Carnegie Mellon University

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 Assignments.


Housing cancellations are granted only in cases where the resident is leaving the university due for one of the following reasons: Leave of Absence (medical, personal, or academic), Withdrawing or Transferring from the university, Studying Abroad, Graduating (and no longer enrolled as a CMU student), Academic or Financial Suspension, or for Exchange Students returning home after one semester. Cancellations to move off-campus (or for reasons not listed above) are not granted once a Housing Contract is signed and a space is selected or confirmed.

Incoming first-year students are required to live in campus housing for one full academic year, and will only be released from their Housing Contract for the enrollment reasons listed above.  Upper-class students who apply for on-campus housing after Room Selection via the non-guaranteed Waitlist Application are bound to their contract at the moment that a space is confirmed by signing the Housing Contract.

Residents who need to cancel their campus housing (for the approved reasons listed above) are responsible for notifying Housing Services as soon as they are aware of their change in plans. For any approved cancellation (including for academic reasons), a cancellation fee will apply. Refunds are typically based on the date that the student completely vacates their housing space AND notifiies Housing Services, whichever is later. Failure to notify Housing Services could result in a smaller refund amount. Refunds for students who choose to move off-campus after signing their Housing Contract (regardless of whether or not they have ever occupied their space) are not provided, and such students are responsible for the full cost of their Academic Year Housing Contract. 

Housing cancellations that occur due to a change in enrollment status (such as withdrawal, leaving of absence, etc.) or for other approved reasons, are subject to a room rate refund only after the room has been completely vacated and key access has been turned into 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.

There is no open cancellation period immediately following Room Selection. Students who wish to live off-campus should not participate in Room Selection, and can apply at a later date if off-campus plans fall through.

Cancellations are only granted for approved reasons. Students released for such an approved reason will still be charged a $400 cancellation fee for cancelling the full academic year contract, or $200 cancellation fee for students cancelling the Spring portion of their contract only. This administrative fee applies to all residents, regardless of reason, including students who are graduating, exchange students returning home, students academically suspended, etc..

Residents are responsible for emailing Room Assignments if they need to cancel their housing assignment for an approved reason.

If you need to cancel your housing for the spring semester due to studying abroad, graduating in December (and will not be enrolled for the upcoming spring semester in any way), etc., please visit the Winter Break Spring Cancellations page for instructions.

Looking for information on Spring semester cancellations?

If you are graduating in December (and will not be an enrolled CMU student for the Spring semester), withdrawing from the university, taking a leave of absence, or studying abroad for the Spring semester, click here to read more about Spring semester cancellations and to access the Spring Cancellation Request form.

Room Changes

Students may place their names on the waitlists for multiple buildings by ranking each building that they are interested in moving to. Room change offers are made to the next person on the waitlist for that particular building and room type. There is typically limited availability on campus, particularly early in the fall semester; please be aware that room change offers will come slowly. There is a room change freeze during the first two weeks of each semester. First-year residents may request room changes in first-year buildings; upper-class residents may request room changes in upper-class buildings. The waitlist for a single room is typically very long and often a student waiting for a single room may never receive a single room change offer.


  • When a space opens up, an offer email is sent to the next resident on the waitlist for that building and room type (please do not put your name on the waitlist for a building that you are not interested in relocating to)
  • The resident is given 72 hours to either accept or decline the room change (if you decline the room change, you remain assigned to your current space)
  • Notification is then sent out to the current roommate of the space; residents must wait 24 hours after the notification is sent before starting their move
  • Residents will then confirm a move start date; typically the Friday/weekend of the week that the room change offer was made
  • Access to both rooms will be granted for 72 hours to allow time to transition to the new space

See the "Frequently Asked Questions" section below for more information.

Room Swaps

Room swaps are a great way for residents to coordinate assignment changes themselves. Upper-class residents may request room swaps during the summer months and both upper-class and first-year students may request room swaps during the academic year at any time except during the first two weeks of the fall and spring semesters, 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.

Interested residents who have already discussed/arranged to switch rooms with another resident should email Room Assignments to officially make the request. Send only one email for each swap and 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 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. 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 or swap hard keys.

Frequently Asked Questions: 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 assignment.

The housing assignment that an incoming first-year student receives is the best possible assignment according to your randomly generated lottery number and the availability of spaces that match your building and room type preferences. 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.
No, room change offers are not guaranteed, and not receiving a room change offer is not a reason that we will release a student from their housing contract. Returning residents who are thinking about moving off-campus should cancel before the April 1, 2022 deadline. After April 1, cancellations to move off-campus wil NOT be permitted. You should make the decision regarding whether or not to cancel knowing that you may or may not receive a room change offer at some point during the 2022-2023 academic year.