Frequently Asked Questions about Room Selection

Last updated: February 4, 2017

General Questions

Eligibility & Registration Questions

Room Availability Questions

Housing Lottery Questions

Registering at Columbia / Pulling CU students into the Barnard Housing Lottery



How much will the rooms cost for the 2017-2018 academic year?
Room rates for 2017-2018 will be posted here once announced by the Board of Trustees.
Am I eligible to participate in Room Selection if I currently live at International House or the Bayit?
No, neither International House or the Bayit are considered on-campus housing, which means that students who live in these locations are not eligible for Room Selection.
May I still live in Barnard campus housing if I start a dual degree program at Columbia? (SEAS & SIPA)
Students may no longer live in Barnard campus housing after starting the SEAS or SIPA potion of a dual-degree. Students who select housing and then confirm enrollment to start in a dual-degree program at SEAS or SIPA will cancelled from Barnard room assignment and are responsible for securing housing elsewhere.
What if I forget to register for Room Selection? (1pm on March 1 through 1pm on March 8, 2017)
Unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in Room Selection, nor can we guarantee your housing for the 2017-2018 academic year. You may apply for housing on the Non-Guaranteed Housing Wait List and assignments (if available) will be emailed in mid-August.
What do I do if I try to register for Room Selection and I get an error message? (or it doesn't give me the option of registering?)
Don't panic! No system is foolproof. If you have any problems trying to register, please come to the Residential Life & Housing office (110 Sulzberger), call Residential Life & Housing at 212-854-5561 or email Please register well in advance of the deadline! If you wait until the last minute, the Residential Life & Housing office may not be available to assist you.
Why are some rooms showing up as selected (or "Not Available for Selection") before Room Selection even begins?
Rooms/suites may be assigned before Room Selection due to RA assignments (and RA pull-ins), disability housing accommodations (and pull-ins), the Social Justice House, etc.  Additionally, some rooms/suites are marked as "Not Available for Selection" in order to have space to balance the BC/CU Housing Exchange, to hold rooms with accessibility features (ex. strobe alarms) for later disability housing assignments, and/or to cluster spaces for incoming transfer students.
Why are some rooms in the same line at 110th St. singles vs. doubles on different floors?
Barnard rents the apartments at 110th Street and does not own the building. The landlord dictates the occupancy of each space, according to contracts which were signed in different years. This is why some rooms in a line may be singles on one floor and doubles on another (ex. 4J1 & 7J1 are doubles, but 5J1 is a studio single).
Which bathrooms will be designated Female & Gender-Inclusive in Hewitt, Sulz Tower, and Elliott for 2017-2018?
  • Hewitt: the bathrooms on 2, 4, 6, and 8th floors will be designed Gender-Inclusive and the bathrooms on the 3, 5, & 7th floors will be designated Female.
  • Sulz Tower: the bathrooms on the 10, 12, 14, & 16th floors will be designed Gender-Inclusive and the bathrooms on the 9, 11, 13, & 15th floors will be designated Female.
  • Elliott: the bathroom closest to rooms number 1-10 will be designated Gender-Inclusive and the bathroom closest to rooms number 12-21 will be designed Female.
Am I guaranteed to be able to pick a room at the Housing Lottery?
Typically each year the number of students who pick at the Lottery exceeds the number of available spaces. This is because:
  • Many students will pick rooms at the Lottery and then later cancel housing (to move off-campus, study abroad, withdraw, etc.)
  • Some rooms will need to be held from selection at the Lottery in order to reserve space to balance the BC/CU Housing Exchange, to hold rooms with accessibility features (ex. strobe alarms) for later disability housing assignments, and/or to cluster spaces for incoming transfer students.
This means that the number of rooms available to select at the Lottery will "run out" before all students with Lottery numbers get a change to pick. Around 80 - 120 rising-Sophomores each year with the highest Lottery numbers (who don't pick earlier with a group) will not be able to pick a room during their Lottery appointment.

Students who are not able to pick a room (or who do not wish to choose from the available spaces) at their appointment time will sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List. They will fill out a form to provide housing preferences in order to be assigned over the summer. Students on this list are guaranteed to be assigned to a space over the summer.

Please see for more information.
Can I trade Lottery Numbers with another student?  If a friend is not planning to pick at the Lottery, can I use their number instead?
Lottery numbers are non-transferable and cannot be traded between students.
If I pick into an empty double, can I "buy-out" the other side of the room?
No. Doubles that students may pick into as individuals (ex. corridor-style rooms in Hewitt / Elliott / Sulz Tower or spaces in suites made available for individuals to select into may not be "bought out." All spaces will be selected by the end of Room Selection. Any spaces that open up or were reserved from selection at the Lottery will be assigned to students on the Guaranteed Assignment List and/or Non-Guaranteed Wait List or to Transfer and/or Readmitted students over the summer.
If the person(s) I picked into a multiple occupancy room (corridor or suite) with cancels, what happens to me?
You will likely receive a new roommate. Spaces that open up over the summer will be assigned to student on the Guaranteed Assignment List and/or Non-Guaranteed Wait List or to incoming Transfer or Readmitted students. Spaces that open up during the academic year will likely be filled by room changes or assignments to new Spring students. Students with vacancies in their room must keep the space open and ready for assignment to another student at all times.
If I'm in a group of 5 students, can we pick a 6-person suite and get assigned a 6th person from the wait list?
No, groups may only select suites that have the same number of spaces as group members (in this case, a 5-person suite for a 5-person group).

Note: Some suites may be broken into smaller clusters for selection by smaller group sizes (ex. a 7-person suite, which is broken down into 2 doubles selectable by a group of 4 and 3 singles that can each be selected by an individual). Groups / individuals can only select these spaces as predesignated in size on the list of Available Spaces.
If I'm in a group of students, can we pick suite and hold a space for a student who is being readmitted to the College or who currently lives off-campus?
No, groups may only select suites (or clusters) that have the same number of spaces as group members (for example, a 5-person suite for a 5-person group). Students who are currently not enrolled or who live off-campus may not be part of groups for the Housing Lottery. If they apply for the non-Guaranteed Wait List, they will be assigned over the summer (space permitting).
If I will be studying abroad for the Fall, can I pick into a suite with a group of friends and get into that room when I return in the Spring (after canceling my Fall housing)?
Probably not. We do encourage students who may be studying abroad for the Fall to go through Room Selection and select a room as a backup in case they do not end up going abroad. However, if you select into a suite with a group of friends and then cancel your housing assignment once you confirm your Fall study abroad, that room will be assigned to a student from the Guaranteed Assignment List (or non-Guaranteed Wait List, or a transfer, or a readmitted student, etc.) as a full-year room assignment (i.e. Residential Life & Housing would not force that student to move out of the room to make a vacancy for you in the spring). The space you picked cannot be kept empty for the Fall semester for you to return to in the Spring.

Your best bet is to find a friend who is planning on studying abroad for the SPRING. That student could select into a suite with your friends (and you can choose a backup room elsewhere on your own or sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List in case you don't go abroad for the Fall). Then, you can request on your Spring Housing Application to be assigned to that suite when you return (into the vacancy created by that other student leaving to study abroad for the Spring).  Please note that the occupants of the suite would need to mutually request you by submitting a Roommate/Suitemate Request Form (before December 1).  Note: while students may make informal pacts like above, they cannot be enforced by the College if students choose not to go abroad for the Spring or a suite decides not to mutually request a student returning from a Fall Study Abroad, etc.
I'm graduating in February or planning on studying abroad for the Spring semester. If I have to sign a housing contact for the entire academic year, will I have to pay to cancel my housing for the Spring?
We require students to sign an entire academic year contact so that you're covered for housing in case your graduation is pushed back or you cancel your Spring study abroad plans.

Housing will be automatically cancelled at no charge for students studying abroad for the Spring (for which they are paying tuition to Barnard) after they submit their Notice of Study Leave.  Students who graduate mid-year must submit a Housing Cancellation form by December 1, in order to avoid a cancellation fee.

Students who cancel their Spring housing for any other reason (to move off campus, to withdraw from the College, etc) will be charged cancellation fees.  For more information, please visit
What if I have class during my appointment time or can't make it for another reason?
Please don't skip you class! You can select another student to serve as your Proxy and pick for you during your Lottery appointment time.
What do I do if I missed my appointment time!
Individuals: If you miss your appointment, please come to the Lottery as soon as possible! (or fill out a Proxy form to send with a friend in your place)

If the Lottery is still going on that day, we will be able to let you (or your Proxy) select late (or sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List). If you miss the Lottery completely, you will lose your guarantee of housing for next year and would only be able to apply for housing as part of the non-Guaranteed Wait List.

Groups: Groups may not select unless all members (or their designated Proxy) are present. If you (or your Proxy) are not present at your appointment time, your group may only select if they drop you from the group.
If I sign up for a suite with a group, which room within the suite am I going to live in?
The assignment of rooms within a suite is entirely up to the group members. When you select the suite, you and your group must assign the members to the particular rooms within the suite. It is important for your group to have a conversation beforehand about who wants to live in singles vs. doubles, the size or arrangements of rooms, etc; because you will not have a lot of time to make those decisions when your appointment time comes.

If you have another group member serve as your Proxy because you are unable to attend group selection, please make sure that you have communicated all your preferences and needs to that person, because the Proxy's choice is a binding assignment.

After your group has selected the rooms within the suite at Room Selection, they cannot be changed. Rising-Seniors only may request room changes over the summer through the Senior Summer Room Change Process. Rising-Sophomores and rising-Juniors must wait until the Fall Room Change process.
After I choose a room/suite, can I change my selection later? (or sign up for the Guaranteed Assignment List instead?)
All selections are binding and final. Once you (or your Proxy) choose a room or suite, you may not change your selection. Additionally, once you choose a room or suite, you may not cancel that room to be on the Guaranteed Assignment List instead.
What is "the Cap?" How many Barnard students will be able to pick at CU (and vice-versa)?
The way that Barnard is able to have some students live on the Columbia campus (and vice-versa) is through the Barnard / Columbia Housing Exchange. Each campus must exchange an exact equal number of students.

This means that if more Barnard students register for Columbia Room Selection than vice-versa, the number of Barnard students allowed to pick with groups at Columbia cannot exceed the number of Columbia students registered for Barnard Room Selection. For example, if 15 Barnard students register for CU Room Selection and only 8 Columbia student register for Barnard Room Selection, the maximum number of Barnard students who will be allowed to select with groups at Columbia shall not exceed 8. This number varies from year to year and cannot be predicted prior to Room Selection Registration at both schools being completed.
If I pick with my friends at Columbia Room Selection, do I lose my ability to go through Barnard Room Selection next year?
No. As long as you pick into a Columbia residence hall through the Columbia Undergraduate Room Selection process and continue to live on campus for the entire academic year, you will be eligible to go through Barnard (or Columbia) Room Selection for the following year. If you cancel housing to move off-campus or withdraw from the College, you will cease to have a guarantee of housing and will not be eligible to participate in Room Selection.
If I pull one or more Columbia students into a Barnard group, is it guaranteed that we'll be able to select together?
Unfortunately not. Groups who want to pull in CU students at Barnard Room Selection may not be able to select a suite together if a) no more suites match the desired group size or b) there were more CU students who registered for Barnard Room Selection than vice-versa and the "Cap" (see above) on the number of CU students who may select at Barnard has been reached.