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Room Changes

First Year Students

The Director for the First Year Focus makes room changes for first-year students on a case-by-case basis only.  Any students with roommate concerns will first participate in a roommate discussion/negotiation during which time the roommate contract will be evaluated and adjusted as needed.  

For more information, please talk to your RA or contact Courtney Bazan Colvin, Director for the First Year Focus.

 

Upperclass Students

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors may request a room change in the Fall (mid-September), for the Spring semester (early December), or in the Spring (late January).  Rising-Seniors only may request a room change over the summer after the Room Selection process. 

Room changes at any other point in the academic year will only be granted after students have demonstrated an attempt to mediate any roommate/suitemate conflicts.  Any room changes that are not approved by Residential Life & Housing are a violation of policy and the responsible student(s) will be required to return to their previous room and will be subject to conduct sanctions and monetary fines.

Students vacating the residence halls at the end of the Fall semester are expected to help accommodate any student who may be moving into their space for the Spring semester.  Students making a December room change will be required to move their belongings prior to departure for Winter Break and to coordinate the move with the Fall semester occupant of the room.

Columbia students in residence at Barnard are guided by the room change policies and procedures of Columbia University.  Barnard students in residence at Columbia are guided by the policies and procedures of Barnard College.

Please note that room change requests & preferences based upon race, ethnicity, religion, religious practices, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical characteristic, and/or national origin cannot be accommodated.

Students who have a vacancy in their room / suite may submit a Roommate / Suitemate Request Form during the Room Change Request periods, to mutually request a specific student to move into the vacancy. Please note that the submission of a Roommate / Suitemate Request Form does not guarantee that the requested student will be given the vacancy as a room change.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

If I apply for a room change, will I get one?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that all students who submit a request will receive a room change.  The likelihood of receiving a room change depends on the number of vacancies available, the criteria of a student's request, and/or on the number & types of requests from other students.

What can I do to improve my chances of getting a room change?

The more flexible the criteria you specify on your Room Change Request form (indicating what types/locations of rooms you’d be willing to switch to), the more likely a room change may be possible.  However, you should only specify room types & residence halls you would be willing to live in because all granted room changes must be completed.

If I request to move into a specific vacant room, am I guaranteed to get a room change?

No. While Residential Life & Housing will attemp to assign students to requested vacant room if possible, it cannot be guaranteed.  Because room change requests are considered in Class Year priority, a request by a Sophomore to move into a specific single might not not be possible if there are not enough spaces elsewhere in order to provide room changes for Senior & Junior applicants.
 
Note: requests to move into a specific vacancy will not be considered unless the current occupants submit a Roommate/Suitemate Request Form, mutually requesting to live with that student, by the room change request deadline.  Submission of this form does not guarantee that the requestor will receive a room change to that spot.

If I get a room change, will I have to pay more?

If granted a room change to a more expensive room type (i.e. moving from a multiple to a single), you will be responsible for submitting payment to the Bursar for the the prorated increase in room rate.  If you are moving to a less expensive room type (i.e. moving from a single to a multiple), you will receive a prorated credit on your Bursar account.
 
If granted a room change to a location that requires a more comprehensive meal plan (i.e. moving to floors 2-8 of the Quad), you will be required to complete paperwork with the Bursar office to change to the Quad Upperclass Meal Plan.  If you receive a room change to a location outside floors 2-8 of the Quad and wish to change to a less comprehensive meal plan, you will need to complete paperwork with the Bursar office.

What if there is a vacancy in my room/suite or my roommate/suitemate gets a room change?

You will more than likely be assigned a roommate/suitemate.  If you know someone specific who is interested in moving into that vacant space and submits a Room Change Request form requesting so, you should submit a Roommate/Suitemate Request form no later than the deadline for the Room Change Request forms.  The names and signatures of all roommates / suitemates must be on the form.  No late forms will be accepted.
 
Also, please note that the granting of a room change is not guaranteed, so your roommate / suitemate may not receive a room change.

If a space remains open in your room after the Room Change Request process, you must continue to keep this space open and ready for occupancy at any time. Vacancies may be used later in the semester for emergency room changes.

Can you give me a list of empty rooms to pick from?

Unfortunately we cannot provide a list of empty rooms.  There are few vacant rooms at any time.  Room changes are more of a game of "musical chairs," where one student receiving a room change creates a vacancy which may be assigned to another student requesting a room change.  It is impossible to predict which rooms may be available for room changes until all the requests forms have been submitted and reviewed.

Can I request to buy out my double room as a single?

Due to the increase in demand for housing, it is usually not possible to request to buy out a double room as a single.  On rare occasions, Residential Life & Housing may give a student a room change to an empty double as a single (at the single room rate), if there are no competing room change requests to fill that room; however, it is not possible to specifically request this.