Housing Lottery

Housing Lottery Information


The Office of Residence Life utilizes The Housing Director (THD) for all Housing Lotteries. With the usage of THD, there are several steps that students need to follow in order to participate in the Housing Lottery Process, which will be outlined below. Additionally, students should be aware that the most accurate and up-to-date information will be sent to each student via e-mail in the annual Housing Lottery Booklet.

Below is the step by step information that you will need to access the Housing Lottery process.

  • Go to “The Housing Director” (THD) Self-Service Portal.
  • The Dates for the On-Campus Housing Lottery are outlined in the Housing Lottery Booklet. Please pay close attention to the dates, as no late applications will be accepted. 
  • All students are required to complete a Housing Application before they are eligible to participate in the roommate selection process. Access to the Housing Application is only available during housing lottery periods.
  • The Room Selection Process will be available for each individual selection process (Rising Junior/Senior, Build-A-Houses, Ignatian Leadership Residential College, Creative Life Residential College, Service for Justice Residential College, and Rising Sophomore Non-Residential College). Each student must complete the Roommate Selection Process to have a valid group by selecting and confirming the other members of their group.
  • Each member of the group must take responsibility for the successful completion of the Roommate Selection Process. Once a group submits their Roommate Group, it cannot be changed or modified.
  • If a student is already released to Off-Campus Boarder (OCB) status and has not declined their status, they are not eligible to participate in any of the on-campus housing lotteries.
  • Students who are applying for Study Abroad in the Fall Semester are ineligible to participate in the housing lottery. They will be contacted during the Fall Semester to start arranging their housing plans for their return in the Spring.
  • If you are looking for a roommate(s) to complete your group you can use THD to find compatible roommates by using the search feature. For instructions on how to find compatible roommates using the search feature, please refer to the Roommate Selection “How-To-Guide.” 
  • Students who have been placed on Housing Restriction by the Dean of Students Office are not eligible to participate in the housing lottery process.  These students will be placed into housing by the Office of Residence Life during the summer and will be notified of their housing assignment in August. 
  • The Room Selection Process will take place online through THD. Each group will be designated a specific date and time to select their housing. Only one member of the group needs to log in and select housing for the group. During this time each group will have TWO MINUTES to select their housing before the next group is eligible to select. If you do not select your housing during your allotted TWO MINUTES, you will still be eligible to select your housing, as will the group following you.
  • For more detailed information on the Housing Lottery Process, please read the attached Housing Lottery Booklet.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Residence Life at 203-254-4215 or residencelife@fairfield.edu. Additionally, the Office of Residence Life will soon be posting Open Office Hours to help students through the Housing Application Process.

Important Deadlines and Dates

Class of 2020 and 2021 On-Campus Lottery

On-Campus Lottery

Housing Application Opens                                February 20, 9 a.m.                The Housing Director

Roommate Requests Open                                February 4,   9 a.m.                The Housing Director

Roommates Requests Close                              March 14, 4 p.m.                     The Housing Director

Group Pick Times Posted                                   March 25, 4 p.m.                     The Housing Director 

Class of 2020 and 2021 Housing Selection        March 29, 9 a.m. Start             The Housing Director


Class of 2022 Non-Residential Colleges

Housing Application Opens                                February 20, 9 a.m.                The Housing Director

Roommate Requests Open                                April 1, 9 a.m.                        The Housing Director

Roommates Requests Close                              April 8, 4 p.m.                         The Housing Director

Group Pick Times Posted                                   April 10, 4 p.m.                       The Housing Director 

Non-Res College Housing Selection                  April 12, 9 a.m. Start                The Housing Director


Class of 2022 Residential Colleges

Housing Application Opens                                February 20, 9 a.m.                 The Housing Director

Roommate Requests Open                                April 1, 9 a.m.                         The Housing Director

Roommates Requests Close                              April 8, 4 p.m.                          The Housing Director

Group Pick Times Posted                                   April 10, 4 p.m.                        The Housing Director 

Res College Housing Selection                          April 12, 9 a.m. Start                The Housing Director

Off-Campus Lottery

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


Dear Parents and Members of the Class of 2019:

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. 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.


Will Johnson
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 timelines 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.

Returning from Study Abroad

Students who are currently Studying Abroad in the Fall Semester will be contacted by the Office of Residence Life in Late October/Early November to complete an online form with their Spring Semester Housing Requests. This form will allow students the ability to request a specific housing location, housing with specific students (both currently abroad and on-campus), or a specific type of housing. The Office of Residence Life tries to meet all requests of students returning from abroad, but are limited by the availability of housing location/style of housing.

Becoming a Commuter

For students who currently reside on-campus and wishes to change to commuter status the process is fairly simple. Each student requesting the change to Commuter Status will need complete a Commuter Request Form. Once the form has been completed, the student will need to turn the completed from into the Office of Residence Life and schedule a meeting with Charles Sousa, Sr. Associate Director of Housing Operations, to discuss the student’s change from Resident to Commuter Student.

Please note that for a student to change from Residential to Commuter Status, the student will need to meet three criteria in order to be consider for release to commuter status:

  • Live within 35 driving miles of the University
  • Live with a parent, legal guardian, or spouse at their primary residence
  • And show substantial or extraordinary need to change status

Becoming a Residential Student

For Commuter students who wish to change their status and move onto campus, they will need to complete a Housing Application and pay a $400 refundable housing deposit to the Bursar’s Office, located in MCA 303. Once the deposit has been paid the student can bring a copy of their housing deposit receipt and Housing Application to the Office of Residence Life. Upon receipt of these items the Office of Residence Life will change the student’s status from Commuter to Active, which will allow them to move onto campus.

Housing Options and Amenities

Residential life at Fairfield University consists of a variety of housing options on campus, and housing is guaranteed for four years to all full-time, matriculated undergraduate students. In addition, students are required to remain resident students for four years unless they are able to commute from home or are otherwise released from this obligation by the Office of Residence Life.

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