Housing Policies


Eligibility for residence is limited to Barnard students and approved visiting students who have both completed the registration and program filing processes and have made all required payments by the payment deadlines. Some Columbia students may also be eligible, providing they meet the requirements for the Barnard/Columbia Housing Exchange as defined by both Barnard RL&H and Columbia University Undergraduate Housing Services. Students must be enrolled at Barnard on a full-time basis. Eligibility for residence on campus does not equal a guarantee. If for any reason a student ceases to be eligible for residence, they must vacate their room within 48 hours. If a student fails to register with the College or fails to check in to the residence hall assignment by 5pm on the first day of classes each semester, they forfeit their assigned space (and are liable for cancellation charges as outlined). This Housing Contract must be signed by the student by the first day of classes; otherwise, a student forfeits their assigned space.

Housing Period

Students will be permitted to check in to their room on the following dates, and students must check-in during published hours:

  • Sunday, August 28, 2016 - check-in for new first-year students
  • Monday, August 29, 2016 - check-in for new Fall transfer students
  • Saturday, September 3, 2016 - check-in for continuing & readmitted students
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - check-in for new Spring transfer students only
  • Saturday, January 14, 2017 - check-in for continuing & readmitted students

The housing period begins at the time the student takes occupancy of the assigned space, which must be no later than 5pm on the first day of classes for each semester. The housing period ends 24 hours after the time a student ceases to be eligible for residence or within 24 hours after the student’s last scheduled final examination. This will be no later than 9am on Friday, December 23, 2016 for the Fall semester and 5pm on Friday, May 12, 2017 for the Spring semester, regardless of the date/time of the resident’s last exam.  Any residential student who cancels their housing for the Spring semester must vacate their assigned space no later than 9am on Friday, December 23, 2016.

The residence halls remain open during Fall, Thanksgiving, and Spring Breaks, but are officially closed for Winter Break (9am on Friday, December 23, 2016, through 9am on Saturday, January 14, 2017). To be permitted to leave belongings in their room over the Winter Break, students must be in residence for both the Fall & Spring semesters and must be in good standing with the College (including the payment of Spring charges by the December 1 payment deadline). Housing during the Winter Break period is limited to a small number of approved students and may carry an additional fee.

Room Charges

See https://barnard.edu/reslife/policies/housing/room-rates for this academic year's room rates.

Occupancy and Use

At all times, only the student shall occupy the assigned space. Under no circumstances may a student swap assignments without prior approval; nor may students exchange keys with another student, sublet their room, or provide regular housing to any other person(s).

The College reserves the right to assign any vacant space at any time, and is not obligated to inform roommates or suitemates of changes. Any student with a vacancy in their room must keep the space open and ready for assignment at any point. The College has the right to move any such possessions that may be blocking a new student’s assigned space. Residents who fail to keep a vacant space free of their possessions will be subject to conduct action and will be charged for any costs involved in having these items moved. If the roommates/suitemates discourage or fail to accept the occupancy by an assigned student, they will be subject to conduct action that may include relocation, fines, additional rent, and/or termination of their assignment.

Meal Plans

For information about meal plan requirements, please visit http://barnard.edu/reslife/policies/meal-plans.

Assignments & Room Change Requests

Any of the occupants, furnishings, features, and configuration of the room/suite and/or a student’s room assignment shall be made and may be changed by the College at any time, at its sole discretion. Requests specifying only one particular residence or type of housing cannot be accommodated, nor can roommate/suitemate preferences based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, religious practices, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, dietary preferences, physical abilities, and/or age.  Any occurrences of verbal or physical intimidation or creating an atmosphere of discomfort for a new resident will not be tolerated and may lead to conduct action. 

Upperclass Students

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors may request a room change in the Fall (mid-September), for the Spring semester (early December), or in the Spring (late January). Room changes at any other point in the academic year are infrequently granted and require that a student has demonstrated an attempt to mediate any roommate/suitemate conflicts. Any room changes that are not approved by Residential Life & Housing are a violation of policy and the responsible student(s) will be required to return to their previous room and will be subject to conduct action. Students vacating the residence halls at the end of the Fall semester are expected to accommodate any student who may be moving into their space for the Spring semester as part of the December Room Change process (students making a December room change are required to vacate their Fall room prior to the start of the Winter Break). Columbia students in residence at Barnard are guided by the room change policies and procedures of Columbia University.  Barnard students in residence at Columbia are guided by the policies and procedures of Barnard College.

First-Year Students

The Associate Director for the First Year Focus program makes room changes for first-year students on a case-by-case basis.  Any student with roommate concerns will first participate in a roommate discussion / negotiation during which time the roommate contract will be evaluated and adjusted as needed.  Vacant spaces within rooms will be assigned, at the discretion of RL&H staff, to students needing room changes, with effort to use a student’s Housing Application to help match new roommates.

Disability Housing Requests

Students with diagnosed disabilities who may need some form of disability-related housing consideration (e.g. accessible housing, access to a private bath or kitchen, strobe alarm) must be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS).  In addition, a Disability Housing Request form must be completed and submitted adhering to RL&H deadlines.  Students should consult with ODS staff if needs arise beyond the published deadline or to review their needs and the accommodation request process.  It is the student's responsibility to submit the necessary paperwork for each Housing request period.  Previous accommodations are not automatically extended without submitting an updated request form and relevant ODS follow up for the upcoming academic year, summer, and/or interim housing period.  

Access to Student Room & Suite Spaces

The College reserves the right to enter, repair, inventory, inspect, or search (without prior consent and in appropriate situations) any student space at any time. This includes RL&H staff, Public Safety, Facilities, and any other College employee or contractor who has a legitimate need to enter the space. Students cannot refuse access to a College employee or contractor who is in the process of performing the responsibilities of their position, such refusal may lead to conduct action.

Condition of Premises

By taking occupancy of the space, the student accepts its condition “as is” at such time and assumes responsibility to maintain the space (and any common areas in which the assigned space is located) in a clean, safe, and undamaged condition at all times.  Students are expected to review & sign the Room Condition Report Form (RCR) to confirm the condition of their room upon arrival.

Common areas (e.g. suite or floor kitchens, bathrooms, lounges) are the responsibility of all members in that area, and all residents assigned to that area are jointly responsible for cleaning and maintaining them. When vacating the assigned space, all residents must remove all personal property and leave the room, any common areas, and any furnishings clean and in the same condition they were in when occupancy commenced. Any personal property left in the room or the common areas will be promptly removed and discarded at the expense of the resident(s).

Damages and Expenses

All students are expected to follow established procedures for check-in and check-out of their room assignment. Failure to properly check-in in a timely fashion will result in loss of the room assignment, and failure to vacate by the day/ time published will minimally result in a fine for improper check-out and/or removal of personal belongings. In addition, the student shall reimburse the College upon request for all damages or expenses which the College may suffer or incur for repair or excessive cleaning of any residence hall, or for repair or replacement of College provided furniture and/or equipment (including smoke detectors), caused by the misconduct or neglect of the student or of their guests. Residents are required to report any room concerns to Facilities for immediate repair. Failure to do so leaves the resident responsible for the repair and/or replacement cost. Any damages or expenses incurred in a room or facility within the residence halls will be charged equally to all residents of that room/suite or users of that facility unless the responsible person or persons assume specific liability. Charges are assessed by RL&H staff and will be billed to the student’s Bursar account. Failure to pay such charges may be cause for refusal to permit registration or for such other action as may be determined appropriate by the College until sums owed are paid in full. The policy regarding the referral of delinquent accounts for collection also applies to damages and expenses. Any appeal of said charges must be submitted in writing by the student within 30 days of the charge being posted to the student’s account. A more detailed list of damage charges is available at barnard.edu/reslife/policies/damage-charges.

Housing Cancellations & Related Fees

Please see http://barnard.edu/reslife/cancellations for the cancellation policies & fee schedule.

Responsibility of the Staff; Reserved Rights of the College

The College has delegated to RL&H the responsibility for establishing and enforcing regulations governing conduct of students within the residence halls. RL&H staff may consult with other College administrators in carrying out this responsibility. At the discretion of and in consultation with the RL&H staff, Executive Director, and/or the designate, a student may be subject to certain conditions for continuing residence, including (but not limited to) a change in room assignments or dismissal from College housing for disruptive behavior including (but not limited to) behavior such that a student cannot adequately take care of their own health and safety in the context of College housing or is a danger to the health and safety of others and/or the community. The College reserves the right to enter and inspect any room when, at the discretion of staff members, it is deemed necessary for the security and/or maintenance of the residence or for the safety and/or discipline of the residents, including specifically (but not limited to) the right to inspect/enter rooms to ensure compliance with rules concerning use of rooms, preservation of clean and sanitary conditions, fire prevention, compliance with local, state/federal laws, in preparation for upcoming renovation work, or health and safety reasons. The College reserves the right at any time to terminate, establish, or amend any terms, conditions, policies, and procedures concerning the matters covered herein without prior notice.