Housing Lottery Information

Off-Campus Boarder Lottery - Class of 2015
Application surveys open January 27 at 9 a.m. at my.Fairfield.edu
Application surveys close February 7 at 4 p.m. at my.Fairfield.edu
Students notified of release status February 21 at 4 p.m. via e-mail

Dear Parents and Members of the Class of 2015:

During the past few months, I heard from a number of students and families asking for clarification regarding the ability of Fairfield University students to live off campus, primarily at the beach. I want to take this opportunity, therefore, to summarize our policies and procedures in this regard and hopefully clarify any misconceptions or misunderstandings that may exist.

The full policy on Residency Requirements is set forth in the Student Handbook, which can be accessed online at www.fairfield.edu/studenthandbook. The following is a review of the most pertinent aspects regarding living off campus:

On-Campus Residency Requirement
Fairfield University guarantees the availability of University housing to all full-time undergraduate students who apply and are admitted as resident students for the duration of their undergraduate experience (i.e., all four years). Accordingly, resident students are required to live in University housing unless otherwise released from that obligation by the University. This policy has been a long-standing one, and Fairfield is fortunate among its peers to be able to guarantee the availability of student housing on campus. In order to do so, it requires a concurrent commitment on the part of students.

Requesting a Release to Live Off Campus
The two most common reasons students may request a release from their University housing obligation are to move home in order to commute or to live in an off-campus house or apartment, most commonly in the area of Fairfield beach. In either instance, the decision to grant a release of the University housing obligation is at the University's sole discretion. Releases are not automatic and should not be viewed as a simple formality. The University has invested significant resources in its housing offerings and services, and students will not be released in such a manner that results in vacancies or under-utilized facilities. Any student who fails to request a release or otherwise moves out of University housing without being granted a release will continue to be assigned a housing location on campus and billed accordingly. Refusal to move into housing does not remove the financial obligation.

Off-Campus Boarder Lottery
As part of the annual housing selection and assignment process, the Office of Residence Life will invite applications from students who wish to enter a lottery for release from University housing in order to live off campus the next year. In recent years and for the foreseeable future, this invitation has been and will be extended only to juniors who, if selected through the lottery, will live off campus as seniors. This truly is a lottery process, and there is no guarantee that a release will be granted. The number of students released during the lottery process varies from year to year based on the University's current and projected enrollments. Students who are not selected and offered releases during the lottery process are required to continue in University housing and will select from the various options available.

Do NOT Sign a Lease to Live Off-Campus
Unfortunately, every year some students feel pressured - by landlords, by peers, by "legend" - to seek and find an off-campus house before the lottery and release processes are conducted. In the worst cases, students and/or parents will actually sign leases for off-campus housing without any knowledge or confirmation that they will, in fact, be able to fulfill the terms of the lease, and will make significant up-front (non-refundable) payments to landlords. Do not sign a lease for off-campus housing while under obligation to live on campus in University housing. Sadly, there are students who ignore this recommendation and have found themselves losing significant deposits or paying double for housing in which they are not living. Signing a lease to live off campus has no bearing on the student's obligation to live in University housing, and the University will not grant releases to students on the basis of signing a lease. Any landlord who compels or pressures students into signing a lease prior to the lottery process is simply not someone with whom we recommend you want to enter a contractual relationship. If a student chooses to ignore the University's advice and is determined to sign a lease anyway, at the very least negotiate with the landlord and require that the lease be contingent upon being granted a release from University housing through the lottery process.

The residential experience at Fairfield is an integral component of students' undergraduate experience, education, and personal development. Living off campus can be an attractive option for some students, and the University is strongly committed to preserving this option for students. However, it is not the make-or-break Fairfield experience that unfortunately some perceive or claim it to be.

I hope I have provided you with useful information. Ultimately, our goal is to eliminate confusion or concerns later on so that students can spend time focusing on their academics and extracurricular pursuits rather than time spent on problems that can be avoided.

Please contact the Office of Residence Life with any additional questions you may have, and thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Karen Donoghue
Dean of Students

 

Beach House Occupancy Limitations
Students who are released through the lottery will be released in groups of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 people (depending on how students choose to group themselves when applying). With this in mind, students are responsible for confirming, and are expected by Fairfield University to confirm, the number of occupants that may legally occupy a house. In general, the legal limits set by the Town of Fairfield are essentially four (4) unrelated individuals per dwelling for houses in the beach area, and five (5) unrelated individuals per dwelling for houses outside the beach area. If students have any questions or are not sure about occupancy limits, please contact the Fairfield Health Department at (203) 256-3020. Observing these important occupancy limitations is not only a legal requirement, but is in place for health and safety purposes.

If you have any questions about the lottery process, lease signing, or other matters, please contact the Office of Residence Life at ext. 4215 or stop by the office in the Barone Campus Center lower lobby.

Further information regarding Fairfield University's housing lottery processes and time lines can be found in the Housing Lottery Information Booklet.

Students are responsible for reading and abiding by all housing lottery guidelines. Any housing lottery questions can be addressed at scheduled information sessions, by contacting an Area Coordinator, or by calling the Office of Residence Life at (203) 254-4215 or residencelife@fairfield.edu.