The following information will help you prepare for the 2020-2021 academic year spring closing (most information is also applicable to any student who is checking out of a room mid-year). More information will be added as it becomes available. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please contact our office.

Closing dates

Students must vacate their residence hall room at the time indicated:

  • Thursday, May 13, 2021: All non-graduating students must be checked out of their room for summer break by 11:00 a.m. Students staying in summer housing for the entire summer will stay in their current room until they receive additional directions from Residence Life (learn more about summer housing options).
  • Sunday, May 16, 2021: All residence halls close and all students must be checked out of their rooms by 5:00 p.m.

Late Stay Requests

The Residence Life office occasionally gets requests for students wanting to stay later than the dates listed above. Selected students deemed essential for closing the residence halls and/or for Commencement are permitted to check out by the second closing. In each of these cases, the supervising department will cover all housing and meal plan expenses for the student(s).

Students not with a sponsoring department should expect that the above dates reflect the latest that they can check out of the residence halls. Staff members from housekeeping, facilities and residence life are preparing for commencement and are unable to accommodate late stay requests from individuals not with a sponsoring department.

If extenuating circumstances exist that the student believes would warrant a later move-out, then the student should contact their appropriate assistant director by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021. If an exception is made, the student would be charged a daily late stay fee for housing expenses; the student would not have an active meal plan and so would need to pay out of pocket to eat in the dining hall. Students should make summer housing leases with the above dates in mind.

A resident who has a sibling graduating this year from Cornell College will be approved to stay until 5:00 p.m. on Commencement Sunday; however, that student will not have an active meal plan and so would need to pay out of pocket to eat in the dining hall after breakfast on Thursday.  Students seeking approval to stay late to attend a sibling's graduation should contact their appropriate assistant director by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Checkout procedures

Final checkout instructions will be shared with students during their floor meetings early in Block 8.

To ensure a smooth checkout, please refer the following checklist:

  1. Plan Ahead: Due to COVID students will be allowed up to two guests to assist them with moving out of their room. Guests will be limited to one-hour inside the residence halls from the time they arrive on-campus. Please discuss your move-out plans ahead of time with those who may be assisting you. If you have an online course or a hybrid course that is done meeting in-person, that may influence the date you choose to move-out.
  2. Pack Early: With limited guests and time for them to be in the residence halls, please start packing early.  Waiting until the last minute will only create more stress and provide less time for your guests to actually help you move out. Students participating in Commencement are strongly encouraged to be packed prior to the ceremony.
  3. Sign up: Please use the scheduling sheet on your RAs door to indicate the time you plan to check out of your room.
  4. Remove personal items: Students must remove all personal belongings from their residence hall prior to checking out their room. These items may not be left in the hallways or other common areas of the building in order to check out and remove later. All personal furniture and appliances, including refrigerators, must be removed from campus by the student.  Personal furniture and/or appliances left inside or outside a building will result in a common damage charge to cover cost of disposal/recycling. Because they contain harmful chemicals, refrigerators may not be disposed of in landfills (and consequently cannot be left in trash closets or in dumpsters). Organizations that can recycle refrigerators and televisions include Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, CSG Appliance Recycling and Best Buy (Best Buy currently accepts many televisions but does not accept refrigerators); many organizations charge a small disposal fee to drop-off these items, and a slightly larger fee to arrange picking them up prior to your leaving campus. If you have food or other items in the community refrigerator or cupboards in your building, please remove those items prior to checkout.
  5. Remove trash: Take all garbage to the dumpster provided outside of the buildings (residents may be charged for garbage piled in hallways, in the garbage rooms, left in student rooms, or left outside dumpsters).
  6. Remove tape: Completely remove tape and other adhesives from walls, doors and windows (tape removal is the most common damage charge at checkout).
  7. Rearrange furniture: The furniture in the room should be in the same condition and arrangement as when you checked into the room. All college furniture must be in the room and correctly assembled. Drawers and cupboards should be emptied and wiped down. Residents with modular furniture will need to return the modular furniture to its original configuration. Extra bed pegs used for lofting/bunking/stacking should be returned to the RA Office.
  8. Clean: You must wipe off all furniture tops, drawers, shelving and window sills. Also, you must vacuum/sweep and, if necessary, mop your floor before checking out.
  9. Secure your room: Close and lock all windows and your room door prior to departure.
  10. Return keys: To help create a contactless key return students will use an express checkout envelop to return their keys. Envelopes will be distributed to students during the third week of Block 8. Students moving out prior to then can contact to request an envelope. Please check the completed items on the form, sign the envelope, and seal your keys inside. Seal envelopes should be returned to the key drop-off slot next to the south entrance (Cole Library side) of Old Sem.  


A limited supply of boxes will be available for free outside the Mail and Service Center. Though a supply is available, there will not be enough to meet every student's needs. As such, students are still encouraged to explore other options (like asking family to bring some from home or using reusable plastic totes).

Dumpsters and donation drop-off

The College will place additional dumpsters around campus. All trash closets will be locked when these dumpsters are in place.  Once the trash closest are locked all trash should be taken outside to the dumpsters. In addition, the College will designate locations to take items to be donated (clothes, food, etc.).

Dumpsters are tentatively scheduled to be placed in the following locations:

  • In P-lot to the west of Pfeiffer Hall
  • In H-lot to the north of Smith Hall
  • In O-lot outside of Merner Hall
  • In O-lot outside the service entrance to Olin Hall
  • In M-lot outside the lower level entrance to Russell Hall
  • In front of Bowman-Carter Hall

A large donation truck will be available in front of Olin Hall beginning on Monday, May 3 through Sunday, May 16.  For a list of acceptable items that can be donated, please refer to Goodwill of the Heatland's website.

Please remember to remove all items from the residence halls. Trash should be taken to the dumpsters and items for donation should be taken to the donation truck. At no time should anyone enter dumpsters on campus to retrieve discarded items. Residents of a building may be charged if items (including trash) are left in the halls.

Late check-out

Only graduating seniors, summer housing residents staying for the entire summer (this does not include 10-week summer residents) and students who are authorized by the Residence Life Office may stay past the initial residence hall closing deadline (please refer to our list of important dates for those specific dates and times). Students who do not move out within the appropriate timeframe will be assessed a $25.00 fine for failing to follow checkout procedures and an additional $25.00 fine for each hour past the deadline.

In-season student-athletes approved to stay late should expect to check-out by 11:00 a.m. the day following the completion of their last competition unless other arrangements are communicated by their coach after conferring with the Director of Residence Life.  If the student-athlete is a graduating senior and their last competition ends prior to Commencement, the student-athlete would be permitted to stay in housing until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 16.  If the student-athlete is not graduating, but the day after the last competition falls on Commencement day then the check-out deadline will be adjusted to 5:00 p.m. to avoid any potential conflict with Commencement activities.

Storage (including storage pods)

It is each student's responsibility to arrange for the storage of their belongings during the summer. All residence hall storage rooms will be emptied over the summer. Storage of personal property on campus over the summer is not possible.  There are a number of storage units located in the surrounding area. We recommend that several students share a storage unit to help maximize space usage and save money. The availability of storage units is limited in the area, so do not hesitate to coordinate storage early.

Also, Cornell College occasionally receives requests from students who want to use commercial storage pods as a means of moving their things in or out. The College can permit a limited number of storage pods to be stationed on campus. Requests will be honored in the order in which they are received. Refer to our information on storage pods for complete details.

Damage to student rooms

Professional staff from Facilities Services and Residence Life will inspect student rooms after the halls close to determine necessary repairs and assess damage and cleaning fees as appropriate. Room damages are billed to student accounts through the Division of Business and Enterprise Services. Refer to the list of approximate damage charges as determined by Facilities Services. Costs include materials, labor, and overhead.

RAs and apartment/house managers are not responsible for assessing damage charges, nor can they provide assurances that a student will not be charged for damages. The best assurance is to return the room to its original condition.  Students concerned about potential charges should contract their ADRL prior to moving out.

Damage to common areas

Residents of a floor or residence hall are responsible for damage done to the common areas of their residence hall. A common area is one generally used by, or available to, all residents of the hall. These areas include, but are not necessarily limited to, kitchens, lounge areas, bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, and stairways. If damage occurs to property located on a floor or in a common area, the Residence Life Office will attempt to determine who is responsible for the damage. In the event that an individual cannot be identified, the costs of the repair/replacement will be assessed to residents of the floor and building involved. Residence hall damages are billed to student accounts through the Division of Business and Enterprise Services.

Excessive cleaning cost from garbage and furniture left behind in the hallways, storage rooms and lounges is considered common area damage and will be charged to all members of the floor. As noted above, refrigerators cannot be left in trash closets or in dumpsters. A disposal fee will be charged to residents for any refrigerator left in a trash closet or in a dumpster.

Parking during move-out

On Wednesday, April 28, 2021:

  • Parking spaces immediately behind Merner and Olin (O-lot north row) will close to accommodate a dumpster and truck for donations for discarding of your belongings. If you are parked in these spaces, please move your vehicle to any other open student lot on campus by 12:00 p.m. on this date.

On Sunday, May 9, 2021:

  • The remaining parking spaces behind Merner and Olin (O-lot south side) will close to allow for move-out traffic flow throughout the week. If you are parked in these spaces, please move your vehicle to any other open student lot on campus by 6:00 p.m. on this date.

On Friday, May 14, 2021:

  • All student vehicles must be removed from Russell Hall and the area just west of Pauley-Rorem (M-lot) by 6:00 p.m.
  • Those vehicles may be moved to any other open student lot on campus.
  • The Russell Hall parking lot will temporarily reopen from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, and from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 16. 
  • During these times only vehicles with a move-out pass (obtained from Residence Life staff) will be allowed to use this lot (to help ensure only one vehicle per family is in the lot at a given time.
  • During these times students and families may use the lot for pick-ups/drop-offs in the circle, and for actively loading their vehicles to check-out. General parking in this lot during this time is not permitted.  Because students are expected to be packed in advance, students will have 30 minutes to load their vehicle and vehicles may not be left unattended.

On Saturday, May 15, 2021:

  • All student vehicles must be removed from A-Lot (North of Ash Park) by 6:00 p.m.
  • All student vehicles must be removed from S-Lot (front lot of Sports Center) by 6:00 p.m.
  • If you are parked in either of these lots, please move your vehicle by 6 p.m. on this date to D-lot (near Facilities), J-lot (Smith Hall Lot), F-lot (Along College Blvd N) or E-lot (Across from Armstrong House).

By Monday, May 17, 2021:

  • Summer student parking will only be available in D-Lot (by Facilities Services building).  Please park in the North row of parking spaces.
  • Students who have already registered their vehicle for parking this academic year don't need to register again.
  • All students staying on campus over the summer that will be bringing an unregistered vehicle to campus must register their vehicle with Campus Safety for summer parking (learn more about summer parking).

General tips and expectations related to parking during move-out:

  • Parking is not permitted in any of the following areas: (1) on the grass, with the exception of a designated area in front of Pfeiffer, Dows and Tarr; (2) in fire lanes; or (3) in reserved parking spaces or parking spaces for persons with disabilities without proper authorization.
  • 15-minute parking spaces are for use for 15 minutes only.
  • Do not leave vehicles unlocked at any time.
  • Do not leave items next to your vehicle or open rooms unattended.
  • Keep serial numbers and descriptions (or pictures) of valuable items in a safe place.
  • Parking or driving is not permitted on the Ped Mall (except in designated areas near Bowman-Carter Hall).
  • All students leaving campus must take their vehicle with them. No summer storage/parking is permitted. Any vehicle left abandoned will be towed off campus at the owner's expense.

Meal plans

The final meal on the academic year meal plan is the breakfast service on Thursday, May 13. Starting with the lunch service on Thursday, May 13 through the brunch service on Sunday, May 16 the only students who will be permitted to use their meal plan are those for whom a department is paying for their meals (graduating seniors and those non-graduating seniors who are working for a department to help with Commencement and/or closing). Students for whom a department is paying for their meals will be restricted to one meal per meal period; no carry-out options will be available.

Summer residents and other students who are on campus are welcome to attend meals after the meal plan has turned off, but will be expected to pay out of pocket at each service they attend.

Flex dollars that come with the 14 meal plan will expire at 2:00 p.m. on the last Wednesday of Block 8. Declining balance dollars that a student adds to their own card will remain on the account and roll over to next year. Users who register their meal plan account can check their flex dollars balance.

Hilltop Café:

  • Beginning with dinner on Wednesday, May 12 the dining hall will switch to special hours through dinner on Saturday, May 15. The only meal served on Sunday, May 10 will be the special graduation brunch. Refer to Dining Services website for the block break schedule.

Zamora's Market:

Computer access

The Law Hall computer lab will close at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 13. Refer to Information Technology's website for more details. The Cole Library will have modified hours during Commencement Weekend. Refer to the library's website for hours.

Getting to and from the airport

If you will be traveling and don't have a car, you can refer to a list of transportation suggestions compiled by the Thomas Commons Information Desk. You will find the College's electronic need a ride board as well as information on commercial transportation opportunities.