As a residential college, Cornell requires students to live in campus housing. Students who intend not to live on campus must either meet one of the exceptions of the residency policy or must go through the off-campus lottery. Exceptions to the residence policy must be requested through the Residence Life Office. Students who are approved to live off campus may be required to resubmit documentation annually.
Exceptions to the residency policy
The following students may request exception to the residency policy and will need to complete a Request for Exception to the Residency Policy (PDF):
- Students who live at the primary, permanent residence of their parent or guardian that is in or very near Mount Vernon.
- Married students.
- Students who have their child or children living with them.
- Students who have lived in college housing the equivalent of eight fall and spring semesters (supporting documentation is required for transfer students).
- Students who have served in the armed forces.
- Students who are 23 years of age or older by September 1 for that academic year.
- Students who have been authorized to live off campus when sufficient space is not available to house all students in the residence halls. Seniors are given preference through the off-campus lottery. If spaces remain, a junior off-campus housing lottery may be conducted.
- Students with special medical or dietary needs, as verified by a doctor's completion of the Documentation of Medical/Psychological Conditions form and recommended by the Director of Student Health Services or the Director of Counseling. The Director of Residence Life makes the final decision.
For current students: All exceptions to the residency policy must be requested through the Residence Life Office by Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Eligible students who do not submit a request by the deadline will be expected to live on campus for the entire 2013-14 academic year.
For incoming new and transfer students: All exceptions will be explored during as a part of the admissions process to the College.
Any student approved to live off campus is required to maintain his or her local address with the Office of the Registrar (the process and deadlines will be provided by Residence Life). This address must reflect the student’s place of residence while attending classes at Cornell College. Any student whose local address changes during the academic year must update that address with the Office of the Registrar and must notify Residence Life immediately; in these cases, the student may need to reapply for an exemption to the residence policy.
To ensure sufficient space for those students required to live in College housing, the College reserves the right to house any student who meets one of the above criteria after all other students are housed. Decisions regarding space availability for the upcoming academic year would likely be made in late July.
Each year, the Dean of Students allows a portion of the senior class to live off campus through participation in a lottery. Refer to our information on the off-campus lottery for details.
Housing exemptions are provided for the academic year only. Students who have been given an exemption must resubmit their request annually (during the room selection process held each spring). They must also be prepared to resubmit updated documentation as requested by the Residence Life Office.
Financial aid information
Students who choose to live off campus will have their institutional, need based, financial aid adjusted proportionally to their actual college charges. The type of institutional aid that will be affected will be the Cornell grant and any endowed scholarships that are awarded based upon need or replacing a Cornell grant. All academic, fine arts, federal or state grants, scholarships, or loans will not be adjusted.
The following is a chart of off-campus adjustments for 2013-14:
Housing & Meal Plan % of Need Based Institutional Aid Awarded
Off-campus/full meal plan 90%
Off-campus/7-meal plan 84%
Exceptions to the above policy are:
- Students enrolled in two or less blocks.
- Students who have been granted off-campus permission due to medical conditions.
- Students living with parents (a separate budget figure is used to calculate financial aid for students living at home).
- Other exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The staff in the Financial Assistance Office would be happy to do a comparison of financial aid living off campus vs. living on campus to assist with students with their decision. Please contact the Financial Assistance Office at (319) 895-4216 (or x4216 from an on-campus telephone) with any questions or concerns in regard to this policy.
Off-campus housing resources
Students approved to find off-campus housing may refer to our off-campus resources for suggestions on choosing a place to live.