TCRs for 2015-2016 Residence Halls & Eastview Terrace
Terms, Conditions, and Regulations (TCRs) of the Housing and Food Service Contract for Undergraduate Residence Halls and Food Service Operations for the 2015-2016 academic year
The University reserves the right to revise or amend the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations at any time without notice.
Please read the following information thoroughly and keep it for reference throughout your stay in University housing.
- Introductory Information
- Reasonable Housing Accommodations Requests
- Campus Meal Plan
- Checking Into the Room
- Checking Out of the Room
- Room Changes
- Contract Cancellation
- Refund Policies
- Maintenance of the Room
- Policies and Regulations
Penn State strives to provide a residence environment that is both comfortable and conducive to learning and personal growth. The University assigns housing accommodations without regard to personal characteristics, not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy, or by state or federal authorities. The University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. All students should familiarize themselves with the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of living on campus.
The Housing and Food Service Contract is legally binding and begins when the student accepts the Contract. Students are expected to abide by the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of the Housing and Food Service Contract, which includes assuming financial responsibility for the entire contract period. Residence accommodations are available only on a combined room-and-board basis unless otherwise noted. The Housing and Food Service Contract cannot be transferred or assigned to another student except as outlined in the “Contract Transfer of Obligation” process. The Penn State id+ Card provides access to the residence hall security system and the Campus Meal Plan, and may be used only by the student to whom it is issued. Failure to pick up the room key or properly check in does not release a student from the Housing and Food Service Contract.
When a student accepts the Housing and Food Service Contract, a $100 non-refundable housing deposit must also be submitted, or the student must agree that the University can charge the housing deposit to the student’s Bursar account if the housing deposit is not on file. The housing deposit will not be refunded if the student decides to not attend the University for the student’s admitted contract period. The University will retain the housing deposit throughout the contract period that the student resides in University Housing, until the student no longer has a Housing and Food Service Contract on file with the University for future academic periods. The housing deposit will be credited to the student’s account within 30 days after the final contract period the student resides on campus ends.
Student who feel that they have a significant chronic physical or emotional condition that may affect the assigned housing environment must submit the Reasonable Accommodations Request Form for Housing by the deadline indicated on the Medical Accommodations guidelines. A student must have a valid, accepted Housing Contract before the form can be submitted. If the Reasonable Accommodations Request Form for Housing is received after the deadline date, Housing Contract preferences for area, building, Special Living Options, and/or roommate will be reviewed but only taken into consideration if space permits. The Housing Accommodation Form determination will supersede any preferences indicated on the Housing Contract. If the Reasonable Accommodations Request Form for Housing is received after room assignments are posted, Housing reserves the right to reassign the student to a space that will meet the medical need. This move will only accommodate the student requiring the medical need, and not any requested roommate(s). If a student is offered a change to the housing environment, an additional cost may be associated with the resulting assignment or requests. Once the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form for Housing is submitted, the student will be reassigned appropriately, as space permits.
Students who have questions about this process should contact the The Assignment Office. Students requiring special assistance for academic activities should contact the Office for Disability Services.
Temporary Medical Conditions
Room changes for temporary medical conditions are valid only for the academic year in which they are filed. If a student needs to request a temporary housing accommodation, the student’s attending physician must complete the Reasonable Accommodations Request Form for Housing. Once the medical need is established, the student will be moved to a space that will best accommodate his or her need until the accommodation is no longer required, or until the end of the contracted period should the original room assignment be assigned to another student with a Housing Contract.
Meningococcal Disease Vaccination
The University is required by state law to maintain meningococcal vaccination information for every student who lives on campus. All Penn State students residing in on-campus housing, including all residence halls and apartments, are required to comply with this law by indicating acknowledgement of this requirement when accepting a Housing Contract. More information about meningococcal disease can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Students must be in registered status as degree-seeking at University Park to reside in University-owned housing. Registered status is when the student has paid the semester bill in full and acknowledged the bill in eLion. Students who have not paid the student bill will be asked to vacate the residence hall and officially check out of the room. The Housing Contract for the current and future semesters will be canceled. A financial hold will be placed on the student’s records until all charges incurred have been paid in full.
Change of Campus Registration
Upperclass students who are currently attending another Penn State campus and are planning a change of campus (COC) to University Park may request a Housing Contract through the Online Contract System during the advertised process. The student must initiate the change of campus process at his or her current campus. If the change of campus to University Park is not approved, it is the student's responsibility to contact Assignment Office to cancel the University Park Housing Contract. If a student's University academic records reflect a campus other than University Park after July 1, his or her room assignment will be held until the change of campus to University Park is complete. Students who have not completed the change of campus by the last day of the second summer session will lose their room assignment and will be placed in space reserved until the change of campus is approved. The student will then be assigned to either a regular or supplemental room, whichever is available. If the change of campus to University Park is not approved, and the student does not notify the Assignment Office prior to arrival day, the student’s contract will be canceled and the student will forfeit the $100 housing deposit.
University Academic Drop
A student who is academically dropped by the University is responsible for notifying the Assignment Office of their status. The student must pay any room and board charges incurred during a stay on campus to the Assignment Office. Students who become re-enrolled during the contract period will be obligated to the remaining portion of the contract.
Break Access Housing
A Break Access Housing Contract is an option for a student who is unable to leave campus during break periods when the residence hall closes. This option is available when the student accepts the Housing Contract and indicates housing preferences in eLiving. There is an additional semester fee for Break Access housing, which is charged to the student’s account per semester. Students with a Break Access Housing Contract will be assigned to a designated building. Students with this contract can indicate a roommate preference, but not a room or building preference. Food Service options may be limited during break periods, as residential food service operations close during the breaks. Food service is not provided to students residing in Break Access housing and is not included in the fee.
Rental Contract Periods
There are four rental contract periods for assignment to University Park residence halls, Nittany Apartments, and Eastview Terrace. A separate contract request must be accepted for each applicable period a student is interested in residing on campus. The University retains the right to not offer a particular housing option during a rental period based on demand or maintenance work scheduled.
- Academic Year (fall and spring)
- Break Access Housing (includes fall, winter [between fall and spring semesters], and spring breaks when the residence halls are closed)
- Spring Semester
- Summer Session
First-year students are required to live on campus per the following timeline:
|Semester Admitted||Residency Requirement|
|Summer Session||summer session, fall semester, spring semester|
|Fall Semester||fall semester, spring semester|
|Spring Semester||spring semester (optional offer for following academic year available)|
Campus Meal Plan
The Housing and Food Service Contract includes the Campus Meal Plan for students residing in traditional residence halls. All undergraduate students residing in the residence halls are required to purchase the Campus Meal Plan for each semester/session the student is living on campus and pay the total rate for the Campus Meal Plan, based on the level selected. Depending upon the level selected, the available dining dollars used to make actual meal purchases may not be enough to cover all meals during a semester/session.
Academic Year Meal Plan Level Options
The Campus Meal Plan offers six levels, with varying dining dollars available to purchase meals. When the Housing Contract is accepted, the Campus Meal Plan is defaulted to level three. To adjust the level, the student can log in to eLiving and select a different level. Levels can be adjusted during the semester until seven days before the end of the semester. Levels can be adjusted online higher or lower as applicable.
Campus Meal Plan Account Balances
Remaining dining dollars at the end of summer session will carry over to fall semester, and from fall semester to spring semester, provided the student has an active Campus Meal Plan. Even if dining dollars are carried over to the next semester, students are still required to purchase the Campus Meal Plan and pay the total semester board rate for the level selected. Students who have a large amount of dining dollars at the end of fall semester should select a lower level for spring semester. Any remaining dining dollars at the end of spring semester are forfeited, and no refunds will be offered.
Transfer of the Campus Meal Plan to Another Student
The Campus Meal Plan cannot be transferred or assigned to another student. The id+ Card is used as the meal access card and may be used only by the student to whom the card is issued.
A student with special dietary requirements (religious, medical, personal, dietary preference, etc.) that cannot be fulfilled by individual selection from the menu choices must contact the Residential Dining Office prior to accepting the Housing and Food Service Contract. If Campus Dining is unable to provide reasonable accommodations, the student may be exempted from the Campus Meal Plan for the student’s first year of residency only. Should the student pursue living on campus for subsequent years, the exemption will not apply if the student accepts a Housing Contract.
If the student has accepted the Housing and Food Service Contract and subsequently develops a medical condition that requires a special diet, the student may be required to submit medical documentation verified by University Health Services. If the documentation confirms dietary requirements that Campus Dining is unable to accommodate, the Campus Meal Plan will be canceled for the remaining days of the session/semester, a prorated credit processed, and the student will be required to make alternative food arrangements. Students with questions about special diets should contact the Residential Dining Office prior to accepting the Housing and Food Service Contract.
Removing Food or Unauthorized Entry into the Dining Commons
When dining in the all-you-care-to-eat locations, takeout options are one piece of hand fruit (apple, orange, or banana) and one ice cream cone. Removing additional food or beverages, dishes, or silverware from the dining room or entering the dining commons without paying for the meal will be considered theft. Theft in the dining commons is a serious issue that will result in disciplinary action by the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct,, and/or University Police. Further repercussions could include cancellation of the Housing and Food Service Contract. Campus Dining reserves the right to examine customers' backpacks or bags when they exit the dining commons. Acts of horseplay, food fights, and inline skates are prohibited. Students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
Meals During Illness
If a student is ill and unable to have meals in the dining commons, they can request a meal from the dining commons office.
Check-In and Room Inspection Form
Information about when check-in will be held for each semester will be announced in advance through the Housing Arrival site. Students should plan on arriving on the appropriate scheduled arrival day, unless arrangements have been made for a special group to arrive early.
The student must be present to check in; a parent or other family member may not check in for the student. The student must present his or her Penn State id+ Card or other valid photo identification at check-in to receive a room key. Each student will receive one room key at the time of check-in and will sign an acknowledgment of receiving the room key. Information about the student’s mailbox will also be provided.
The student must complete the Room Inspection Form in eLiving within seven days of check-in. The Room Inspection Form is used to identify any damages or missing items in the room and will be verified when the student checks out of the room. Any damages or missing items not noted will be charged to the student’s account.
Unless the student requests an extension of the arrival period in writing to the Assignment Office, the University is not obliged to hold a specific room assignment later than 5 p.m. of the first day of classes. Students must accept other available accommodations if they arrive after that time and will be obligated for full room and board charges if enrolled at the University.
Check-Out and Room Key
All rooms, regardless of the date or circumstances, should be clean and in good condition at the time of check-out. Students should notify the Housing Office regarding the date of check-out and determine a time the room can be inspected.
Students must return the room key to the area commons desk in the envelope provided in the student’s mailbox prior to check-out. If a student does not return a room key, the cost to change the lock will be charged to the student's account.
Any items a student leaves in the room will be handled in accordance with the lost and found policy. For additional information about the check-out process and room inspection, refer to Moving Out.
Only students withdrawing from the University are permitted to cancel the Housing and Food Service Contract. Students who leave the University during the contracted period must notify the Assignment Office of the change of enrollment status before vacating the room.
University Break Periods
University Housing is closed during University breaks. Dates of closing and opening will be posted on bulletin boards in the residence halls and are posted online. Room and board rates do not include services during official University breaks. Students who have a Break Access/Holiday Housing Contract and assigned to a designated Break Access building will not be required to vacate the room during breaks and can remain until the end of the contracted period. At the end of each semester, residence halls close at 4 p.m. on the day following the last scheduled examination for official University courses, as announced by the University Registrar.
Direct Room Exchange
A direct room exchange is a change of assignment with another student of the same gender with a compatible Housing Contract. Students must use the online Room Exchange eBoard to post their room, search available postings, or conduct a direct room exchange. There are some restrictions to room exchanges, depending upon room type, such as Break Access Housing or rooms with medical accommodations. A direct room exchange cannot be processed for students assigned to a medically-equipped room due to a medical need unless the change is to a similarly equipped room.
Emergency Room Change
An emergency room change will be arranged only when all other options to resolve differences between roommates have been thoroughly explored. If a student feels that an emergency room change is necessary, the student must discuss the need for a change of a residence hall assignment with a Residence Life staff member. If the staff member determines that an emergency exists and space is available, the Residence Life staff member will contact the Assignment Office to process a change in assignment.
Room Change for Spring Semester
A student interested in changing their room assignment for spring semester may do so during the posted time periods. Students will be able to view a list of spring semester vacancies in eLiving and select a room to be reassigned to. Some restrictions apply.
A student receiving a change of assignment for spring semester must vacate the fall room before the end of fall semester or before leaving for semester break, whichever is first. The student can make arrangements with the Housing Office in the area of the new assignment for storage during the semester break period if the new assignment is not available before the end of fall semester.
After the second week of spring semester, depending on room availability, students will be able to view a list of spring semester vacancies in eLiving and select a room to be reassigned to. Some restrictions apply.
A Housing and Food Service Contract submitted to the University is legally binding and holds the student to the financial obligation of the entire contract period. A student is released from that obligation should the student cancel his or her enrollment with the University. If the contract holder is continuing his or her education at the University Park campus and wishes to be released from the obligation, he or she is required to transfer the contract to another student (refer "Contract Transfer of Obligation" section). Students with extreme circumstances will be considered for release on a case-by-case basis upon submission of a Contract Release Request. These students will be charged a fee equal to 20 percent of their room and base board costs if released before the first day of classes. Cancellations granted after the first day of classes will have charges assessed according to the University's established refund policy. Failure to pick up a key will not release a student from the contract obligation.
Contract Transfer of Obligation
A student (third semester standing and higher) committed to a Housing and Food Service Contract who wishes to be released from the contract may transfer the obligation of the contract to another student. The Contract Transfer of Obligation must be approved by The Assignment Office.
Regulations for Contract Transfer of Obligation
- The replacement student accepting the Contract Transfer of Obligation must be an upper-class undergraduate student (third semester or higher), of the same gender, and in good standing with the University (first-year students may not transfer or accept a Contract Transfer of Obligation).
- The replacement student may not be a University student who has already accepted a Housing and Food Service Contract.
- The replacement student must accept the Housing and Food Service Contract through eLiving and authorize or make a payment to the University for the room and board fees before the vacating student can receive a credit for room and board fees. The Assignment Office will prorate the charges for both students as necessary.
- If the replacement student does not take occupancy or withdraws from the University before taking occupancy, the student initiating the transfer of obligation will resume financial obligation of the contract.
- It is a violation of University policy to sell or attempt to sell a Housing and Food Service Contract. The replacement student cannot offer and the transferring student cannot accept any form of compensation for the transfer of a Housing and Food Service Contract. Any student who is found to have sold or purchased a Housing and Food Service Contract may be subject to a range of sanctions including contract review and/or termination and disciplinary action.
- In the case where there are limited vacancies, the option of Contract Transfer of Obligation may be suspended without notice.
- The Assignment Office may deny a Contract Transfer of Obligation request should it be felt that the transaction is not in the best interest of the University or the students involved.
The following conditions exist for assignment from a Contract Transfer of Obligation:
- If supplemental housing is currently being used, the replacement student will be assigned to supplemental housing.
- If supplemental housing is not being used, the replacement student will be assigned to a regular residence hall.
Once the Contract Transfer of Obligation is complete, if the replacement student is interested in other housing options on campus, they can add their name to the appropriate Waitlist available through eLiving to be considered for reassignment. Waitlists typically include housing options such as Eastview Terrace, Nittany Apartments, suites, and single rooms.
Practicum, Student Teaching, Internship, Co-Op, Study Abroad
Any student who has accepted a Housing and Food Service Contract, but will be away from campus for a University-sanctioned academic activity such as practicum, student teaching, internship, co-op, or study abroad for one or both semesters, can submit a Housing Contract Cancellation request through eLiving. Upon verification of the student's status, the Housing and Food Service Contract will be cancelled for the period of time that the student will be away from the University Park campus. The Housing and Food Service Contract will remain active for the time period that the student will be attending University Park, and the student will be financially liable for that portion of the contract.
If a student takes a leave of absence or participates in student teaching, internship, practicum, etc., for fall semester and returns as a registered undergraduate student during the contract period, the contract is still active and the student must return to campus housing. The housing deposit will be retained for spring semester. If a student is on leave of absence for two consecutive semesters, the housing deposit will be credited to the student’s account. Any contract submitted thereafter must include another $100 deposit. Students re-enrolled after withdrawal will initially be assigned to supplemental housing.
Spring Semester and Summer Session
Spring semester and summer session students who withdraw or take a leave of absence from the University prior to taking occupancy will have their contracts canceled and the $100 housing deposit will be forfeited. The University will retain the $100 housing deposit as liquidated damages.
Withdrawal from School and Approved Release from the Contract after Taking Occupancy
Students who took occupancy of a residence room and then withdrew from the University or were granted a contract release will receive a credit based on a prorated daily refund schedule upon check-out. No room and board base cost refunds are granted after the eighth week of the semester. All unused meal plan funds in excess of $5 remaining at time of withdrawal or approved contract release will be refunded at face value. However, at the end of the spring semester, any unused funds are forfeited and no refund will be given for the base cost. Students withdrawing from the University must vacate their room no more than 24 hours after withdrawal from school or approved contract release. Credits will be based on the date the belongings are removed from the room and the key is surrendered, or the effective date of the withdrawal, whichever is later.
Campus Meal Plan Refunds
Refunds for unused dining dollars will not be given at the end of the contracted period. Students are encouraged to monitor their dining dollar balance and modify the meal plan level as necessary. Refunds are not given if a student schedules classes that conflict with the meal schedule or if a student chooses not to eat in the dining commons. All unused dining dollars remaining at the time of withdrawal or approved contract release will be credited at face value. A credit will not be given for an account with less than a $5 balance.
The housing deposit is non-refundable for first-year students and will be retained by the University for the length of time that the student has a valid Housing Contract. The housing deposit is carried over year-to-year until the student no longer resides on campus. Once the student no longer has a Housing Contract for the subsequent contract period, the housing deposit will then be credited to the student’s Bursar account.
If a student cancels the Housing Contract or withdraws from the University without notifying the Assignment Office, the housing deposit will be forfeited for administrative costs. If for any reason a refunded housing deposit is not accepted, negotiated, or other demand made thereof, within one year from the University's initial attempt to return such to student, the student agrees that any remaining housing deposit will be a general gift by the student to the University.
The room rate and Campus Meal Plan base cost will be credited on prorated daily refund schedule after the student has received an approved Housing Contract release or officially withdrawals from the University. The refund amount is based on the date of the Housing Contract cancellation. The refund will be applied to the student’s Bursar account and will be refunded less any outstanding charges against the account.
Students who have maintenance needs, problems, or questions about their room or hall should talk to Housing staff for their residence hall. Maintenance problems should be reported to the appropriate area Housing office in a timely manner.
Students who request a repair to an item in their room can expect the repair to be completed during regular business hours. For the safety and security of residents, it may be necessary to reassign the occupants to a different room to perform some types of maintenance.
Maintenance personnel may enter a student room to perform preventative maintenance, needed repairs identified during a room inspection, or an emergency repair. If an employee enters a student room when the student is not present, the employee will leave a form stating the time, date, and reasons for entering the room. Although a student may ask to schedule an appointment for a repair, it will be determined by Housing, on a case-by-case basis, if the situation can wait or be scheduled at the convenience of the student.
Students are expected to maintain their rooms in an orderly and sanitary condition. Students occupying suites or rooms with baths are responsible for cleaning the bathroom. Students are responsible for removing trash from their room/suite/apartment and placing in the designated disposal area. If Housing becomes aware of unsanitary conditions resulting from students failing to maintain their rooms, Housing will clean the room, the resident(s) will be charged, and the amount will be applied against their student accounts. Depending on how Housing and other students are affected by the persistence of disorderly and unsanitary conditions in a student's room, the University reserves the right to cancel the student's contract and to refuse an assignment for future contract periods.
A room inspection is not a search. Student rooms are inspected during each session/semester and at the time of check-out. Routine inspections will be announced in advance, and the student may choose to be present during the inspection. These inspections are conducted 1) to evaluate the condition of the room and furnishings; 2) to identify needed maintenance and repairs; and 3) to check for fire and safety hazards. If damages are noted, the cost for repairs or replacement will be charged to the resident(s) of the room. The University reserves the right to make non-routine, emergency inspections to protect the health and safety of its students.
Should Housing management observe the presence of unapproved appliances or objects in the room or notice objects attached to the facilities in an unapproved manner, this will be recorded on a Notice of Room Check form. A copy of the form will be left for the student, who will be expected to correct the situation. In the case of noncompliance, the University reserves the right to have the items removed at the expense of the resident(s).
Alcohol and Illegal Substances
- The possession or use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all Penn State on-campus undergraduate residence hall buildings including Nittany Apartments and Eastview Terrace for students of any age.
- It is a violation of state law and University policy for a student under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or transport alcoholic beverages. It is unlawful to sell, furnish, or give to any minor, or permit that alcoholic beverages be sold, furnished, or given to any minor.
- It is against residence hall policy for there to be any tailgating activities in the residential quad areas or residence hall parking lots where alcoholic beverages are being served on any football game/event weekend including all home football games, Football Eve, 4th Fest, and the spring Blue and White Weekend. Students tailgating with alcoholic beverages in these defined areas will be confronted and will likely be charged with “open containers in an unauthorized area.”
- Residents will be held responsible for activities that occur in their rooms and will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police if guests are violating the on-campus alcohol policies listed above.
- Failure to comply with the direction given by or the request to present identification to a University official acting in the performance of their duties is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in a referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.
- It is against the Student Code of Conduct to supply false information, such as name, age, etc. to University officials who are acting in the performance of their duties.
It is a violation of state and University policy to illegally possess, use, distribute, manufacture, sell, or be under the influence of other drugs. Students who violate this policy will be referred to the office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police.
It is against residence hall policy for a student to be in a residential area (room, common area, common building, building entryway, or quad area immediately adjacent to the residence halls) and in the presence of an illegal substance. Students who are in the presence of an illegal substance in these areas will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Policy.
Canvassing in University Residence Halls
- Canvassing is defined as any effort to influence opinions, gain support, or promote a particular cause or interest, specifically excluding any solicitation or fund raising as defined by current University policy. Surveys are not considered to be canvassing for purposes of this policy.
- Students, student organizations, residence hall house governments and area governments, and outside interests are eligible to canvass in the residence halls.
- Canvassing may not occur in individual residence areas unless approved by a majority vote of the residents of that area. Residence Life will organize the vote process in the beginning of the fall semester.
- Canvassing may occur in the commons buildings with an approved space/table reservation. Canvassing may not occur in the residential dining rooms.
- Canvassing shall be restricted to the hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Any canvasser in the residence hall buildings must register with the assistant director at least 24 hours before the canvass and must clearly understand all provisions of canvassing regulations before canvassing may begin. A canvasser who is not a resident of the building in which door-to-door canvassing is taking place must be escorted by a resident of the building at all times.
- Any canvassing in the commons buildings must have a formal space/table reservations and follow the terms and conditions for reservations and use of common area spaces in residence hall complexes. This reservation process takes a minimum of five business days to complete and can be completed in the Residence Life Offices.
- When contacting students in their rooms, canvassers must knock before entering, identify themselves, announce their specific purpose, enter an individual room only with the expressed consent of the resident, and leave immediately if the resident so requests.
- Canvassers must abide by all University rules and regulations. Violators will be subject to referral to Office of Student Conduct and/or civil or criminal prosecution.
The use of University facilities and/or property for commercial sales activities by individual or non-University organizations is prohibited. University organizations, within limitations established by this policy and other University regulations, and with appropriate approval, may sell materials to support the purpose of the organization.
- Definitions: a. A residence hall is a University-owned building that contains rooms assigned to students for sleeping, dressing, studying, and socializing, and that also contains common facilities and areas used by all students assigned to such residence halls, including common means of entering and exiting, common lavatories, common study lounges, common storage areas, and areas used in common for organized educational and social functions. b. Solicitation is the offer of a sale of products or services.
- Except as hereinafter provided, no person (including a student), firm, business entity, charitable organization, religious organization, or other organization may solicit money, sell, or solicit the sale of any product or service anywhere in a residence hall.
- A student assigned to a room in a residence hall may invite a person, firm, business entity, charitable organization, religious organization, or other organization to that student’s assigned room to solicit money, sell, or to solicit the sale of products or services with that student only. Such solicitation or sale must occur only in the assigned room of the student-inviter. The solicitation of money or the sale or solicitation of a sale of products or services to any other student is prohibited anywhere in the residence hall.
- Registered student organizations and residence hall house governments may solicit money or sell/solicit the sale of products or services in a residence hall in accordance with the regulations governing student organizations found in the Student Guide to General University Policies and Rules.
- Nothing in these regulations shall be deemed to preclude any solicitation or sale by mail, email, telephone, or other communication media.
Advertising of merchandise or services for sale or rent is not permitted in residence halls unless it is for the sale of the personal property of the students living in the residence halls. Special bulletin board space is designated for this service. Advertisements, if posted elsewhere, will be removed.
- Hang pictures, additional bulletin boards, and decorations from picture molding with picture hooks.
- Do not string anything across the room to hang decorations.
- Darts and dart boards are not permitted.
- Because of the costly cumulative deterioration of physical facilities, the use of tape, adhesives, putty, glue, paste, nails, tacks, staples, and screws on walls, furniture, doors, or other woodwork or glass is not permitted. Students may use products such as Command brand.
- No painting or papering of rooms or furniture is permitted.
Students may decorate the surface of their room door facing the corridor according to the following guidelines. Adhering to these guidelines will protect doors from unusually harsh wear, eliminate potential fire hazards, and ensure the free movement/access in the corridor. Do not place decorations on the exterior of the building.
- Decorations may be placed on the upper section of room doors above the lock mechanism. If the door has louvers, no materials may be placed on the louvers.
- Decorations may not project more than one-half inch from the surface of the door. Greeting cards are to be fastened shut.
- No decals or stickers are permitted.
- Bunting and streamers are permitted to celebrate special occasions, but must be removed within 24 hours.
- All memo boards, pictures, signs, and posters must be unframed.
- Use nonflammable materials whenever possible.
- In buildings/rooms where a room sign with white/cork board is provided, decorations are limited to static cling items.
- Remove all door decorations before checking out of the room. Damages to the doors as well as any extra cleaning required will be the responsibility of the residents and may result in a charge to the student account. Housing staff will determine the nature and extent of all damages. Any materials found to be offensive or outside the boundaries of reasonable community expectations will be referred to the area Residence Life staff.
Student room and lounge window decorating and display policy
Students may decorate the window(s) in their individual residence hall room as well as the window(s) in their hall lounge according to the guidelines that follow. Adhering to these guidelines will prevent windows from being damaged and eliminate potential safety hazards.
- Decorate only the inside window side.
- Decorations must be removable (not permanent). Use only water-based poster paint.
- For emergency reasons, such as in the case of a fire, one-half of the total window space must be transparent.
- Decorations that present health hazards due to weight, possibility of breakage, degree of cleanliness, etc. must be modified and/or removed if deemed necessary by the Housing and Residence Life staff in consultation with Environmental Health and Safety staff.
- All decorations must be temporarily removed at the request of the Housing staff for regularly scheduled window cleaning purposes.
- Remove all room window decorations before checking out of the room. Damages to the windows, drapes, and/or blinds, as well as any extra cleaning required, will be the responsibility of the residents and may result in a charge to the student account. Housing staff will determine the nature and extent of all damages. Any materials found to be offensive or outside the boundaries of reasonable community expectations will be referred to the area Residence Life staff.
Please follow these guidelines for seasonal and holiday decorating.
- Live trees or greens are not permitted due to fire hazard concerns. Artificial trees may be used in approved lounge locations on the upper floors of the building.
- Decorate only room and hallway bulletin boards, not walls or ceilings.
- Candles are never permitted. Student who want to use candles for a religious celebration must work directly with the area Housing and Residence Life staff to find an appropriate location for religious observance.
- No plastic or foam type materials may be used in decorations.
- All decorating materials must be non-flammable, such as ceramic or glass, decorative 100% aluminum foil wrap, fire-retardant-treated paper, crepe paper, etc.
- You may use spray-on snow for windows.
- You may use decorative lights in your room, although the University’s Energy Conservation committee encourages students to conserve energy with other types of decorations.
- Remove all holiday decorations before the beginning of the semester break.
If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact the Housing and Residence Life staff.
The residence halls are intended for use by residents of the building and their invited guests. A guest is defined as a person visiting a resident of the residence hall at the resident’s invitation. Delivery persons are not considered to be guests for purposes of this policy.
To ease the congestion of the move-in period and to allow roommates the opportunity to discuss what to do about overnight guests in the room, no overnight guests will be allowed in the residence halls until the first day of classes, then only with the permission of the roommate.
The University reserves the right to revoke the privilege of the guest policy at any time. Students will be notified when this occurs.
The following stipulations relate to all guests:
- It is the responsibility of the host student to ensure that their guests are aware of University and residence hall policies. Guests are held responsible for their own actions and for knowledge of University and residence hall regulations. However, hosts may be held accountable for damages committed by their guests, unless the guest can be identified as a University student. Hosts may also be held accountable for their guests’ behavior.
- Residents are permitted to have guests in their rooms only if there is no objection from their roommate(s).
- Neither room keys nor door access cards will be provided for guests. Residents should not give their keys or Penn State id+ Card to a guest for them to get into the room or building.
- Students may have an overnight guest in their room for a maximum of three consecutive nights. The University reserves the right to revoke this privilege. Guests may not move from one host’s room to another in order to extend their stay in the residence halls.
- Only residents and their invited guests are permitted in the living areas of the building other than the lobby. These areas include individual rooms and floor lounges. Individuals found in the building who are not residents or guests of residents are considered trespassing.
- Guests are to use the appropriate gender restroom/shower facilities.
- All guests must be escorted by a resident of the building at all times. A staff member may confront an individual if they are not recognized as a resident of that building and/or a resident of the building is not escorting them.
Students charged with violations of the guest regulation will be subject to University disciplinary action. An unescorted guest who is a student of the University will be subject to University discipline.
Students who need a cot and/or linens should make arrangements at the area commons desk/Housing office. Charges for these services should be paid in advance; the deadline for reservations is 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Housing and Food Services and Residence Life strive to provide an atmosphere within the residence halls that is conducive to study and rest. All students should understand that the right of students to study and sleep takes precedence over the right of students to make noise. Quiet hours and courtesy hours have been established and posted in every residence hall.
Courtesy hours are in effect 24 hours a day. At all times, a student’s right to study and sleep will be respected. Residents and their guests should lower their voices or the volume of their equipment (music, TV, computer, musical instruments, etc) if another resident or a University official asks them to.
Quiet Hours - all residence areas
8 p.m. – 8 a.m., Sunday through Thursday
1 a.m. – 10 a.m., Friday and Saturday
Quiet Hours - Schreyer Honors Housing (Atherton and Simmons Halls)
8 p.m. – 10 a.m., Sunday through Thursday
Midnight – 10 am., Friday and Saturday
During finals week, 24-hour quiet hours are maintained beginning at 8 a.m. the day before finals and continuing until the halls close at the end of the semester (except in Schreyer Honors environments, where this begins the Friday before the first day of finals). A proper study atmosphere should be maintained during these established quiet hours. These hours may be extended if additional study conditions are required. Residence Life may extend hours in consultation with student government or ARHS.
Students are expected to follow these guidelines:
- Electronic sound equipment (radios, TVs, stereos, electronic games, computers, etc), musical instruments, and room activities should not be heard outside the room. Please be considerate of your fellow residents.
- Do not direct sound outside through speakers in windows.
- Take the initiative to discuss noise with the offender. If you are bothered by someone else’s noise, ask them to turn it down. Any resident who is asked to reduce their volume level should do so out of respect for a fellow student. While RAs will continue to deal with excessive noise, they cannot always be aware of every problem.
- All students and guests should lower their voices when talking in corridors, bathrooms, study lounges, etc., to help maintain a quiet living environment for all residents.
- All students sould refrain from participating in any sports-like activity within or immediately adjacent to the residence halls. The University has designated playing areas for these activities. Contact your area Residence Life Office for information.
- Residents who persist in creating excessive noise will be subject to disciplinary action through the Office of Residence Life and/or the Office of Student Conduct.
Fire Safety Policies
Candles and Incense
For safety reasons, candles, incense, and other flame-emitting articles are prohibited in the residence halls. Only potpourri burners with an enclosed heating element and an automatic shut-off are permitted.
Students can store and prepare food using the University-owned refrigerator/microwave provided in each room (refer to Appliances section).
Penn State promotes smoke-free environments by prohibiting smoking in all buildings. This policy is enforced in all University facilities, including residence halls and dining commons. Established “smoking area” maps are posted in each residence hall area.
To comply with state and local fire regulations, fire drills will be conducted in all residence halls once a month. Everyone present in the building during the emergency drills must participate by vacating the building according to instructions. Rooms may be checked during fire drills to ensure compliance. Failure to vacate the building will result in disciplinary action.
Fire Safety Equipment
- Fire alarms and fire extinguishers are located on every floor in each building. Student should familiarize themselves with their locations.
- Each residence hall room is equipped with a smoke detector. In rooms where sprinklers have been installed, the smoke detector is monitored by University Police. All other smoke detectors operate independently from the building fire alarm system. The detectors and sprinklers are for students’ safety and should not be tampered with at any time.
- If you experience a problem with the smoke detector/sprinkler system, contact Housing or Residence Life staff immediately.
- Tampering with fire safety equipment is a very serious matter that could jeopardize the safety of many people. Tampering with this equipment at any time, including covering the equipment or dismantling the equipment in your room and discharging a fire extinguisher on a floor, may result in severe disciplinary and/or criminal action including a loss of residence hall contract.
General Fire Safety Precautions
Students are responsible for taking precautions to prevent fire. Exercise caution and good judgment when using a desk lamp of any kind. Do not put lamps near flammable objects such as curtains, bedspreads, pillows, posters, or clothing, and turn lamps off when you leave the room. University policy prohibits the use of torchere-style (floor-standing lamps that project light upward) halogen lamps in any University facility.
Facility Safety Policies
Aerials and Antennae
Aerials, masts, satellite dishes, and other short-wave radio transmitting equipment are not allowed in the residence halls because of FCC interference regulations and safety precautions.
- The following electrical appliances are authorized for use in student rooms if the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. label (UL label) is on the appliance: televisions, stereos, coffee makers (with enclosed heating element and automatic shut-off), clocks, fans, hair dryers, hair setters, curling irons (with automatic shut-off), printers, University-owned refrigerator/microwaves, corn poppers (with enclosed heating element and automatic shut-off) and personal computers. Air purifiers with an appropriate UL label are allowed.
- The following electrical appliances are prohibited: hot plates, toasters, torchere-style (floor-standing) halogen lamps and lights, immersion heaters, heating coils, ovens, grills (indoor and outdoor), personal microwave ovens, personal refrigerators, and portable air conditioners.
- You may keep an iron in your room, but use it only in designated ironing areas.
- If you need to use multiple outlets, use a grounded 15 amp surge-protected plug-in strip with built-in circuit breaker.
- Air conditioners are not permitted unless approved by the University for a student’s documented medical need. The University typically provides all air conditioning units.
- If unapproved items are observed in a room, the student will be asked to remove them from the building. In case of noncompliance, the University reserves the right to have the items removed. The items will be returned to the student for removal from the hall upon request to Housing management.
Some residence halls have exterior balconies as part of the architectural facade. Access to them is prohibited at all times.
Most residence halls have elevators for moving people and equipment between floors. Students and guests should refrain from the following behaviors when using an elevator:
- Tampering with or abusing any of the elevator equipment or controls.
- Prying open elevator doors or holding them open by the safety edges.
- Attempting to exit an elevator that is stuck between floors without directions and assistance from elevator technicians or emergency personnel.
- Jumping up and down in the elevator.
- Using the elevator in the event of a fire.
- Engaging in any of the above behaviors may result in a referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.
Only bunk beds and loft beds specifically approved by the University may be used within resident rooms, and only the use of approved beds is permitted. Some residence halls prohibit the use of bunked or loft beds entirely. The area Housing/Residence Life office can provide specific information about bunk beds or bed lofts for your residence hall assignment. All beds must be freestanding on the floor, supported by legs attached to a bed frame. Mattresses are to be used on bed frames provided and not on the floor.
Do not remove furniture or furnishings from your room.
The use of other University furniture in an individual student room is not permitted and will lead to referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.
Because of the excessive weight and potential for damage, liquid-filled beds and other liquid-filled furniture items are not permitted.
Routine room inspections of all residence hall rooms may be done periodically to evaluate the condition of the room and furnishings, to identify required maintenance and repairs, and to check for fire and safety hazards. In most cases, students are notified about room inspections in advance.
There are no routine room searches. A room search is conducted only when there is strong reason to believe that the occupant(s) of the room are in serious physical or psychological distress or that the room contains items that are contrary to University regulations (which include federal, state, and local laws). In most cases, an act of misbehavior will precipitate this concern.
Room searches are conducted exclusively by the Residence Life staff. When there is a potential search situation, the area Residence Life staff must obtain approval from the assistant vice president of Housing, Food Services, and Residence Life. Approval is given only after the reason for search, the person(s) to search the room, and the object(s) being sought are clarified. Searches are usually conducted in the presence of the student occupants, and only in unusual cases would the room be searched in their absence.
When it is necessary for a member of University Police Services to search a room, the search will be performed according to constitutional and criminal procedures (for instance, if an officer observes articles in plain view from a location where the officer has a right to be, the officer has not conducted a search). If time and circumstances permit, a member of the Residence Life staff will be notified of the impending search. The staff member can provide guidance to the resident of the room against whom any warrant is issued and can act as a witness. Items seized will be taken (as authorized by law) and inventoried, and a receipt listing each article will be given to the owner or left in the room.
Weightlifting equipment is not permitted in individual rooms because of noise and potential damage to the floors.
- To protect draperies and sills and to help conserve heating fuel, keep windows closed when you are not in the room.
- Do not store food or beverages between the window and the outside screen, or on the outside ledge.
- Removal of any window screen is prohibited.
- Do not string antennae or other devices out of windows.
Every residence hall is equipped with an electronic, computerized card access system that permits access to the hall by residents of the building only. The system is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week when the residence halls are in operation. Access hours may change during the fall arrival period and spring semester closing. Students may enter only their assigned building by swiping their id+ cards in the card reader, located at the front lobby, and – in some halls- at other doors. If for some reason your id+ card doesn't unlock the door, you can call your roommate, a member of the Residence Hall Security Unit (rover), the staff member on duty, or in an extreme emergency, University Police. If you have pizza or other food delivered, you must be in the lobby to meet the vendor at the front door. If you want to visit a friend in another building, you'll need to let them know so they can meet you at the entrance. Exit doors should not be held open for prolonged periods. An alarm at the door will sound and someone will be dispatched to determine if the door has been blocked open. Residents are not permitted to let anyone into the building except their invited guests.
Penn State id+ Card
If your id+ card is lost or stolen, follow these procedures:
- Report the card lost online to deactivate card privileges. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is your responsibility to deactivate the lost id+ card. The University is not responsible for any loss or expense resulting from the loss, theft, or misuse of the card.
- Visit the id+ office to get a replacement card. A card replacement fee will be charged to your account or can be paid by cash or check. If the id+ office is closed, you can get a temporary id+ card at your commons desk for a replacement card fee. You'll need to show identification to have a photo reprocessed. The replacement card will be active immediately for limited services, such as meal plans and residence hall access. Other services will not be activated on the temporary card, such as fitness membership or football tickets.
Note: Students whose id+ cards are reported lost, misplaced, or stolen will not be allowed access to any dining commons or cash operation using their Campus Meal Plan until they have obtained a replacement card. The id+ card has monetary value and should be treated the same as cash. The University will not be responsible for any value loss due to misuse or fraud.
Residence Hall Security Unit
University Police Services hires student Auxiliary Offices to check for propped doors in residence halls, monitor activities in the commons building, and assist students who have questions or difficulties with the card access system. In general, they are on duty from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., although shifts and locations vary from area to area an on weekdays and weekends.
Resident Responsibility for Safety
Students play a critical role in maintaining a safe and secure environment within the residence halls. Even with security assistants and a sophisticated card access system, student safety and security can be compromised by careless behavior. Always lock your room door and don't prop doors open.
Safety and Security Tips:
- Do not allow strangers to enter the residence hall with you.
- Notify the staff member on duty if someone has insisted on entering the hall with you. Get a good description of the person and which way they're going.
- Keep your room door locked at all times, even when you are sleeping, and especially when you leave the room or building.
- Report a malfunctioning card access reader or door immediately.
- Meet your visitors at the lobby door.
- Do not lend your id+ card or room key to others.
- Report lost or stolen id+ cards immediately.
Report Suspicious Activity Immediately
Some people don't report suspicious activity because they don't recognize it. Others may notice activity but hesitate to call for fear of seeming over-reactive. Still others take it for granted that someone else has called. Students should call immediately about any suspicious activity. It's better to act and be safe.
Suspicious activity includes the following:
- Persons going from room to room trying doorknobs
- Persons loitering at unusual hours and locations
- Persons running (especially if carrying something of value)
- Persons exhibiting unusual mental, emotional, or physical symptoms
- Persons carrying University property or other items not wrapped
- Open or broken windows or doors
- Unusual noises, screams, or cries for help
Computers and Networks
Housing provides a wired and/or wireless network connection in most residence rooms. Students can use their own personal computer devices on the network to access the Penn State computing resources and the Internet. Any student using the network acknowledges their responsibility to act in accordance with the relevant policies, including the following:
- Penn State Policy AD20
- Educom Code: “Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community”
- The Residence Hall Network Connection Agreement
Violation of policy or law may result in suspension of network access or other information service privileges, disciplinary action, and legal proceedings. Information on using the network is available from Residential Computing (ResCom), which has help desks on campus in certain residence areas.
There are no active telephone landlines in student rooms. Students are encouraged to use the courtesy phones located in the residence hall hallways for security and local calls. Upon request, an individual land line may be activated for a specified charge. Interested students should contact the Commons Desk Operation.
Bicycles, In-line Skates, and Skateboards
Bicycles should be registered with the Parking Office. Keep bicycles in the bicycle racks located outside the residence halls. Students may store their bicycles in their rooms with the permission of their roommate(s). Bicycles are not permitted in lounges, laundries, hallways, bathrooms, dining halls, or other public areas. Students may be held responsible for damages. Skateboards are prohibited on campus. In-line skates are not permitted to be worn in the residence halls or dining commons.
- Room occupants will be held responsible for the condition of the room and furnishings and for any damages or losses that may occur during occupancy.
- Individuals identified as responsible for damage, theft, or losses in common areas of the building (such as corridors, elevators, stairwells, recreation rooms, dining commons, study rooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, work rooms, and lounges) will be billed for the cost of repair or replacement. Amounts billed are additional charges under the Housing and Food Services Contract. Residents will be held collectively responsible for damages, theft, or losses in common areas of the building that may occur during occupancy when the individual(s) responsible cannot be identified.
- For the purpose of damage, theft, or loss assessment, occupancy includes the date of check-in to the date the student properly checks out of the room. Charges will be applied against the student’s account. Residents must pay a damage assessment when billed.
- Residents are not permitted to make damage repairs or arrange for them to be made. In an emergency, contact Housing management staff, an RA, or University Police. Any student who leaves the University at the end of the contract period or earlier because of withdrawal from the University or other termination of study, and who fails to return the room key at the time of check-out, will automatically be assessed a charge for door lock and key replacement. The amount will be charged against the student’s account.
The University is not responsible for loss or damage to occupants' personal property. Each student is strongly advised to carry property insurance.
Gambling in University-owned residence halls apartments, and commons buildings, which is in violation of federal, state, and local laws, is prohibited. Students involved in gambling-related incidents may face legal and/or disciplinary action.
Resident students will receive mail at the commons desk in their housing area. Only mail addressed to the current occupant of the room and with the official occupant’s name will be processed. During the academic year, the mailbox number is the same as the student's room number. During summer session, the mailbox number may be different from the room number. The combination to the mailbox is issued with the room key and is also available on eLiving.
Mail for resident students should be addressed as follows:
Room Number, Residence Hall
University Park, PA 16802
Note: "Penn State" and "The Pennsylvania State University" should not be used in the address.
If you want mail to be forwarded at the end of the academic year, you will need to update your permanent address in eLion.
Animals and pets of any type are not permitted in residence halls for reasons of sanitation and safety. Tropical fish or goldfish in a small tank, not more than five gallons (U.S.), are allowed. Service animals for individuals with disabilities are permitted for visitors. Students with a need should contact the Office of Disability Services.
There is a limited storage space in each commons building for trunks and suitcases. Due to fire safety concerns, boxes and cartons of any kind cannot be stored. See Housing management staff for details. The University is not responsible for loss of items placed in storage rooms.
Residence hall students who engage in behavior that violates the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of the Housing and Food Service Contract and/or the Student Code of Conduct will be required to work with the staff of Residence Life and/or Office of Student Conduct to resolve the issue. Outcomes may include, but are not limited to, educational sanctions, contract review, change of housing assignment, contract termination, and disciplinary action. Guidelines and procedures related to this process are available from any Residence Life staff member.
Cancellations/ Room Reassignments
In addition to the foregoing, the University reserves the right to cancel or deny a contract to a student, or to change the assignment of a student, if that student engages in the following conduct:
- Disregards the rights of other residents
- Jeopardizes the safety and/or well-being of him/herself or other residents
- Disrupts the residential environment
- Violates the University rules and policies and/or Terms, Conditions, and Regulations of this contract
The University, at its discretion, may determine whether a student who engages in the conduct mentioned above shall be covered by the preceding provision related to violations or whether the student should have a fair and equitable hearing by the Senior Director of Residence Life. In the latter case, the student will have the right to appeal to the assistant vice president for Housing, Food Services, and Residence Life, who will retain final authority in such cases.
The University reserves the right to deny or cancel a Housing and Food Services Contract or lease for University-provided housing to an individual whose conduct and/or proven criminal record indicates a potential threat or danger to the University community, including students, faculty, and staff. Any student who is not in registered status will have a financial hold placed on his or her student record for housing and food service charges incurred during the semester. Subsequent contracts will be denied until all financial holds are satisfied.
The University reserves the right to change the assignment of a student in specific locations in the event that (1) the location is needed for other programs or purposes and/or (2) the student’s room is specially equipped to provide for a medical need and such need arises, and/or (3) conditions in a specific location require such reassignment to ensure a proper educational environment or the health and safety of individuals. The student will be given area assignment preference after reassignments are complete.