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Upperclass Housing Assignments

Vanderbilt University offers a wide variety of housing options for returning upperclass students. The assignment process is based upon three fundamental principles: choice, seniority, and procedural fairness. As a result, the upperclass assignment process is a complex one. It is important to understand the rules and procedures governing this process in order to make intelligent and well-informed choices.

Personal Choice

The Upperclass assignment process is a system based upon personal choice. Generally speaking, upperclass undergraduate students select the rooms in which they will live. The selection process is a rule-governed process in which students compete on the basis of seniority. The University designates buildings, floors, suites, apartments, and lodges by gender so that men and women will have a roughly proportionate opportunity to be assigned to the various types of accommodations available on campus.


In the Upperclass housing assignment process, rising 4th year students select rooms before rising 3rd year students and rising 3rd year students select rooms before rising 2nd year students. For the purposes of the assignment process seniority is denoted by points; rising 4th year students are assigned 4 points, rising 3rd year students are assigned 3 points, and rising 2nd year students are assigned 2 points. Whether seeking rooms as individuals or as a group of friends, individuals or groups with greater points select rooms before those with lesser points.

Procedural Fairness

All housing assignment processes are procedurally fair. No student is favored over any other. That is, all processes treat all students equally so that every student has an equal opportunity to pursue the housing of her or his choice. Procedural fairness is insured through a random selection process, referred to by students as the “lottery.” There is a separate random selection for every type of accommodation offered. (The only exceptions are the Living Learning Communities for which students submit specific applications. Applications are considered by committees.)

NOTE: Procedural fairness guarantees equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. For example, the Powerball and MegaMillions lotteries are fair in that all tickets have an equal chance of winning. But the outcomes are not equal: only some ticket buyers win millions. Likewise in the housing assignment processes: some students get their first choice in housing while get their lesser choices. Our housing facilities vary widely in age, construction, location, type, room size, finishes, and many other qualities. As a consequence, Vanderbilt cannot guarantee students that they will be assigned to the housing that they most prefer. However, all campus housing is suitable for academic, social, and personal growth and success. And all students who engage in the assignment process will be assigned a room on campus unless authorized by the Director of Housing Assignments (or designee) to live off campus.


All returning, single, undergraduate students currently enrolled at Vanderbilt are eligible to register for housing and participate in the various assignment processes. Those eligible include:

  • returning students who are currently enrolled in study abroad programs through Vanderbilt’s Global Education Office
  • returning students currently on leave of absence
  • returning students who are currently living off campus, including Nashville residents.

Those ineligible include:

  • transfer students beginning in Fall 2017
  • students who have been readmitted to Vanderbilt and are returning for Fall 2017.

Students Participating in Study Abroad Programs or Internships:

Students who intend to study in a Vanderbilt study abroad program or participate in an internship outside of Davidson County during the Fall Semester 2017, but have not yet confirmed their plans, should participate in the random selection process.

Students who have applied to a study abroad program, but are uncertain as to their status or their participation, may take part only in the selection of single and double accommodations; they may not participate in the suite or apartment reservation or selection processes. Students who select a single or double room on campus and later decide to participate in a study abroad program must notify the Office of Housing and Residential Education, in writing, at least sixty (60) days prior to the start of the semester to request cancellation of their housing contracts.

Students participating in study abroad programs or internships during the Fall Semester of 2017 will be required to live on-campus during the Spring Semester of 2018, should they decide to return to the University. Returning students will be assigned to available housing on campus.

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