Leaving and Returning

During your studies at Harvard College, you may leave campus housing for a number of reasons: if you study abroad, take a leave of absence, or decide to move off-campus. Please review the information below for policies and procedures related to cancelling and returning to housing. If you need (or are not sure whether) to petition the AdBoard to return to enrollment and residence, check with your Allston Burr Resident Dean about whether you are eligible to do so for the upcoming term.

Cancelling Housing

The Dean of Students Office and the Houses operate under the assumption that, unless otherwise indicated, you plan to live on campus.  If you wish to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the College, move off-campus, or study abroad, you must complete a housing cancellation form. You are encouraged to cancel your housing as soon as possible so that other students can be taken off the wait list and so that the Houses can plan lottery and room assignments accordingly.

  • Failure to participate in the House Lottery does not automatically cancel housing.
  • Speaking with a Resident Dean or House Administrator does not cancel housing.
  • Receiving Administrative Board approval for a voluntary leave of absence or study abroad does not cancel housing.

Failure to submit the housing cancellation form by the deadlines below will result in fees.

Credits (refunds) to student term bills are made based on the submission of the housing contract cancellation form. Refunds will not be processed and late fees will continue to accrue until a Housing Contract Cancellation Form is received by the Dean of Students Office.

First-Year Students

If you take a leave of absence or are required to withdraw prior to completing your first term, you will return to Harvard Yard upon your return to the College. If you take a leave of absence or are required to withdraw after your first term, you will participate in the Rising Sophomore Housing Lottery and will return to your assigned house. If you move off-campus after your first year and do not live at least one semester in your assigned house, you will be automatically affiliated with Dudley Community.

Returning to Housing

Any students who wish to return to on-campus housing must complete and submit a returning student application via the Residential Portal by the specified deadlines (Note: you can find the dates and deadlines here.).  If you submit this form after the deadline, you will be placed on a space available wait list for your House and are not guaranteed housing. 

If you are looking to return to on-campus housing after taking time away from on-campus housing, you must fill out a Returning Student Application.

Specific housing questions regarding roommates, room/suite selection, etc. should be addressed to the appropriate House Administrator.

Space Available Waitlist

If you do not submit the Returning Student Application (RSA) by the appropriate deadline for the term you wish to be housed, you will automatically be placed on your House’s Space Available Waitlist.  Students on the Space Available Waitlist are not guaranteed on-campus housing and will ordinarily be housed based on the date by which they submitted their Returning Student Application.

If you are on the space available waitlist, you will not be permitted to transfer Houses in an attempt to secure on-campus housing via the interhouse transfer process.

Term Bill Adjustments and Fees

Students cancelling their housing for any reason will be subject to the following financial obligations. The dates below refer to the date by which a student submits a housing cancellation form through the Residential Portal and checks out of their Dorm/House. Please note: we are unable to waive cancellation fees except in the most extraordinary circumstances. Per the Harvard College Handbook for Students: "Fees for late housing cancellation, late check-in, late course registration, and change-of-course petitions are waived only when the University is responsible for the difficulty or when the situation involves a serious illness of the student (usually including hospitalization) or a death in the student’s immediate family."

Fall 2021 Term

Amount Spring 2022 Term Amount

On or before August 11, 2021

$0 Before January 23 Waived

August 12, 2021 - September 1, 2021

$100 January 23, 2022 - April 26, 2022 $62.59/day

September 2, 2021 – December 1, 2021

$62.59/day After April 26,2022 $5,852.50

After December 1, 2021


Pro-Rated Room Charges

Room charges that are billed on a per-diem basis (see above) are charged based on the number of days between the first day of classes and the day you submit your housing cancellation form and move out/return your key.  No refunds for room or board will be processed until all housing cancellation and check out procedures are complete.  The Housing & Residential Life team does not manage charges or refunds for dining charges. Questions about dining charges should be directed to Sofia Printemps.

Studying Abroad

Students who plan to study abroad may not hear back from their program regarding their admission until after the deadlines above. Therefore, students are encouraged to cancel their housing and notify their house administrator that they are planning to study abroad and are waiting to confirm their enrollment in the program. If your abroad plans fall through, you may submit a returning student application and be placed on the space available wait list. Please note: students on the space available wait list may not receive the room they originally chose in the house lottery and we cannot guarantee space will become available for housing prior to move-in day. If you wish to delay a final decision about housing and/or study abroad and cancel after the deadline, you must pay the appropriate cancellation fee.

Moving Off-Campus

If you are planning to move off-campus, you should cancel your housing in the same way that students going on leave or studying abroad do, by visiting the residential portal. We also encourage you to discuss your decision with your House Administrator and to consider whether or not to affiliate with Dudley Community rather than maintaining your current House Affiliation.  Dudley Community has facilities and amenities specifically tailored to supporting non-residential students.  If you wish to affiliate with Dudley, you may do so at the time of your cancellation on the Housing Cancellation Form or, if already living off campus, submit a Request for Dudley Community Affiliation form (also located on the residential portal).  For questions about Dudley Community, please contact ududley@fas.harvard.edu.

If you move off-campus and need to update your mailing address in my.harvard, please should be in touch with your House Administrator and ask them to remove your House mailbox from the system.  My.Harvard will not let you update your mailing address if you still have an on-campus address.  

By default, students living off campus are not enrolled in the dining plan.  If you wish to retain access to the dining halls, please visit the Harvard University Dining Services website for more information on how to purchase a meal plan.