Our Path Forward

Residential Life, Housing,
and Student Activities

Academic Year 2020-21 Planning


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Our Promise to You

Within the Dean of Students Office, we make a commitment to you that we will do everything we can to help you thrive and succeed during this moment – personally, socially, and academically.

View our promise


Housing Availability

We hope to accommodate as many Harvard College students who are eligible to return as possible. Students learning remotely will retain their existing residential affiliations. 
The health and well-being of our entire community is our highest priority. All students who return to campus will be asked to follow a set of guidelines to help us ensure the safety of all of our students, staff, faculty, and neighbors. 

Mather House common room

About Campus

Housing Arrangements

In order to ensure that all students are housed, the Dean of Students Office will assign all students to suites directly. In order to meet public health guidance, students may need to live in a different location than they had planned. Information about housing assignments is forthcoming. 

  • All students returning to campus will have their own bedroom.
  • A limited number of students may share a bathroom.
  • Laundry rooms will be open. 
  • Other spaces may be either limited in capacity, closed or limited in access. The College will continue to assess the situation as public health guidance develops.
We anticipate that all students who confirm their fall housing invitations will see their room and board charges applied to their account by the week of August 3.
Undergraduate move-out will occur before Thanksgiving. Students should plan to vacate campus by Sunday, November 22nd, at 5:00pm. 

Housing Cancellations

If you are not eligible to return to campus, we will automatically cancel your housing for the fall semester. All housing cancellation fees for the fall 2020 term will be waived. 

You do not need to complete a Housing Cancellation Form unless you change your mind about returning after you have submitted the Housing Intention Form. 

Storage, Packing, and Move-In

If you have stored your belongings with Olympia, you can make arrangements with Olympia to extend your storage on a monthly basis or have them ship your items to you. Any student on financial aid will receive $175 towards these arrangements. If you have questions about your storage, please contact Olympia at 800.222.4744 or harvardstudent@olympiamoving.com. If you will be on campus for Fall 2020, storage will be left in your suite prior to your arrival. 

We strongly encourage all students to pack lightly. If the need arises to again de-densify campus, students will be responsible for their own shipping or storage. We advise students not to bring additional furniture beyond what is supplied by the College. 

In order to manage the number of students moving into a building at the same time and adhere to public health guidelines, we are spacing student move-in times out across the move-in period. We anticipate that move-in will run from Sunday, August 23 until Tuesday, September 1. Please note that these dates may be subject to change based on any evolving public health guidance.  Approved students will be assigned a timeslot by the end of the day on Monday, August 3. If you cannot move in during your assigned time slot, you can follow the process to request a new timeslot. Additional information about requesting a new timeslot will be included with the move-in logistics e-mail. 

You may bring one additional person to help you move in. They must adhere to the same face-covering and social distancing requirements as students. 

Campus Dining

Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) will continue operating the unlimited dining program for undergraduates. The specific means of service will modulate based on guidelines as dictated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Learn more on the HUDS website.

Accommodations and Transfers

Accommodations approved by the Accessible Education Office (AEO) will be honored. Please be in touch with AEO if you need to request accomodations.

We will honor all transfers that have already been approved. No transfers for the Fall from the inter-House transfer round 2 process will be accepted. We will continue to review options for transferring Houses for Spring 2021. 

Information Regarding Guests

In order to maintain community safety, guests – defined as those not assigned to a particular suite, including other Harvard College students living on or off-campus – will not be permitted.    

To contain the possibility of transmission, access to residences will be limited only to those assigned to that residence. Students will only have access to their assigned building. Students living off-campus will not have access to residential buildings. 

Who is automatically invited to return?

Harvard College is committed to the academic progression of our students, which we must pursue while protecting the health and safety of our community. Guided by this commitment, all course instruction for the 2020-21 academic year will be delivered online. First-year students, and students who have been approved to return due to inadequate conditions for learning in their home environment, will be invited to return to campus for the Fall 2020 term. Read the FAS Fall 2020 Plans.
All Harvard College students currently living on campus will be eligible to remain on campus for the fall. 
The College will continue to monitor the situation and assess the success of the fall 2020 plan before making a decision about the spring term.
All students who are invited to return should fill out the Housing Intention Form, Residential Community Compact, and the Enrollment Confirmation Form no later than Monday, July 24. 

How to Request Housing

Step 1

Complete the Learning Environment Questionnaire (LEQ) by July 13

Harvard College is committed to ensuring a secure and supportive learning environment for all students. If you are concerned about your ability to learn successfully in your current environment, please complete and send us the LEQ by Monday, July 13 at 11:59pm EDT.

Students currently living on campus will be eligible to return, however, these students should also complete the LEQ in my.harvard by Monday, July 13 so that we can understand their learning environment needs.


Step 3

Sign the Residential Community Compact by July 24

The College created a community compact that provides guidance to help all who live on campus maintain a safe and healthy environment. All students invited to live on campus will be required to sign the compact when they complete the Housing Intention Form. Both the Residential Community Compact and the Housing Intention Form must be submitted by Friday, July 24.

Residential Community Compact

Step 2

Complete the Housing Intention Form by July 24

The College Committee will review LEQs through Monday, July 20 at which point they will release their decisions. If you are part of the cohort or the review commitee invites you to return to campus, you must complete the Housing Intention Form by Friday, July 24. You must complete this form even if you choose to reject the invitation to return to campus.

Log Into the Residential Portal


Step 4

Complete the Enrollment Confirmation Form by July 24

If you decide to complete the LEQ, please wait to complete the Enrollment Confirmation Form in my.harvard until you receive a response from the review committee. 

Enrollment Confirmation Form




Student Activities

The College will continue to offer a robust set of virtual programs that you can participate in no matter where you are! In person events will not take place until it is absolutely safe for us to host them. After Orientation wraps up, student organizations and other office programs will ramp up their activities. Be sure to keep an eye out for our You're Invited newsletter and check the HUB calendar for the latest events.

Log into the HUB


The Yard in the fall

Guidelines for Student Organizations

New Organizations

The process for starting new student organizations will continue as usual this Fall. We welcome you to submit an application and will conduct approval meetings remotely. Keep an eye on The Hub for updates and deadlines!

Virtual Events

Student organizations are encouraged to host virtual events! Please reach out to our student organization team with any questions about what activites are permitted or if you need help planning a virtual event.


Student organizations will be held to active Harvard travel policies for all of their activities. Currently, under those guidelines, all University-related international and domestic travel is prohibited until further notice.


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m an incoming student. When will I learn about my assigned Yard, resident dean, and proctor?

On Friday, July 31 you’ll learn which of the four Yards you’ve been assigned to, as well as your Resident Dean. Notification will be made by email to your @college email address. You’ll be welcomed to your assigned Yard and meet your Resident Dean during the first Orientation module on August 1.

Whether you’re living on campus or studying remotely, all students also are assigned to an entryway and supported by a proctor....

Read more about I’m an incoming student. When will I learn about my assigned Yard, resident dean, and proctor?

I'm a first-year student. When will I learn about my housing assignment?

You’ll learn about your room assignment, and any suite-mates by the end of day on Monday, August 10. Notification will be made by email to your @college email address. The message will also include information about your assigned entryway, proctor, bathroom, and mailing address.

While this is later than we typically share this information, we have had to adjust our timeline and housing processes in order to give students enough time to make their decisions about their plans for the fall. We anticipate that we will finalize housing assignments during the first...

Read more about I'm a first-year student. When will I learn about my housing assignment?

If I'm a first-year student, can I study remotely in the fall instead of coming to campus?

Yes. Please make sure to complete the Housing Intention Form by July 24 to let us know that you do not plan to come to campus in the fall. All students, whether they live on campus or study remotely, will be assigned a Yard and entryway, and be supported by residential staff: Resident Dean, Proctor, and Peer Advising Fellow (PAF). Read more about If I'm a first-year student, can I study remotely in the fall instead of coming to campus?

If I take a leave of absence this fall (2020), will I be guaranteed housing when I request to return to campus?

For students from all classes, one of the factors that you should consider is a practical one – the availability of housing upon your return. It is always possible that we will have too many students seeking to live on campus and we may not be able to house everyone on campus. In the event there is excess demand for housing in academic year 21–22 or thereafter, Harvard will establish and share a process by which students may apply for undergraduate residential housing. 
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