If you live on-campus, you should be aware of certain rules and regulations that
your school is likely to have. It's not easy for a school to keep tabs on the
hundreds or even thousands of students that live on-campus. Having students sign
housing agreements helps schools to protect not only themselves, but the
students as well. The following are some rules and regulations that you're
likely to encounter.
Agreements, Rights, and Responsibilities
When taking up
residence in a dorm at your school, you'll usually have to sign some sort of
consent or agreement form. This form outlines the agreements between you and
your school as well as the rights and responsibilities you will have throughout
the school year. Here are a few common agreements, rights, and responsibilities:
- General housing and meal plan contract – You'll probably have to sign
a residence contract, which is a binding housing contract, similar to a lease.
Many schools require students to purchase a meal plan as part of their housing
- Entering student rooms – Most schools reserve the right to enter and
inspect your room to make sure that you and your roommate(s) are complying with
housing standards. This is also a means for the school to maintain safety and
- Room changes and reassignments – Sometime after moving in, you should
have the right to switch rooms. This will require the agreement and signatures
of all parties involved in the change. At the same time, your school may reserve
the right to reassign you to a new room or assign you a new roommate (though
this is rarely done).
- Room damages – You will be responsible for any damage done to your
room during the time you were living there. When you check in at your dorm, you
should receive a room-damages form, which will allow you to document any damages
that are already in the room. At the end of the year, you will be liable for any
damage in the room that isn't listed on the room damages form.
State and Federal Regulations
Schools are not exempt from any
state or federal laws, so you'll have to follow them as well. The two main
considerations are smoking regulations and the alcohol policy.
- Smoking – Every state has its own regulations when it comes to
smoking at school. For instance, some states have banned smoking from all
college-owned or -operated residences. Your school may have its own additional
regulations that go above and beyond state law. If you smoke, you should look
into your school's smoking regulations.
- Alcohol – At no school, in any state, are you allowed to have alcohol
in your room if you're under 21 years of age; as long as there is a minor living
in the room, you cannot have alcohol in the room. Some schools' alcohol policies
are even more strict and may ban alcohol altogether.
You're bound to have a whole host of other rules for
. You'll usually have rules regarding:
- Air conditioners
- Appliances (usually, you can't have anything with an open heat source like
coffee makers, hot plates, toasters, or space heaters.)
- Room keys (regarding replacements, etc.)
- Halogen lamps (probably not permitted)
- Restricted or dangerous substances (drugs, explosive materials, etc.)
- Fire safety
- Quiet hours and noise
- Usage of common areas
The above should give you an idea of what to
expect from your school. Every school, however, is different, so make sure you
check with your school to find out about their specific policies. Knowing these
well will help make your living situation much easier.