Parent & Family FAQ

 

What are the “College Houses”?

College Housing at UChicago is the collection of 38 undergraduate Houses in 7 residence hall buildings. The House is the basic unit of community life, it serves as a “home base” for students: a place where they can relax, study, and spend time with friends. A House consists of a group of seventy students (on average) sharing a cluster of individual rooms and common areas within the residence hall. Each House has its own traditions, its own House Council, and its own Resident Head and Resident Assistant(s). Each House has its own designated “House Tables” in one of the residential dining commons, so residents of the College Houses always have a place to sit and dine with friends, if they wish. The House Tables provide a space in which House community members share meals, engage in academic debate, and socialize with friends. Weekly House meetings and active House Councils bring students together for cultural activities, fundraising, intramural sports, and activities downtown and in the various ethnic and cultural neighborhoods. In sum, living in the College Houses advances students’ academic and social adjustment to college and educates students on community living. To learn more about our communities, visit the Halls & Houses section of our website.

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Who is required to live in the College Houses?

As a residential College, and in order to help facilitate the best opportunity for transition, all first year students are required to live in the College Houses at the University of Chicago. While living in the College Houses is not required beyond the first year, many students elect to return as having a “four class” experience is one of our strengths and a source of pride. Housing is guaranteed for all College students, so even those who move off-campus and later decide to move back on, may do so.

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Who are the resident staff in the College Houses? What is their role?

The resident staff for each House or residence hall are all, in their own right, active members of the University community. There are three kinds of resident staff, two of which are in every House.

Resident Heads are advanced graduate students or University administrative staff, most with families (and sometimes with pets), who reside in each of the Houses. They open their homes to House meetings, cheer on the House’s intramural sports teams, host study breaks, and most importantly are available at all hours to help students with anything from accessing emergency health care to finding a student organization of their interest. Resident Heads assume many roles: mentors, role models, social directors, arbitrators. No less important, they offer informal guidance to students who seek or require counsel. Though parents are welcome to contact Resident Heads, the confidential nature of staff-student relationships prevents Resident Heads from sharing information without students’ consent.

Resident Assistants (RAs) are usually third or fourth year students who also live in each House. Undergraduate students themselves, typically, RAs know the ropes around campus and offer younger students the benefit of their friendship and experience.

In the six largest residence halls, Resident Masters, senior faculty members in the University, host residence hall-wide events to develop hall-wide affinity and relationships. Examples of the kinds of programming they offer include: dinners with faculty guests, receptions, outings to the symphony or the opera, and discussions with luminaries from all corners of University and public life.

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Can my student request special housing based on a medical condition? Disability?

We understand that some students have chronic psychological or medical conditions, including asthma or environmental or food allergies. Due to the process that we use to make room assignments (that of using the date of payment of the enrollment deposit) it is not possible for us to ensure a request to live in a particular residence hall for a health reason such as these, even if provided a physician’s note. If, however, your student goes through the accommodations process and has a disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and your student has requested and received accommodation from Student Disabilities Services, we will have been notified of your students needs so that we could assign accessible housing for your student. Please note that all residence halls, including student rooms are non-smoking.

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When can my student expect to learn their housing assignment?

Entering students receive housing assignments in the summer before they arrive on campus. They are typically made available on the http://my.uchicago.edu portal by the end of the first full week of August. Upperclass students select their own rooms in May of each year during a phased “Lottery” process.

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When can my student move into their housing assignment for the Autumn Quarter?

Entering students move into the residence halls approximately 10 days prior to the first day of classes in order to participate in Orientation Week. Upperclass students returning to live in the College Houses may move into the residence halls the weekend prior to the first day of classes for the Autumn Quarter.

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If my student changes rooms, will we have to pay a different room rate?

All first year students, regardless of the location of their room assignment, or room type, are assessed the same room rate. Upperclass and transfer students’ room rates vary, depending on the type of room they are assigned (single, double, or unit with kitchen). Upperclass and transfer students with aid should consult with the Office of College Aid for additional information on the impact changing rooms has on a student’s financial aid.

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What if my student does not get along with a roommate?

We ask students to first communicate directly with one another to work towards a solution that is amenable for all residents of the room. If this strategy does not work, or a roommate is unwilling to compromise, then students are asked to seek out the counsel and assistance of their Resident Head(s). The intervention from a Resident Head can range from a conversation with the concerned student, to a mediated discussion with the roommates involved. Students are permitted to place themselves on a waitlist requesting a room change throughout most of the academic year. This waitlist is known as the “General Waitlist” and students are attended to on a first come-first serve basis, except for Orientation Week each year when first year student requests are randomized in order to permit first year students the ability to attend to their first priority that week – attending all their required appointments and meetings. There are periods in each quarter when no room changes are permitted.

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What if I have to contact College Housing due to an emergency?

Our regular office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-5:00PM, central standard time. For urgent or emergency situations, please contact College Housing first at 773-702-7366 during office hours, or after hours, please contact the University Dean-On-Call by calling the University Police at 773-702-8181.

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Can my student change his/her meal plan?

First year students remain on the Unlimited Meal Plan for the duration of their first year. Upperclass students who live in a single or a double room are assigned to the Unlimited plan, but may change to the Phoenix plan if they wish – during meal plan change periods. Upperclass students who live in an apartment are assigned to the Apartment meal plan, but may change to the Phoenix or Unlimited meal plan if they wish. Additional information on our meal plans is available on the Residential Dining section of our website. 

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What are Maroon Dollars?

Maroon Dollars are a type of currency that students may use to purchase meals and a la carte items in various locations on campus. All but one meal plan include a certain amount of Maroon Dollars, and students may also purchase additional Maroon Dollars. Additional Maroon Dollars may be purchased by completing a form at the UChicago Dining office or at College Housing (the charges are added to the Bursar bill). Maroon Dollars work like a debit card; each time a purchase is made, the money is subtracted from the student’s Maroon Dollar account. One Maroon Dollar has the buying power of $1. Maroon Dollar balances remaining at the end of each quarter roll over to the next quarter; however, all Maroon Dollars expire at the end of the academic year, and any remaining balances is not refundable. Additionally, if a student’s status changes to that of being on a leave of absence or withdrawing from the University, the student will not be able to access the Maroon Dollars on their account, and any balance at that time is also not refundable.

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Do unused Maroon Dollars carry over to the following quarter?

Maroon Dollars are allocated on a quarterly basis and any unused amount will carry over from one quarter to the next within an academic year as long as the student remains a full-time registered student. Maroon Dollar balances remaining at the end of the academic year are not refundable and do not carry forward into the next academic year.

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Who should I contact with questions about charges on my student’s Bursar bill?

If the charges are related to your student’s room assignment, meal plan or Maroon Dollars, please contact College Housing (773-702-7366). If you have questions about any other charges or fees, please contact the Bursar (773-702-8000).

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Does the University carry personal property insurance for students?

The University of Chicago does not insure the personal belongings of its residents, and will not compensate for losses due to theft, fire, water damage, etc. Students and parents are urged to review the coverage of the family’s existing homeowners’ policy to see what coverage is, or may be, available to the student while living in the residence halls. CSI Insurance Agency is a private company not affiliated with the University which provides personal property protection. For information please call 1-888-411-4911 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, or go to their website, www.collegestudentinsurance.com.

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We live a long distance away from Chicago, can my student store their belongings during the summer months?

A reasonable amount of personal property may be kept in the storage areas of each residence hall for students who live in College Housing and who have reserved a room in College Housing for the following academic year. The University will not assume liability for personal property placed in the storage areas, and discourages the storage of electronics or other valuables. Please note that the University limits the amount of stored items to 5 boxes. All items must be boxed and labeled. Large pieces of furniture cannot be accommodated.

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How do I send my student a package or postal mail?

Letters, magazines, and packages sent to students at the University should be addressed to the street address of the residence hall in which they reside. Building names or simply “ University of Chicago” are not sufficient for the US Post Office, and mail addressed in this manner will be returned to sender. An address should read:

Student Name
Residence Hall Name, Room Number
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

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What is expected of students during the break periods?

Only residents of Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons (GGRC) and International House may occupy their rooms during break periods (except summer). Students who live in any other hall have to leave by 12:00PM noon on the Saturday of Finals Week when all the other halls close to residents for the break period. However, non-GGRC residents may receive permission from GGRC residents to reside in their GGRC room during the interim periods while they are away. Resident Heads will announce the timeline/deadline for submitting the associated form several weeks prior to the end of each quarter. No interim housing is permitted in I-House for non-residents.

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When can my student plan to make travel arrangements to return home during breaks?

Students should take care to not make end-of-quarter travel arrangements that conflict with final exams. Those who have to make reservations before exam schedules become available at the start of each quarter should plan to travel on the Saturday of Finals Week. The residence halls remain open until 12:00PM noon on that Saturday. Travel plans for the return to campus should not conflict with the first class of the following quarter. Many courses require attendance at the first class to confirm enrollment. The residence halls re-open at 8:00AM on the day before classes resume for the Winter and Spring Quarters.

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Can my student live off campus as an upperclass student?

After the first year, some students choose to live off campus. If living off campus will lower housing expenses, a financial aid award may be reduced. The total family contribution usually remains the same. Please consult with the Office of College Aid for additional information on the impact living off campus has on a student’s financial aid.

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Can my student bring a car to campus?

First-year students are not permitted to have cars, and upperclass students are strongly discouraged from bringing cars to campus. Street parking is scarce and University parking facilities charge fees during weekday business hours.

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How will my student get around campus and the city?

Many students choose to bring or buy a bicycle, which is a convenient mode of transportation. It is strongly recommended that a bicycle always be secured with a U-shaped lock and that students register their bike with the University Police. Also, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses travel throughout campus and the surrounding Hyde Park-South Kenwood neighborhoods during the day and evening. The University provides free neighborhood transportation on designated CTA routes, and free night-time shuttles. Students must show their UChicago ID in order to ride these routes for free. Buses and trains make other parts of the city easily accessible.

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How does my student sign up for a room in the College Houses for future years?

In May of every Spring Quarter, College Housing runs a three-phase lottery process whereby current residents may select their own rooms for the following academic year. The three phases honor the connection that students typically have to their community – the In-House lottery is first, followed by the Hall Lottery, and the final phase is the General Lottery where a portion of the remaining spaces are made available to students who wish to move around the College Houses. In addition to selecting their own rooms, students may also select their roommate(s). The majority – 70% – of the first year class returns to live in the College Houses for their second year in the College.

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If I have any additional questions, who may I contact?

You are welcome to email College Housing at collegehousing@uchicago.edu or call us at (773) 702-7366 with any questions or concerns. Our regular office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-5:00PM central standard time. For urgent or emergency situations, please contact College Housing first at the phone number listed above during office hours, or after hours, please contact the University Dean-On-Call by calling the University Police at (773) 702-8181.

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