 while living on campus?

Twice a week. There is no charge for this test. This also applies to students in university-leased housing off campus, such as the Frequency Apartments.

More details will be forthcoming.

What if a student tests positive for COVID-19 while living on campus?

If any on-campus student has a confirmed case of COVID-19, there are protocols for moving the student to isolation housing. Over 160 spaces, in separate housing facilities, are being set aside for this purpose. Meals will be provided through no-contact delivery and students are monitored by the Student Health Center.

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Health Insurance

What are the health insurance requirements?

AU requires all students living in university-sponsored housing to carry comprehensive health insurance valid in Washington, D.C. For more details, please see "About Student Health Insurance."

What is the cost?

$1139 is the cost of health insurance for Spring semester. It covers students from January 1 through July 31.

How do I waive AU health insurance if I already have insurance that meets university requirements?

Please see this page on the Spring 2021 waiver process.

What if I was approved for a waiver at the start of the academic year?

If you received a waiver exception in the Fall that no longer applies, you will be charged automatically for the Student Health Insurance plan. (For instance, if your insurance does not provide in-network coverage in Washington, DC but you weren't in Washington, DC during the Fall, and received a waiver exception on that basis, it would no longer apply and you will be charged.)

All other waivers still apply.

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What if I was approved for disability-related Fall 2020 housing/dining accommodations?

Please work with your Disability Access Advisor (through the Academic Support and Access Center) by January 13 to notify us that you want your accommodations to be implemented for the short-term housing experience. Your accommodations from Fall 2020 will not be applied automatically; you must connect with your advisor to ensure implementation. You must also meet all housing deadlines (e.g., submit your short-term housing application by January 19).

Please note: Every effort will be made to implement accommodations as previously approved. However, due to the short-term nature of this housing period and limited space options, it may not be reasonable to implement all accommodations.

If I haven't been previously approved for disability-related accommodations in housing and dining, how do I apply?

Work with the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) and compete their 3-step process. Please note that the deadline is January 13, 2021 for all requests for accommodations for the short-term housing experience. This timing is necessary for processing by ASAC and to ensure that room assignments can be made based on accommodations.

Will my short-term housing/dining accommodation transfer over to Fall 2021?

No; all returning ASAC students need to complete request forms for Fall 2021. Please talk with your Disability Access Advisor for details. (Those requests are due by February 14, 2021, so please keep that in mind.)

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Move-In & Move-Out

When is Move-In?

March 4 to March 14, 2021.

How does Move-In work?

You will sign up for a two-hour block of time, to control density in the halls during Move-In and align with health and safety measures. Two guests will be allowed to assist you in Move-In.

When is Move-Out?

Participants must move out by noon on May 5.

Where will I store my belongings after Move-Out, so I can have access to them for Fall Semester?

The campus UPS store offers students assistance with summer storage. More information will be forthcoming.

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Cost & Billing

Can I use my financial aid?

Yes. Spring 2021 financial aid awards include the full anticipated cost of attendance — including housing and dining. This can be used for the short-term housing experience.

However, because of the circumstances of 2021, many students will receive a refund in January (before applications to this program are processed). If you plan to participate in the short-term housing experience, please save your refund so that you can apply it to this charge. 

How do I make a payment?

Payment for charges related to the short-term housing experience will be due immediately on the day they are posted. (They will be posted and due the first week of February.) Payments can be made by Eagle Service via the Student Accounts Online Payments link

For students on a monthly payment plan, the housing/dining charges will automatically be factored into the rest of your payments.  Students who are not signed up for a monthly payment plan may sign up for the 3-month plan by February 15 via the Student Payment Plan link.

When should I expect my account to be billed?

Students will be billed in the first week of February. 

What is the cancellation policy?

Students no longer interested in the short-term housing experience are expected to cancel their housing assignment within 48 hours of receiving a placement e-mail. Students who do not cancel their housing assignment before March 4 are responsible for the full amount of the housing fees. 

Meal plan costs are non-refundable.

Can you list the anticipated costs in one place?

Sure. Here are the basic costs:

  • Housing: $2478 for Anderson, Letts, Hughes, Leonard or McDowell; plus $300 for those arriving between March 4-9
  • Dining: $1588 (for a 100-block plan with $400 in EagleBucks). The meal plan is required.
  • Health insurance: $1139, for Spring semester through July 31, unless you receive a waiver. (Insurance is required but you may request a waiver if you have comprehensive insurance that covers you in Washington, DC.)

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List of Key Requirements

What are the key requirements for participating?

Here are the core requirements for participating:

  • Be a full-time undergraduate for Spring 2021.
  • Apply by January 19.
  • Participate in the meal plan.
  • Cancel, if necessary, within 48 hours of receiving your room assignment, which is anticipated on January 29. (There is no need to confirm formally; once you receive your room assignment,you are automatically confirmed.)
  • Have comprehensive health insurance valid in Washington, DC. (You will be automatically enrolled in the AU Student Health Insurance plan unless you waive for Spring 2021)
  • Have a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to coming to DC and then follow additional protocols.
  • Show proof of a 2020-2021 influenza vaccination before moving to campus.
  • Be tested for COVID-19 twice per week at the Student Health Center.
  • Follow health and safety protocols while on campus.

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More Information

Will there be webinars where I can get more information and ask questions?

Yes! At the moment, there is a webinar for parents and families at 7 p.m. EST on Monday, December 21, 2020. Please register for the webinar here. It will be available to view afterwards, and we anticipate additional sessions in the new year.

Where can I find more about services available on campus in Spring 2021 — such as the fitness center, library, and support services?

Check out the section "For Students in the Washington, DC Area" in the Student's Guide to This Year at AU. The Guide describes how services are being delivered this academic year (including quick contact links), and the section for students in the DC area provides specifics for students living in the region, including what is available on campus and how to access it.

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On-Campus isolation housing is only available to students residing in AU Operated residence hall. Off-campus students can contact the AU Health Center and should follow local regulations related to isolation.

Key Dates

Applications open: January 5

Accommodation requests due: January 13

Priority Applications Due: January 19

Room assignments announced: January 29

Move-In: by schedule, March 4-14

Move-Out: by noon, May 5


How to Apply

Apply on the AU Housing portal. The priority application link will be live from January 5-19.

Spring 2021 Housing Lisence Agreement (HLA)


Questions? Here's Where to Contact


Meal plan:

Health/COVID testing:

Accounts and billing:

Financial aid: (or contact your counselor)

Accommodations: (for disability-related accommodations)