As a residential college, Cornell requires students to live in campus housing. Students who believe that they meet one or more of the exceptions to the residence requirement can refer to the off-campus approval information.

In addition to the process that allows for students who meet an approved exception to the residence requirement, each year the Dean of Students allows a portion of the senior class to live off campus through participation in a lottery. This number depends on a variety of factors including students permitted to live off campus for the reasons listed above, students participating in off-campus studies, and projected enrollment for the next academic year.

Dates and times for the off-campus lottery

Off-campus lottery forms will be accepted from Monday, January 19, 2015 until Wednesday, January 21, 2015. The Residence Life Office is open from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and is located in the first floor of Old Sem.

Eligibility for participation in the off-campus lottery

To be eligible to participate, students must have senior status in the room selection process; this is NOT necessarily senior status in terms of academic classification (refer to our information on room selection status to see how that is determined). Those individuals who will be seniors next fall who will be on off-campus trips first or second semester can apply for the off campus lottery. This is not a first-come, first-served system; therefore, drawing on Monday morning does not increase a student's chances of being permitted to live off campus. Students with questions about their eligibility should check with the Residence Life Office prior to participation in the lottery.

Students signing up for the lottery have the option of signing up as an individual or two, three or four eligible students as a group.

Group drawing information

Students interested in going through the off-campus lottery as a group should note the following:

  1. All members of the group must be eligible for the off-campus housing lottery (as detailed above).
  2. Only one number will be drawn for the group.
  3. The members of the group must decide who will draw the number and sign the Off-Campus Housing Lottery Group Form (PDF), giving permission to that group member to draw the group's number.
  4. Depending on the number drawn, all those signing up together as a group will either be granted or denied permission to live off campus.
  5. No more than four (4) eligible students per group.

Additional information to consider

  • Students who are granted off-campus approval through the lottery will be required to participate in a "Good Neighbor" program. Details will be provided in the off-campus confirmation e-mail.
  • Students who live off campus through the lottery are required to participate in the College meal plan (minimum 7 meals per week).
  • Living off campus may affect your eligibility for student financial assistance (refer to our information on financial aid for more details).
  • Students are advised not to sign a lease until they obtain written authorization from the College to live off campus.
  • Those students approved for off-campus living through the off-campus lottery are committed to this assignment unless they have communicated with the Residence Life Office in writing by February 20, 2015.
  • As additional off-campus assignments become available, they will be offered to the next person on the waitlist.
  • Students who decline their off campus assignment after the February deadline will be required to participate in Late Numbers Draw. Students participating in late draw may not select a room, nor may their roommate(s) select a room, until all other students have selected a room.