Carnegie Mellon University

First Year Housing Assignments

Room assignments at Carnegie Mellon is a very personal and intentional process. The goal is to match roommates with the most potential for a successful roommate relationship. Housing assignments are also based on a number of other factors, including:

  • Your admissions deposit date
  • Your building and room type preferences
  • Your personal/lifestyle preferences
  • Your roommate requests
  • Space availability in your preferred buildings
  • When you completed your housing application
Housing applications are processed beginning June 1, in the order that the admissions office posts your admissions deposit. An early admissions deposit date means that it is more likely that you will be assigned to one of your top five buildings preferences, depending on which buildings you rank.
We do our best to assign roommates who request each other as roommates, as long as both applicants request each other, have admissions deposit dates before May 1, and complete applications and requests before the May 31 deadline. If these requirements are met, we should be able to assign roommates together based on the earlier admissions deposit date. Roommates cannot be assigned together if either applicant applies after May 31.
Space in the most popular buildings is limited. We make every effort to assign you to one of your preferred buildings, and the most popular buildings fill very quickly. All of our residential communities are great, so keep an open mind about your assignment!

First Year Room Assignments

Once you are assigned to a room, you will be able to view your specific room assignment and roommate information via the Now That I'm Enrolling website or Student Information Online (under the My Info tab). Assignment information is usually released the first week of July. When your assignment information is available, you will receive an email with your building name, your room or apartment number, the room rate, and your roommate's name and Andrew email address.

Students who submit their housing application after the May 31 deadline may not receive a housing assignment during this first release and should contact Housing Services to find out the status of their housing application.

We do not accept/process room change requests for first-year students over the summer. The formal room change process will begin in mid-October or once all first-year students assigned to temporary housing have been assigned a permanent assignment. First-year students who wish to change rooms at that time can submit an application to get on the room change waitlist.

Due to the high demand for housing on Carnegie Mellon's campus, Open Housing Assignments and Temporary Housing allows us to accommodate all incoming first-year students and upper-class students.

Temporary Housing

Each year, a small number of incoming first-year students are assigned to temporary housing spaces in Donner House, Mudge House, or lounge space in Morewood E-Tower. Reduced Rate triple rooms in Donner, Mudge, and Shirley are also options for incoming first-year students. (Morewood E-Tower lounge spaces are set up with as many as five residents, if needed, with a bed, desk, and dresser available for each resident. Closet space is shared.)

After all other spaces are filled, incoming students with the latest deposit dates (usually May 1 or later) will be assigned to temporary housing. Within the first few weeks of the fall semester, a permanent assignment is identified and residents are notified of their assignment and asked to select a move date. Housing Services will coordinate with the student to help move his or her belongings to the new space.

While every effort is made to assign temporary housing residents to permanent spaces in first-year areas, that is not always possible. Temporary residents are not permitted to decline their permanent assignment but may sign up for the room change waitlist. All residents assigned to temporary housing will be required to move to a permanent assignment once one becomes available.

Once a permanent assignment is identified, the student account will then be adjusted to reflect the cost of the new room rate, prorated based on the date of the move. Students are responsible for the cost of their permanantly assigned room.

Temporary housing residents should be aware that many university housing spaces have higher room rates than the "standard double" rate. We are not able to guarantee a specific room rate for your permanent assignment, and residents and families should be prepared for the possibility of a higher room rate than the initial standard double charge.

Open Assignments

An Open Assignment means that you are guaranteed housing, but your specific assignment has not been made yet. Most residents who receive an Open Assignment will be notified of their permanent assignment before move-in day. When making your permanent assignment, we look at our available spaces and take your building and room type preferences into consideration. Some residents who receive an Open Assignment may be assigned a temporary housing assignment on move-in day.

In order to assist with financial aid budgeting, all residents who receive an Open Assignment will notice an initial room charge on their student account equal to our prime double room rate. This rate will be prorated accordingly once a permanent space is identified. In some cases, students will be assigned to a permanent space that is less expensive than the prime double rate; in other cases, the permanent assignment may cost more. Residents will be notified of their new room as soon as the assignment is made.

All residents who receive an Open Assignment will be updated regularly throughout the summer as we identify permanent assignments. You will be notified of your move-in location and whether it will be a permanent assignment or a temporary space via an email the day prior to move-in.

For students who do not select their own roommate, housing's roommate matching program uses the responses from the lifestyle questions in the housing application to match roommates. When matching roommates, we consider a number of factors:

Your Deposit Date — We process room assignments in batches, starting with the students with the earliest deposit dates. If you have an early deposit date, it's pretty likely that your roommate will, too.

Your Lifestyle Preferences — On your housing application, you are asked to answer a few questions about your lifestyle. When possible, we try to match you with a roommate who has similar lifestyle preferences as you.

Your Building Preferences — We know that your building preferences are important, so we try to assign you with a roommate who wants to be in the same buildings as you. Because some buildings are more popular than others, many buildings will fill up before we are able to process your assignment. If this happens, we consider your other preferred buildings. If all of your preferred buildings are filled, we make a decision based on other criteria such as your room type preferences and your roommate's building preferences.

Your Room Type Preferences — While the vast majority of first-year students will be assigned to a double room or apartment, there are a small number of triples and quads available. Due to the popularity of triples and quads, we usually fill these spaces exclusively with students who request them. Likewise, there are only a handful of singles available for first-year students and these usually fill up very quickly.

Your Special Academic Program (if applicable) — If you are part of a special academic group, such as the Science and Humanities Scholars program, you will be assigned with students from that same program. Outside of these special groups, we do not make any special efforts to match students with roommates from the same academic program. We believe that it is more important to live with someone who has similiar lifestyle habits, and that living with someone from a different academic program can expand your horizons in terms of friends and campus connections.

Housing Services does not discriminate in any way in regards to roommate matching (race, religion, sexual preference, etc.).

Requesting a Specific Roommate

If there is a particular person that you would like to live with, make sure to do the following things:

  1. Pay your admissions deposit early.
  2. Trade Andrew IDs and confirm your roommate request. Roommates can request and confirm each other through the Housing Application. In order to request a roommate, both roommates must start a housing application and complete the Roommate Profile step. If your roommate didn't complete this step of the application yet, ask him or her to let you know once it's complete, so that you can go back into the application to request each other.
  3. Get your application in before the May 31 deadline. After May 31, it is unlikely that we will be able to assign you with your requested roommate, even if you both request each other.

We do not send individual notification emails when roommates leave a room or a new roommate is assigned, as students leave the university and room change frequently. Residents are encouraged to occasionally check their housing information in SIO to see if any changes occur.

Upper-class Housing Assignments

Housing Services manages housing assignments for all campus housing and Greek housing residents, as well as the room change process, housing applications, Room Selection, and most cancellation requests. If you have a question about your housing assignment, please email Room Selection.

Housing cancellations are granted only in cases where the resident is leaving the university due to a leave of absence (medical, personal, or academic), withdrawing or transferring from the university, studying abroad, co-op, graduating, academic or financial suspension, exchange students returning home after one semester, or in some instances, to move into approved vacancies in Greek housing. Cancellations to move off-campus are not granted outside of the Open Cancellation period, which occurs immediately following Room Selection.

Incoming first-year students, graduate residents, and any applicants who apply after Room Selection do not have an open cancellation period and thus will not be released from their contract once signed, except for the reasons stated above.

Residents who need to cancel their campus housing are responsible for notifying Housing Services as soon as they become aware of their need to cancel. Failure to notify housing could result in a smaller refund amount.

Housing cancellations that occur due to a change in enrollment status (such as withdrawal, leaving of absence, etc.) are subject to a room rate refund only after the room has been completely vacated and key access has been turned back to Housing Services. Approved cancellations will receive a pro-rated refund based on the date that keys are returned and the room is vacated and left in good condition.

The Room Change Waitlist process is officially open for the 2017-2018 academic year. Upper-class students who applied for the room change waitlist following Room Selection 2017 or over the summer do not need to reapply - your application will carry on to the academic year waitlist.

Please keep in mind a few things:

  • Room change offers are made to the next person on the waitlist for that particular building and room type
  • There is limited availability of available spaces, particularly early in the fall semester; please be aware that room change offers will come slowly
  • First-year residents are limited to only requesting first-year buildings; upper-class residents are limited to only requesting upper-class buildings
  • The waitlist for single room tends to be an extremely long with a very small number of single rooms opening up - it is not unusual for a student wanting on single rooms to be on the waitlist for the entire academic year without a room change offer

Room swaps are a great way for residents to coordinate assignments changes amongst themselves during periods of time when we are not otherwise processing room changes due to lack of vacancies. Upper-class residents can request room swaps during the summer months and both upper-class and first-year students can request room swaps during the academic year at any time except during the first two weeks of each semester, during which time there is a room change/room swap "freeze."

We make every attempt to accommodate requests for swaps, but during the month of August, the first two weeks of each semester, and during Room Selection we are not able to process swaps due to limited staff resources. We will notify you of the status of your swap request, and whether it was approved or denied.

Interested residents who have already discussed/arranged to switch rooms with another resident and met all the following criteria should email Room Selection:

  • Send only one email for each swap
  • Copy (cc) all individuals involved in the swap, including any/all affected roommates, and your RA/CA staff member for your floor/building
  • Residents should not swap rooms until receiving approval from Housing Services. Moving without approval will result in a denial of the swap and residents will be notified to return to their original assignments. Failure to do so may result in fines.
  • Room swaps are not permitted or processed the weeks prior to the start of a new semester or during the first week of each semester.
  • Room swaps involving singles are not permitted due to high demand for singles and long wait lists from room changes into single rooms. An exception may apply to singles in the Oakland apartments where residents are swapping between a double and single room within the apartment.
  • Room swaps are generally approved but processing times may vary. After submitting the room swap request, if approved, you will be notified via email once your room change paperwork is ready. At that time, residents swapping rooms should come to Housing Services to sign their paperwork and update their ID cards in a kiosk.
  • Residents swapping rooms in hard key buildings (i.e. Oakland Apartments) should swap keys in the Housing Services at the time that the room change paperwork is signed by both residents so that the Housing Services key inventory can be properly updated.

Frequently Asked Questions about Room Changes and Swaps

Students apply for the room change waitlist via a paper form. Each building has it's own waitlist. You can go on the waitlist for one building, or for multiple buildings.  For each building you apply for, you can also request specific room types if you are only interested in certain types of room (i.e. single, prime double, etc.)

Spaces open up over the course of the semester primarily due to leave of absences and withdrawals from the university. When a space opens up, Housing Services refers to the waitlist for that building and room type to see who is next in line for that specific space. A room change offer is then made. In your room change offer you will be given the specific building name and room number, the room type, and the name of the roommate(s) currently in that room, if applicable. You will then have 72 hours to either accept or decline the room change. See the next question below for more information on what happens once you've accepted a room change offer.

Students who have been offered a room change should reach out to the current residents/roommates of that space to arrange a time to meet with them and to see the room. It's just as important to meet the people that you'll be living with as it is to see the space you'll be living in. However, know that you are not required to see the space or meet their roommates - sometimes people want to move just to be in a particular building, regardless of room type or roommates. That's fine too.

Please note that Housing Services does not give tours of rooms, and we will also not grant key access to students who want to see a particular space. Just as you would not want a random stranger to be walking through your room when you're not there, we respect the privacy and security of our residents by not granting access to students looking to room change.

Once you've accepted a room change offer, Housing Services will notify the current resident of the room that a new roommate will be moving in. Typically we try to give 24 hours notice to a roommate before giving a new roommate access to the space. Once you gain access to your new room, you will need to complete your move within 72 hours. During this 72 hour period you will have access to both your old room and your new room, in order to allow you to go back and forth between the two to move your belongings.

If your new room assignment is a different rate from your current room, you will see either a new charge or a credit on your student account. Your charges are pro-rated based on the number of days you lived in your old room, and the number of day you will be living in your new room. Please note that if your new room is more expensive than your current room, you need to make arrangements to pay the difference before the 15th of the following month.

There is no specific timeframe in which you can expect to receive an assignment. Some students may receive a room change offer very quickly. Others may be on the room change waitlist for an entire academic year without receiving a room offer. Room changes depend on two factors - what spaces become available, and what space you will accept for a room change. Space availability is impossible for us to predict, since residents of any class from any building and any room type could decide to leave the university at any time. 

The more buildings you are willing to move to, the more likely it is that you will receive a room change offer. Likewise, residents who are only interested in single rooms should be prepared to potentialy not receive a room change offer for the entire year.

Yes, in general, room swaps are permitted.

Yes, most upper-class who residents obtain their housing assignments through our Room Selection process also have the opportunity to submit a room change request after Room Selection if the assignment that they selected was not one of their top choices. Room change offers will usually begin around mid-May following the Open Cancellation Period, after all residents with Open Assignments receive permanent assignments. Students who are looking for a room/assignment change should NOT cancel their assignment during the open cancellation period if they definitely need campus housing, since cancelling your assignment also cancels your room change waitlist application. Room changes are only for students who have an assignment to change - once you cancel, you can't room change. 

Room change offers for Room Selection participants will continue until May 31 at which time a freeze will be put on all room changes. Once all first-year students are assigned, room change offers will resume and residents will be notified via email.

The formal academic year room change waitlist process for the following academic year begins once all temporary housing first-year residents are permanently assigned, or after the first two weeks of the fall semester. An email will be sent out to all residents once the formal room change process has begun.

Upper-class residents are encouraged to coordinate room swaps whenever possible as a way to accommodate an assignme

The housing assignment that an incoming first-year student receives is the best possible assignment based on your admissions deposit date and available spaces. If you were not assigned to one of your top building preferences, that means there are no more vacancies available in that building. For this reason, we are not able to process room change requests or swaps for first-year students prior to arrival on campus. Even though you may not have been assigned to one of your top preferences, know that all of our first-year living areas provide an incredible amount of community and support to all residents.

If you decide that you would still like to apply for a room change after the first few weeks of the semester, we will be happy to assist you once all temporary housing residents have been reassigned to a permanent assignment in housing. The expected time for this varies depending on the number of students assigned to temporary assignments. An email is sent out to all on-campus residents once the formal room change process has begun.