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Guide to the Housing Assignment Process – General Information

The Undergraduate Residential Requirement

The residential experience is understood to be an integral part of a Vanderbilt education. This commitment to residential education is clearly expressed in the university’s residential requirement put in place by the Board of Trust in 1952:

“All unmarried undergraduate students must live in residence halls on campus during the academic year, May session, and summer sessions. Authorization to live elsewhere is granted at the discretion of the Director of Housing Assignments in special situations or when space is unavailable on campus.”
—Student Handbook

The requirement is binding on all undergraduate students regardless of age or academic class. By accepting a room assignment, a student is contractually obligated to occupy that room for the entire academic year, unless the student withdraws from the university, graduates, or participates in a Vanderbilt Study Abroad program. Vacant spaces are subject to assignment by the Office of Housing and Residential Experience at any time.

Eligibility

All returning undergraduate students currently enrolled at Vanderbilt are required to participate in the housing assignment process. Students who are enrolled in spring 2021 remote study, out of town internship programs, or on a leave of absence but plan to return to Vanderbilt for the fall 2021 semester are required to participate in the housing assignment process. Students who currently have off-campus authorization are also required to participate, and must re-apply for off-campus authorization if they would like to continue residing off-campus for the 2021-2022 academic year. Fall 2021 transfer students and students who have been readmitted to Vanderbilt and are returning for fall 2021 are not permitted to participate in the housing assignment process.

Registering for the 2020-2021 Housing Assignment Process

All returning students, except those graduating prior to the fall 2021 semester, must register for the housing assignment process between April 1 and April 5, 2021 in the Housing Portal. The deadline to register is April 5, 2021 at 6 p.m. CDT. Students register by logging into the Housing Portal and completing the 2021-2022 Housing Registration.

All students who plan to enroll in courses at Vanderbilt for the fall 2021 semester must complete the housing registration. Students do not select any housing during the housing registration process. Completion of the Housing Registration permits students to participate in future housing assignment processes.

Students who register after the deadline will lose a year of priority (1 point) in the housing assignment process.

Housing Options

Vanderbilt offers upper-division students three different types of on-campus housing:  Residential Colleges, Living Learning Communities (LLC’s), and Traditional Upper-Division Housing.

  • Residential Colleges: Designed to expand on the experience provided to students on the Ingram Commons, Vanderbilt has four upper-division residential colleges – E. Bronson Ingram College, Moore College, Nicholas S. Zeppos College, and Warren College.  Each college is led by a live-in Faculty Head of College who is responsible for the programmatic vision and creating an environment where Vanderbilt’s core beliefs are manifest.
  • Living Learning Communities (LLC’s): These communities offer students with special interests the opportunity to interact with faculty members and live together in residence halls with structured learning environments.  Interested students must complete a separate application and participate in an admissions process.
  • Traditional Upper-Division Housing: Comprised of traditional singles, doubles, suites, and apartments, Vanderbilt offers a variety of traditional housing options for students.  Students are welcome to pursue options that best meet their individual needs.

In all group living processes (doubles, suites, and apartments), students form roommate groups with friends of their choice during each process.  Students must have a roommate group equal in size to the room type they are pursuing in order to be eligible for that specific process.  For example, in order to be considered for a 6-person apartment, students must have a group of six students.

Room Types

Vanderbilt University offers a wide variety of housing. Therefore, it is important that students study this guide carefully in order to make intelligent and well-informed decisions. Room types include:

  • Traditional single and double rooms (one room for sleeping/living)
  • Suites with convenience kitchens for six students (all single bedrooms)
  • Suites with convenience kitchens for five students (all single bedrooms)
  • Suites with convenience kitchens for four students (all single bedrooms)
  • Lodges with full kitchens for 10 students (all single bedrooms)
  • Studio-style apartments with full kitchens for two students
  • One-bedroom apartments with full kitchens for two students (shared double bedroom)
  • Two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens for three students (one single bedroom and one shared double bedroom)
  • Two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens for four students (two shared double bedrooms)
  • Three-bedroom apartments with full kitchens for six students (three shared double bedrooms)

Students are encouraged to visit the Residence Halls section on the OHARE website for specific information about each hall as well as photos and video tours.  Due to COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, in-person residence hall tours are not available.

Seniority and Points

All housing assignment processes, excluding Living Learning Communities (LLC’s) and the Housing Waitlist, utilize a seniority-driven, random selection (a lottery).  Rising fourth-year students or greater have 4 points, rising third-year students have 3 points, and rising second-year students have 2 points. Ties in points are broken utilizing random selection.

Students are welcome to participate in any process for which they are eligible.  All group living processes (doubles, suites, and apartments) utilize a seniority-driven, random selection taking the point average of all members of the roommate group with ties in point average broken via random selection.  As a result, groups with a higher point average have a greater chance of success in each of the processes.  For successful groups, those with higher point averages select their spaces before groups with lower point averages.

In the single room process, students are welcome to apply as an individual applicant, or they can form a hallmate group with up to three (3) additional single room applicants.  Point average is utilized for hallmate groups.  Students/groups with more points/higher point averages have a greater chance of success in the process.  For successful students/groups, those with more points/higher point average select their rooms before those with fewer points/point average.

Specific details for each process are included in the subsequent sections.

Procedural Fairness

No student is favored over any other. All processes treat all students equally so that every student has an equal opportunity to pursue the housing of their choice. Procedural fairness is ensured through a random selection process, referred to by students as the lottery.

There are distinct random selections for every type of accommodation offered. The only exceptions are the Living Learning Communities for which students submit specific applications. Those applications are considered by committees.

NOTE: Procedural fairness guarantees equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. For example, the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are procedurally fair—all tickets have an equal chance of winning; however, the outcomes are not equal—only some ticket buyers win millions.

Likewise, in the housing assignment process, each student has equal chances in the random selection processes, but some students are successful while others are not.

Our housing facilities vary widely in age, construction, location, type, room sizes, finishes, and many other attributes. As a consequence, Vanderbilt cannot guarantee students that they will be assigned to the housing that they most prefer or that is “equal” to another. However, all campus housing is suitable for academic, social, and personal growth and success at Vanderbilt. All students who engage in the housing assignment process will be assigned a room on campus unless authorized by the Director of Housing Assignments (or designee) to live off-campus.

Student Accountability

Students are solely responsible for understanding the policies and procedures of the housing assignment process and meeting all deadlines.

Housing Gender Designations

In general, the university designates buildings, floors, suites, apartments, and lodges by gender. All students, regardless of gender, have a roughly proportionate opportunity to be assigned to the various types of accommodation on campus.

Gender-Inclusive/Mixed Gender Housing Options

In order to meet student demand and to recognize the complexities around sex and gender identity, students can form roommate groups with other student/s of their choice regardless of legal sex or gender identity in the residential colleges returning resident process and all suite/apartment processes. Students will self-select their own roommates.  Unless in mutual agreement, no student will be assigned to a space with a roommate of the opposite gender.

In the residential colleges (E. Bronson Ingram College, Moore College, Nicholas S. Zeppos College, and Warren College), floors and suites have no gender designations. That is, students of all gender identities will live on the same floors and they may – if they choose – live in the same suites. Traditional double rooms are single gender only. Community bathrooms where fully enclosed stalls are not available will be designated, and students will be asked to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender.

A number of floors in Lupton and Stapleton Houses will offer an equal number of double rooms for women and for men with bathrooms designated, and students will be asked to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender.

The second floor of McGill Hall will offer rooms for women and for men with bathrooms designated, and students will be asked to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender. The third and fourth floors of McGill Hall will offer rooms for women and for men with all gender bathrooms.

McTyeire International House floors will be mixed gender. Students will be assigned spaces within their language community. Students will be asked to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender.

The Office of Housing and Residential Experience knows that each person has their own specific needs and comfort levels. Alison Matarese, Director of Housing Assignments (pronouns: she/her/hers), can help guide you through the housing assignment process to find the housing option that works best for you.

Fall 2021 Study Abroad, Out-of-Town HOD Capstone, or Out-of-Town Internship Participants

Students who intend to study in a direct or indirect study abroad program, or participate in a HOD Capstone or an out-of-town internship during the fall 2021 semester are eligible to participate in the housing assignment process. We encourage those students who have applied to a study abroad program, HOD Capstone, or for an out-of-town internship, but are uncertain as to their status or their participation, to take part in the selection of traditional single and double room accommodations only. Students should NOT participate in suite/apartment processes. Students who select spaces in group living accommodations will not have these spaces held for them while they are away for the fall 2021 semester. Once students cancel their housing, the space will be assigned to another student.

Students who commit to participate in a Global Education Office (GEO) study abroad program or an out-of-town HOD Capstone will be contacted by the Office of Housing Assignments after program commit deadlines to confirm their participation and cancel their fall 2021 housing assignment.

Students who plan to participate in out-of-town internships and non-Vanderbilt study abroad programs must contact the Office of Housing Assignments via email at least sixty (60) days prior to the start of the fall 2021 semester to request a cancellation of their fall 2020 housing assignment.

Students participating in study abroad programs, out-of-town HOD Capstone, or out-of-town internships during the fall 2021 semester who return to Vanderbilt for spring 2022 will be required to live on-campus. Spring 2022 housing applications for returning students will be available during the fall 2021 semester (dates TBA). Returning students will be assigned to available housing for the spring 2022 semester.