Santa Clara University will institute a two-year residency requirement beginning with the Class of 2025 (Entering fall 2021).
In support of the residential nature of Santa Clara, and the University’s commitment to integrated education, all unmarried, full-time undergraduate students are required to live on campus during their first and second year, unless the student has been approved for an exception or space is not available to accommodate this requirement. Class year is based on total academic years in college. On-campus residency is required until a student is in their third year of college.
Exceptions to the residency requirement are considered based on medical or religious conditions which cannot be accommodated in on-campus accommodations, situations in which living on campus would result in severe financial burden or family hardship and exceptions for students who live with immediate family in their primary residence within 30 miles of campus.
On-campus living, within and outside of the Residential Learning Community (RLC) Program, allows students to:
- interact with other students who share similar and different interests;
- engage with other students through study groups and academic support resources and networks;
- make friends easily and quickly;
- take advantage of a wealth of social opportunities;
- have increased interaction with faculty and residential staff; and
- enjoy the SCU on-campus living experience leading to greater satisfaction with the overall SCU experience.
In many instances, these positive outcomes are sustained and further enhanced the longer students live on campus.
Santa Clara’s on-campus residential experience facilitates the transition to University life for those new to campus and nurtures the interests of students already here. Students share the experience of living in communities where their social activities, service opportunities, and coursework are designed to enhance the Santa Clara experience and promote a commitment to integrated learning. On-campus living helps connect students with peers, with faculty in and outside of class, with the University Core Curriculum as a coherent whole, with student programs and organizations, and with the University community at large.
Santa Clara University requires all unmarried, full-time undergraduate students to live on campus during their first (freshman, transfer sophomore) and second-year unless the student has been approved for an exception or space is not available to accommodate this requirement.
Exceptions may be approved if one of the following conditions are met:
- Student lives with a family member (Family includes parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or legal guardian) in their primary place of residence within 30 miles from campus (Primary place of residence is defined as a person's permanent home and place of habitation. An owned or leased apartment or house which is not occupied does not qualify.) Supporting documentation will be required.
- Situation in which living on campus would result in severe financial burden, as determined at one-on-one consultation with a Financial Aid or One Stop counselor, who will review the financial hardship section of the form and explain to the student the supporting documentation needed:
- The student may qualify for release based on financial hardship if there has been a significant change in the income of either the student and/or the student’s parent/legal guardian, since the date of the housing contract. This may be due to loss of income, job loss, added debt related to medical conditions, etc.
- Recommended documentation: employer pay stubs; death certificate; letter from a qualified physician documenting how illness affects work status and a letter from the employer attesting to the same fact; documentation that all financial aid awarded was accepted and disbursed.
- Student has a medical condition which cannot be accommodated in on-campus accommodations. Documentation must be submitted to the Office of Accessible Education for review.
- Student turns 21 before the start of fall term.
- Student is a veteran of the armed forces or active duty military. Veteran or current military ID must be submitted.
- Student is or becomes legally married, or is or becomes the primary caregiver to a legally dependent individual.
- Students who are 16 years of age or younger at the start of fall term.
- There are religious and/or family caregiving responsibilities that may require a student to live at home.
Exceptions to the Residency Requirement are granted by the Assistant Director for Housing Assignments or designee Housing Assignments Coordinator in consultation with appropriate campus colleagues. The AD for Housing Assignments or designee Housing Assignments Coordinator may request additional information before making a final decision. To apply for a residency exemption, complete the residency requirement exception request form and any associated documentation on your housing portal. Students should not make arrangements for alternate housing until notified by the Offices of Housing and Residence Life that an exception has been granted. If an exemption is not granted, the student will be held responsible for the terms of the housing contract.
Need Help Completing The Residency Exemption Form? See 2022-2023 Residency Requirement Exception How To Guide.
Q: Why is Santa Clara implementing a two-year residency requirement?
A: Living on campus helps connect students with peers, faculty in and outside of class, and allows students the convenience to regularly attend student events and participate in student organizations. Students have shared that once they move off campus it becomes harder for them to stay involved, even with short distances to off-campus accommodations.
Q: How will the on-campus experience for sophomores change with the implementation of a residency requirement?
A: Sophomores who choose to continue to live on campus have positive experiences and appreciate the opportunity to stay on campus for another year. With additional sophomores living on campus there will be added leadership and mentorship opportunities for first-year students to learn from sophomores. Programming will be expanded to include those topics most relevant for sophomores.
Q: How do financial aid packages differ if one lives on- or off-campus?
A: A standardized set of budgets are used as the basis for determining the cost of attendance at SCU. The cost of attendance budget is then used to determine the maximum amount of financial aid a student can be awarded.
Budgets vary depending on the student’s academic year living arrangements; from living with parents or relatives, to living on campus (residence halls), to living off campus (apartments/university apartments, etc.). A cost of attendance budget is initially assigned depending on the housing option selected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (DREAM).
Budget calculations used to determine aid eligibility are based on whether a student elected to live on-campus, off-campus or with family. Students may have aid reduced if a new housing choice has a lower total cost than the one originally selected.
Q: Will FR/SO students interested in substance-free living be exempt from the on-campus requirement?
A: Currently Santa Clara University does not offer a substance-free program.The Offices of Housing and Residence Life will work with individuals in this situation to find the best accommodation.
Q: Will sophomores have priority over first-year students when choosing space?
A: Yes, sophomores will continue to be placed in advance of our first-year students. For the 2022-2023 application process, all sophomores who submit their housing application by the March 18, 2022 deadline will have equal priority to all of the communities.
Q: Will sophomores be able to live in any accommodation (singles, doubles, apartments, etc)?
A: Sophomores will have the same housing options as our first-year students and will have priority for apartments in Casa and Sobrato. Singles will continue to be assigned as space is available.
Q: What happens if a contract is cancelled due to a conduct sanction?
A: The Student Conduct Code and Offices of Housing and Residence Life policies are important to ensure safe and respectful communities for all students. Should a first-year or sophomore student have their Housing Contract cancelled they will be responsible for the contract cancelation fee and room and board charges for the remainder of that term and one additional term.
Q: This is my first year in college but I'm a junior by credits, do I have to live on-campus?
A: Yes, on-campus residency is required until a student is in their third year of college. All full-time undergraduate students are required to live on campus during their first and second year, unless the student has been approved for an exception or space is not available to accommodate this requirement. Class year is based on total academic years in college.
Q: My family is local, can I live at home with them?
A: Students may submit a request for an exemption if they live with a family member (Family includes parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or legal guardian) in their primary place of residence within 30 miles from campus (Primary place of residence is defined as a person's permanent home and place of habitation. An owned or leased apartment or house which is not occupied does not qualify.)
Q: Do I have to live on campus if I’m 21 or older?
A: If a student is 21 or older by the start of fall term, the student can request an exemption.
Q: What happens if I do not submit a housing application?
A: A student will be assigned to a random space on campus, based on class standing, and will be assigned the Basic Resident Dining Plan.
Q: I am planning to apply for an exemption to the housing policy, what is the deadline to do so?
A: Supporting documentation must be submitted no later than May 4th. Late requests will not be accepted. Exemptions need to meet the criteria listed in the policy.
Q: If submitting a request for an exemption, what supporting documentation will I need?
A: Supporting documentation includes the following and needs to be relevant to the reason in which the student is requesting an exemption.
- Birth certificate and/or government-issued documentation including age
- A copy of parent’s proof of address (official lease or mortgage paperwork, a US driver’s license, etc.)
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate(s) of dependent(s)
- A notarized & stamped letter from parent/family member/guardian stating that student lives with them at the address as shown on their official proof of address
- A letter from the Office of Accessible Education including the accommodation that cannot be met by living on campus
- A written statement on compelling individual circumstances