Have Upperclass-Related Questions?
We've compiled the following information to help clarify some of the questions and myths regarding on-Grounds living.
Why should I live in on-Grounds housing?
The reasons students share with us for choosing to remain in on-Grounds housing include:
- Location: Closer to classes, libraries, bus stops, and dining locations.
- Flexibility: You can change rooms when space is available: a luxury you may not have off-Grounds.
- Complimentary Services: Maintenance staff are ready to take care of problems and are available 24/7 for emergency repairs. Our housekeeping staff clean public common areas. Resident Staff members are available to support your continued personal and academic success.
- Safety and Security: You live exclusively with other students in an environment where your safety is a priority. Lock and access card systems govern access to the buildings. Lock cores are changed whenever keys are lost. University housing meets high standards for fire safety, with annual inspections by the State Fire Marshal's Office.
Which is a better value, living on- or off-Grounds?
Due to the wide variety of options both on- and off-Grounds, it is hard to say definitively which one is less expensive. When comparing on-Grounds to off-Grounds housing there are a few things to keep in mind that will often show on-Grounds housing to be the better value:
- On-Grounds contracts are for 9 months, meaning you only have a contract for the time you are in school. Off-Grounds contracts are almost always 12-months, so more than likely you will pay for 3 months you don't need, or have to deal with the sublet process in a difficult market, if you do not plan to spend the summer in Charlottesville.
- On-Grounds housing includes all utilities except telephone and cable TV, so you don't have a separate bill for electricity, water, heat, Internet, etc. Some off-Grounds accommodations require the tenant to pay some or all utilities; this can drastically increase your cost.
- On-Grounds housing requires no damage deposit. Some off-Grounds locations may charge as much as one month's rent as a deposit.
- All on-Grounds apartments have fully furnished living rooms and bedrooms, whereas most off-Grounds accommodations come unfurnished.
What housing options are available for me on Grounds?
- Apartments: Bice, Copeley, Faulkner, and Lambeth.
- Hallway-style: Johnson House.
- Residential Colleges: Brown College, Hereford College, and the International Residential College.
- Language Houses: French and Spanish Houses, and Shea House, which includes multiple language groups.
For detailed information on each area, including floorplans and photos, see our Returning Undergraduates housing page.
What is the open housing roommate option?
Please see our Open Housing page for more information.
Is there space available for me in on-Grounds housing?
Yes! Housing has always been available for all students who complete an application by the priority application deadline. For students who apply after the priority deadline, we will continue to make housing offers throughout the spring and summer as space is available.
Am I guaranteed housing as a third- or fourth-year student?
If you stay in on-Grounds housing as a second-year student, you can stay in University housing as long as you remain enrolled. You always have first priority to reapply to live in the same area for the following years. If you wish to change areas, there is usually enough space for you to receive a housing offer. However, housing is not absolutely guaranteed, so please make to follow the deadlines for housing applications and room selection in order have the best opportunity for on-Grounds housing,
How do I apply for on-Grounds housing?
You can apply online for housing for the next academic year beginning in early October if you want to stay in the same area or apply to a residential college or language house. General housing applications will be available on December 1. Assignments are made based on a randomly assigned timeslot, and there is no advantage to applying early as long as you meet the posted deadlines.
Before applying, you should consider several things:
- whether you want to live in an on-Grounds apartment or in a hallway-style residence hall
- whom you would like as a roommate or apartment-mates
- or whether you prefer a single room.
Six-person and four-person apartments are available in Lambeth and Bice. Four-person apartments are available in Faulkner, and two-person apartments are available in Copeley. The University offers double and single hallway-style rooms in Johnson & Weedon Houses.
You can begin the application by creating a roommate group or joining an existing group. Groups of six or four will be given priority in the assignment process for apartments. Roommate groups can change until the application deadline.
If you prefer a hallway-style room you can create a roommate group if you wish to select single rooms with friends nearby, or you can remain as a group of one person.
- The student who creates the group will serve as the group leader. The group leader will receive a randomly generated timeslot to select rooms for all group members from what's available at that time. All group members will then have 48 hours to accept or decline their individual housing offer. Once accepted, the offer is binding.
What if one of my group members drops out of the group? Can we choose who fills the spot?
Students who drop out of a group to become Resident Advisers (RAs), study abroad, or withdraw from the University are automatically released from their housing agreement. Remaining apartment-mates or roommates may contact the assignments office at firstname.lastname@example.org if they would like to request someone who does not already have a housing assignment and would like to take the vacated space(s).
However, we cannot guarantee that these requests can be accommodated. Housing & Residence Life will fill any vacancies as it deems appropriate. Assignments may be consolidated between stages of the application process; for example, if only three members of a six-person group sign an agreement, the group may be moved to another apartment within the same housing area.
What if I do not get the apartment or room I want?
We cannot guarantee that you will get the specific area, building, apartment, or room that you are seeking. We urge you to be flexible. If you decline an offer to live on Grounds during any of the stages in the process, you can apply for remaining on-Grounds options in February. If you accept an on-Grounds offer, you are able to change your room assignment online beginning two weeks after the start of the fall semester.
Should I sign an on-Grounds housing contract while I continue to look for off-Grounds housing?
Please do not sign a contract for on-Grounds housing unless you intend to live in on-Grounds housing. If you sign a contract, you are responsible for the cost of the housing unless you are able to find an approved replacement who can take over the assignment. Please understand that the housing agreement is a binding legal document and can only be cancelled within 2 days from the date your agreement is due.
How does studying abroad affect my on-Grounds housing?
We release students from their housing contracts to study abroad. The steps to be released are as follows.
Study abroad during the current academic year, spring semester:
- Please email email@example.com to let us know you are not returning for spring semester due to study abroad. We will cancel your contract for the spring and remove the housing charges from your student account.
- Please note, you must vacate your housing at the end of fall semester (by noon on Saturday after the last exam).
Study abroad during future academic years:
- Fall semester abroad: You may sign up for housing for the full academic year. Once you know for sure that you are studying abroad, email firstname.lastname@example.org. After receiving confirmation from you we will cancel the full academic year contract. If you wish to return to housing for spring semester, complete the spring semester housing application online (available in early November of the semester you are abroad). Please note that we are not able to hold a specific space for you while you study abroad.
- Spring semester abroad: You may sign up for housing for the full academic year. Once you know for sure that you are studying abroad (typically in October or November after you move in), email email@example.com. After receiving confirmation from you we will cancel the spring semester portion of your contract.
What if I'm planning to graduate mid-year?
If graduating in December, you will need to inform Housing & Residence Life in writing (please email firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to ensure you are not charged for spring term housing. You must vacate your housing by the end of the fall semester (noon Saturday after the last exam). Your account is updated once we confirm you have vacated your room.