General Process Questions – On-Campus Housing
When will I know my assignment?
Housing Assignments will be released in mid-July. All students will then be required to go to Campus Express and confirm or cancel their housing assignments. If you cancel your housing assignment, you will also be required to fill out an additional form.
I was already assigned a room; will I be able to keep the same room/roommate?
As a returning second-year student who completed the assignment process, you will have housing on campus. The University has provided guidance that all residents will have their own private bedroom (no shared bedroom spaces) and no more than 6 students will be assigned to the same bathroom. In order to follow these guidelines, our Housing Occupancy team is currently identifying spaces where students are sharing a bedroom and where those students can be relocated. For our returning undergraduates, this means that it is very likely that you or your roommate(s) will need to relocate to a different assignment on campus in order to adhere to de-densifying protocols. We will make every effort to honor mutual roommate requests by assigning you in either the same suite, floor or building. We will also do our best to honor Program Community requests.
My roommates and I each have separate bedrooms, so will we be able to keep our assignment?
In order to meet de-densifying protocols, even students in residences where everyone has their own bedrooms may be relocated to another apartment or floor. However, we will make every effort to assign mutual roommates in the same suite, floor or building, when possible.
I am a freshman/first-year transfer student and provided my preferences regarding room/roommate/building. What does this new policy mean for me?
As an incoming first-year/transfer student, you will have housing on campus. Our Housing Occupancy team is currently working on assigning residents to spaces to follow the guidance provided by the University. This means that all students will have their own private bedroom (no shared bedroom spaces) and no more than 6 students will be assigned to the same bathroom. Please note that our housing inventory includes suite-style spaces, which entails individual bedrooms (no more than six) with a common area and bathroom only accessible to suite residents. If you are assigned to a suite you will have suitemates, but you will not share a bedroom. We will make every effort to honor mutual roommate requests by assigning you in either the same suite, floor or building, when possible. We will also do our best to honor Program Community requests.
Will all the College Houses maintain their current configurations as first-year only, second/third/ fourth year-only and four-year houses?
Given the necessity to de-densify our College Houses, it is likely that first-year students will be located in all the College Houses, including the high-rises which are currently reserved for second through fourth-year students.
What if I arrive late to campus? Can I keep my room assignment?
If you are unable to arrive on campus until after the first day of classes, you will be able to keep your room assignment, but you will have to pay for the entire semester, and you will also need to notify Residential Services of your arrival time by emailing email@example.com.
If you are unable to arrive until Spring Semester, you will forfeit your assignment for fall and will have to reapply for a room for spring. Given the need to continue de-densifying the campus, we can’t guarantee that a room will be available.
General Process Question – Off Campus and Sansom Place East (SPE)
I am a third/fourth-year student who applied to live on campus, what are my options?
Third- and fourth-year students will be relocated to Sansom Place East or to off-campus properties. For both Sansom Place East and off-campus locations, the rates for the 2020-2021 Academic Year will be the same as for students who are living on campus - $4320 for Fall Semester and $5507 for Spring Semester. The lower rate for Fall Semester reflects the fact that students will leave campus at Thanksgiving Break. This rate will include utilities (heat, electricity, water, basic cable, internet, and laundry). All off-campus locations will be located within walking distance to campus.
I had room assignment on campus. Is it certain that I will still have a place to live when I return in the fall?
We will make every attempt to provide you with an assignment, but given the requirements for de-densifying campus, you may not get a room similar to the one you were previously assigned or your first preference in room style.
What type of off-campus housing will be available to me?
Available room types are listed below. All rooms will have basic furnishings.
- Private bedroom in a multi-occupancy apartment/house (shared bathroom, shared kitchen, shared living room) in an off-campus property.
- Private bedroom in an apartment/house (private bedroom, bath, kitchen) in an off-campus property
- Dorm Style (private bedroom, bathroom, microwave and microfridge) in an off-campus property
- Private bedroom in Sansom Place East (shared bathroom)
- Private bedroom in Sansom Place East (shared bathroom and kitchen).
Do I have any choice about which type of housing I am assigned?
In order to help with the relocation, third and fourth-year students will be sent a brief survey to indicate their preference in available living options. Please note – although we will be asking you to rank your preferences, for individuals who were assigned rooms without kitchens it is highly likely your assigned off-campus location will also not include a kitchen.We will make every effort to honor mutual roommate requests by assigning roommates in the same apartment, house or building. We will also do our best to honor the preferences students indicate in the survey.
Given the range of options why is everything the same price?
The University has negotiated nine-month master leases which include utilities for the same price that residents would pay had they been able to live on campus. This mirrors on-campus living options which also vary in size and type but are identical in price for Academic Year 2020-2021.
I’m a third/fourth-year student and it is important to me that I live on campus. Is there an appeals process?
Due to de-densification protocols there are a limited number of beds available on campus. The University is leasing additional space off campus to make housing available to third-and fourth-year undergraduate students who applied for on-campus housing. It is unlikely that we will have surplus beds available. Students who have been placed off campus can request a room change through My Home At Penn after assignments are released. Please be aware that room changes will be limited and based on availability. We are also committed to ensuring that all highly aided undergraduate students who previously applied for housing are accommodated, regardless of their class year.
If I have an issue with my off-campus apartment that the University has arranged for me, who do I contact?
Once you are assigned a location, more information specific to your residence will be provided.
If I decide to move off campus on my own, is there an office that can help me?
I did not go through the assignments process; can I still apply for University Housing?
No, the Residential Services is not accepting new applications. Off-Campus Services will be happy to answer any questions you might have, such as leasing and tenant rights.
I was on the waitlist for a room assignment. What should I do?
Due to the need to de-densify the campus, we will not be able to provide housing to students on the waitlist. You should look for housing off campus. Off-Campus Services will be happy to answer any questions you might have and can provide a link to available rentals in the area.
I am a graduate student and was assigned a room in Sansom Place East. Will I be able to keep that assignment?
Current residents of Sansom Place East (SPE) who have completed the assignment process for next year, will have housing in SPE. The University has provided guidance that all residents will have their own private bedroom (no shared bedroom spaces) although you may share a bathroom with another resident. Current residents may have to relocate within SPE in order to adhere to de-densifying protocols. We will make every effort to honor mutual roommate requests by assigning students on the same floor.
Cancellation/Do Not Want to Come to Campus
I’m a first-year student and want to commute. Do I have that option?
Yes. The first-year housing requirement will be waived for students whose permanent residence is within 50 miles of campus and who are living with a parent or guardian. We will provide access to a form for students who are interested in commuting that will release them from their assignments. We will send that information out to students when they receive their assignment in July.
I do not want to return to campus at all because I am concerned about health issues, do I have that option?
Yes, you have the option not to return to campus and take all your classes on-line. If you are not living on campus, you will not be responsible for housing or dining fees. It is important that you let Residential Services know of your change of plans as soon as you are provided instructions on how to do so.
I’m a returning student; can I cancel my housing?
Yes, returning students are able to cancel. If you cancel your housing before the end of July, you will not be charged a cancellation fee. Later in the summer, fees may apply. Instructions on how to cancel your housing will be forthcoming.
I want to switch into a new room/building. When can I make that request?
If you need to change your assignment for a medical accommodation, please review the information on our website. If you want to move into another space for a reason outside of a medical accommodation and are a first-year or transfer student, you will be able to submit a room change form through My Home At Penn starting in early September. If you are a returning student, you will be able to submit a room change form through My Home At Penn after you get your assignment. Please be aware that room changes will be limited and based on availability.
I was assigned an on-campus apartment with three other roommates. They got to remain in our apartment, and I was relocated. Can I switch my room with one of my original roommates who would prefer to be relocated?
You will be able to submit a room change form through My Home At Penn after you get your assignment. Please be aware, however, that room changes will be limited and based on availability.
Why are rooms only one rate now?
To maintain occupancy protocols based on health guidelines students had to be relocated into accomodations that had private bed spaces, many of which were in the apartment-style rooms that are at the higher rate. Because students were assigned the rooms, rather than choosing them, we are charging all rooms at the lower rate no matter the room type for this Academic Year only.
Since the semester is ending early, will my total bill be lower?
Yes. All rooms will be charged $4320 for Fall Semester and $5507 for Spring Semester. The lower rate for Fall Semester reflects the fact that students will leave campus at Thanksgiving Break.
Will this impact my financial aid?
The cost of on-campus housing is included in your total cost of attendance and is factored into your financial aid eligibility just like any other semester.
I’m concerned about the cost of living off-campus. Is there assistance to help cover rent?
If you are aid-eligible and pay rent off-campus, standard off-campus living expenses are included in your total cost of attendance and are factored into your financial aid eligibility.
How will I get my belongings that were stored in June?
For students who are living on campus, stored items will be returned to residents’ rooms prior to their move-in. Students who will be living off-campus will be directed to a centralized location on campus to retrieve their belongings.
Can I stay on campus between Thanksgiving and the start of Spring Semester?
We are encouraging students to return home during the semester break. However we recognize that some students may need to stay on campus during the break. Students who remain on campus may need to relocate for the break period and a daily rate fee may apply. More, information on how to apply to stay on campus during the break will be forthcoming.
I want to remain connected to my College House community. What are my opportunities?
Please reach out to College House and Academic Services.
Why did the University make the decision to change the on-campus housing structure?
These changes were made in order to follow guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding best practices for health and safety for residents living in housing facilities such as our College Houses.
Is it safe to live in a College House?
Through dedensification, enhanced cleaning protocols, the requirement to wear masks and restrictions on gatherings, Penn has made every effort to reduce the spread of COVID 19 within our residences. All community members are also responsible for adhering to the Social Compact (link) to make campus as safe as possible given the on-going nature of the pandemic.
How should I plan for move-in?
We expect to extend Move-In over several days beginning on August 21. All students will need to arrive on an assigned date/time. Students will be advised of their assigned move-in date and time. There will be an opportunity to change an assigned move-in time. Residents will be allowed at least one guest to assist them in moving into their residences. More information about Move-In will be sent to you in July.