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, the Dean of Students may authorize a small 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. Because of these reasons, the final decision on whether an off-campus lottery will be held will not be made until the start of Block 4 each year.

Dates and times for the off-campus lottery

Off-campus lottery forms will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. on Friday, January 28, 2022 until Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at noon . 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 with other 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.

Additional information to consider

  • Students who are granted off-campus approval through the lottery may 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). We strongly advise you to speak with your Financial Assistance counselor prior to signing the off-campus form.
  • Students are advised not to sign a lease until they obtain written authorization from the College that they are approved to live off-campus.  Students who choose to live off-campus without receiving approval will still be billed for a room on 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 March 1, 2022 their plans to live on campus instead.
  • If 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 March 1 deadline will be required to participate in the Late Numbers Draw. Students participating in the late draw may not select a room, nor may their roommate(s) select a room, until all other students have selected a room.
  • Refer to off-campus resources for links to local classified ads for rentals.