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Upperclass Housing: Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions. If you find that your question has not been answered, please Contact Us.


We've compiled the following information to help clarify some of the questions and myths regarding on-Grounds living. For any questions you have, contact Housing & Residence Life at (434) 924-3736 or email housing@virginia.edu.

1. 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, bus stops, libraries, and food service outlets.
  • Flexibility: You can change rooms, if necessary - a luxury you won't have off-Grounds.
  • Services: Maintenance staff take care of problems and are available 24/7 for emergency repairs. Housekeeping staff clean the common areas. Resident Staff members support your 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. The University has to meet high standards for fire safety and our facilities are inspected annually by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

2. 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 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-month, so more than likely you will be paying for 3 months you don't need, or have to deal with the sublet process in a difficult market.
  • On-Grounds housing includes all utilities, 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 are fully furnished in both the living room and bedrooms, whereas most off-Grounds accommodations come unfurnished.

3. What housing options are available for me on Grounds?

  • Apartments: Lambeth, Bice, Copeley and Faulkner.
  • Hallway-style: Johnson, Malone, Weedon.
  • Residential Colleges: Brown College, Hereford College and the International Residential College.
  • Language Houses: Russian, Spanish, French, German and the Shea House, which includes Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi/Urdu, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Persian language groups.
For a summary of options, see the Upperclass Housing flyer. For detailed information on each area, including floorplans and photos, see Housing Options for Returning Undergraduates.

4. Is there space available for me in on-Grounds housing?

Yes! Housing has always been available for all Rising 2nd Year students who complete and submit an application by the appropriate deadline.

5. Am I guaranteed housing as a 3rd or 4th year student?

If you stay in on-Grounds housing as a 2nd 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 so that you will receive an offer.

6. How do I apply for on-Grounds housing?

You can apply for 2015-16 housing from the U.Va. Housing Portal beginning on October 17, 2014 if you want to stay in the same area or apply to a residential college or language house. General housing applications will be available December 1, 2014. 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. See our Application Dates page to find deadlines applicable to you.

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.

Application process:
  • Six-person and four-person apartments are available in Lambeth, Bice, Copeley and Faulkner. The University offers double and single hallway-style rooms in Johnson, Malone, and Weedon.
  • Students begin the application by creating a roommate group or joining an existing group. Groups of four or six will be given priority in the assignment process for apartments. Students who prefer a hallway-style room can create a roommate group if you wish to select single rooms nearby, or you can remain a group of one person. Roommate groups can change until the application deadline.
  • The student who creates the group will serve as the leader. The group leader will receive a randomly generated timeslot to select rooms 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.

7. 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 housing@virginia.edu 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 guaranteed 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 a smaller apartment.

8. 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 pursue remaining on-Grounds options starting in March after Spring Break. If you accept an on-Grounds offer, you are able to change your room assignment online starting two weeks after the start of the fall semester.

9. 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 housing unless you are able to find an approved replacement person who can take over the assignment. Please understand that the Housing contract is a binding legal document and can only be cancelled within 2 days from the date your contract is due.

10. How does studying abroad affect my on-Grounds housing, and what steps do I need to take once I decide to go abroad?

We will release students studying abroad from their housing contracts. The steps to be released are as follows-

Study abroad during future academic years:
  • You may sign up for the same area. Once you know for sure that you are studying abroad, our office will need this information in writing (email to housing@virginia.edu) in order to cancel your contract.
Study abroad during the current academic year, spring semester:
  • All you need to do is email our office that 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 and return your room key(s).
Study abroad during the current academic year, fall semester:
  • If you wish to return to housing for spring semester, just complete the spring semester housing application online (available in early November). Spring semester housing offers are available around the first of December.

11. What if I'm planning to graduate mid-year?

If graduating in December you will need to inform Housing and Residence Life in writing (email to housing@virginia.edu) in order to ensure you are not charged for spring term housing. Your account is updated once your room keys are returned to our office in Kent House.