On-Campus Residency Requirements and Exemptions

Living on campus provides you a notable advantage that supports your success as a Boxer. You'll be at the heart of our community, well-positioned to make valuable connections to faculty, staff, and other students, and just steps away from invaluable campus resources. Research shows students who live on campus have higher GPAs, are more likely to stay in school, and graduate faster. With all of this in mind, it's no mystery why many students opt to stay in campus housing even after their residency requirement is fulfilled.

Students must fulfill the residency requirements to live and board in campus housing, as explained below.

Campus Living Residency Requirement 

Forest Grove undergraduate students are required to live on campus and have a full meal plan for 4 full semesters, unless they qualify for an exemption. Full semesters include Fall and Spring, and exclude Summer and January Term.

Meal Plan Requirement

All students who have not fulfilled the residency requirement are required to have a full meal plan, no matter where they live on campus. Additionally, students who have fulfilled the residency requirement and live in rooms/units without full kitchens must have a full meal plan. There are no exemptions provided for the meal plan requirement. 

Study Abroad and the Residency Requirement

If you study abroad or participate in an outdoor leadership immersion semester while at Pacific, we’ll count those semesters toward your residency requirement progress.

Transfer Students and the Residency Requirement

If you are a transfer student who attended another university post-high school, we’ll count equivalent semesters toward your residency requirement progress. To have these counted, email reslife@pacificu.edu. If you are seeking a full exemption of the residency requirement to live off campus, see the exemption process below.

Housing and Dining Contract

Before a student submits their housing application, they will be required to agree to the terms and conditions of the housing and dining contract. The housing contract is legally binding and contains important information. The term of the contract is for the entire academic year (Fall, Winter and Spring Terms). The contract begins on the first day of undergraduate orientation in August, or upon a student taking occupancy of their room (whichever occurs first) through the hall closing date in May.

After submitting the application and contract, students will be sent a link to the contract via their Pacific email. We encourage students and families to read this agreement to understand the various terms and conditions of living in college-provided housing.

Residency Exemptions & Contract Release

Exemptions for the 4 semester residency requirement include:

  • students who are over the age of 21 at the start of fall semester (for fall 2024: born on or before August 26, 2003)*,
  • students who live locally (within 20 miles of the Forest Grove campus) with an immediate family member (parent/legal guardian/sibling)*,
  • students who are married,
  • students who have a child dependent,
  • or new transfer students who have completed four full semesters or the equivalent post-high school graduation at another college or university.*

*The starred exemptions are only valid through the Residency Exemption Request process, prior to the housing term starting or taking occupancy (whichever happens first.)

Students seeking an exemption to the four semester residency requirement can submit a Residency Requirement Exemption Request Form prior to the housing term starting. After the housing term starts, students may request to break the contract via the Petition for In-Term Contract Release form.

Residency Exemption Request: for requests prior to the housing term starting

By submitting the Residency Exemption application form, you are requesting to be exempted from the residency requirement prior to the beginning of the term or before taking occupancy (whichever comes first). This form is not available once the housing term has started.

  • Returning students should submit their requests no later than March 8 to request an exemption for the following academic year
  • Incoming students should submit their requests no later than July 15 to request an exemption for the following academic year

To request an exemption, log into eRezLife and complete the Residency Exemption Request for the appropriate academic year. New students must be deposited at Pacific University in order to be considered for an exemption.

Signing an off-campus lease, having a roommate conflict, general Covid-19 concerns, and not getting your preferred room are all examples of situations that do not result in exemptions. Students will need to provide a description of the reason for the request following the directions on the form and provide the required documentation for review (see below for documentation guidelines).

Students who are granted an exemption after selecting or being assigned a room will be subject to housing contract cancelation fees, as detailed here. 

Petition for In-Term Contract Release

After the housing term has begun or the student has taken occupancy (whichever happens first), the only way to have a housing contract canceled is to successfully petition for contract release. Being released from the contract while the housing term is underway is very rare.

The Housing and Dining Contract is a legally binding document. If you signed a contract, you are obliged to complete the terms of the contract. Your contractual obligation to the university will be waived only in the case of demonstrated, verifiable, exceptional need, hardship, or other extenuating circumstances, even if you have fulfilled the residency requirement. Reasons that are not grounds for contract release include, but are not limited to: turning 21 during your contract period, living with an immediate family member locally, or being a transfer student who can demonstrate having fulfilled two years in campus housing at a prior college or university. Approval for contract release is even more rare than approvals for an exemption request.

When completing the Petition for In-Term Contract Release form, it is your responsibility to provide information and documentation that clearly demonstrates your unique situation (see "documentation requirements" below).

If you withdraw or take a leave of absence from Pacific University, your contract will be canceled when your exit from the university is processed by the Registrar and cancelation fees will not be applied. 

Steps to petition for contract release:

  1. Log into eRezLife and complete the Petition for In-Term Contract Release form, detailing exactly why you believe you have special circumstances that warrant a release from the requirement and/or to break your housing contract
  2. Upload all supporting documentation in order to demonstrate your exceptional need to live off campus
  3. Submit your completed petition

Housing contract cancelation fees

Students who are approved to be released from their contracts will be subject to prorated housing and meal plan charges, as well as housing contract cancelation fees as follows:

  • Fall semester: $1,500 - for any cancelation before January semester begins
  • Winter semester: $1000 - for any cancelation before Spring semester begins
  • Spring semester: $700 - for any cancelation before Summer semester begins

If applicable, students approved to cancel a housing contract during a term will be prorated a portion of the term of housing and meal plan, depending on their departure date. Students will not be prorated if their exit occurs within two weeks before the last day of classes.

Documentation Requirements

The Residency Options Committee reviews submitted exemption requests and petitions for in-term contract release seven times a year in accordance with the criteria detailed below. The student is notified of the committee's decision via their Pacific email account within five business days of the committee's meeting.

Exemptions and contract releases are granted one academic year at a time. A new form must be submitted each academic year until the University’s eligibility requirements to live off campus are met.

Age exemption

To pursue an exemption based on being over the age of 21 at start of fall semester (for fall 2024: born on or before August 26, 2003), you do not need to provide documentation, as Campus Living can verify your age through university records. Please note that being 21 or turning 21 during the housing term/after taking occupancy is not a valid reason for a contract release.

Living locally documentation

Students who live locally (within 20 miles of the Forest Grove campus) with an immediate family member (parent/legal guardian/sibling) must provide:

  • description of relationship to the family member; 
  • proof of residence including the local address (e.g. a copy of the immediate family member’s Oregon driver’s license or utility bill in their name)

The Residence Options Committee uses Google Maps to calculate the mileage between the immediate family member's address and Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, Oregon. The shortest distance displayed is used. The mileage exemption to live at home with an immediate family member is not an option once the housing term begins. This must be the family member's primary/permanent address.

Marriage documentation

Requires a copy of the marriage or domestic partnership license.

Child dependent documentation

Requires a copy of the child’s birth certificate and any supporting documentation.

New transfer students documentation

Only available to new transfer students prior to the housing term starting/taking occupancy. Requires student to submit documentation from the prior college/university, demonstrating that the student attended the school the equivalent of 4 semesters post-high school. Time enrolled while also in high school or boarding school does not apply. The transfer student exemption is not an option once the housing term begins.

Note: if a student is simply looking to have time counted toward their residency requirement and they plan to live on campus, they should email reslife@pacificu.edu.

Extenuating circumstances

In rare circumstances, students may face other extreme extenuating circumstances that may warrant an exemption or contract release. In these situations, students should follow the documentation guidance below to provide as much information as possible for the committee to thoroughly review your situation.

  • Financial hardship documentation: Students requesting an exemption or contract release based upon financial hardship must provide documented evidence of extreme financial need. Students must be able to demonstrate that there has been a significant change in their financial status and that they have exhausted their financial options. Students must have submitted the most recent FAFSA or ORSAA. If no FAFSA/ORSAA exists, students must submit copies of the most recent federal tax return and evidence of extreme financial hardship (e.g. death of primary income provider, recent employment termination, medical expenses exceeding maximum insurance coverage, etc.).
  • Religious requirements documentation: Students requesting an exemption or contract release based upon religious requirements must provide documentation submitted by a religious leader. Documentation must be able to illustrate the religious requirements, how living on campus does not allow the student to meet the religious requirement, and how living off campus would alleviate that hardship.
  • Medical and/or psychological requirements documentation: Students requesting an exemption or contract release based on barriers related to a medical or psychological condition should first meet with the Office of Accessibility & Accommodation Services (OAA) to see if an accommodation to the university's policy is warranted. Visit this webpage to get started with OAA. This office will recommend an exemption or contract released for students who have a disability that cannot be accommodated on in campus housing.
  • If your exemption request or petition to be released from contract is for another reason, applicable documentation must be provided.

Financial Aid Impact:

Be sure to connect with the Financial Aid Office in advance of submitting an exemption request or petition for contract release to see if there will be any implications to your financial aid package if you are approved to live off campus.

Maintaining Housing Eligibility

Residents of campus housing must maintain the following eligibility requirements:

  • They are enrolled as a Pacific University undergraduate or graduate student (full-time or part-time) or enrolled in the English Language Institute and actively taking classes.
  • They are in good standing with the Business Office on the day of registration for each term or prior to the assignment of a space

Residence Hall & House Eligibility

First year students (and many second year students) live in Cascade Hall, McCormick Hall, or Walter Hall. Upperclassmen typically live in Burlingham Hall, Gilbert Hall, and Vandervelden Court. While residence halls no longer have age or time-in-residence eligibility restrictions (starting Fall 2024), Campus Living follows this pattern in making housing assignments. New, traditionally-aged freshmen will not initially be placed in apartments or houses.

  • Environmental House: based on an application and selection process. Only 2nd year students and above are eligible to live in this house.
  • Pine House, Stadium House: being an undergraduate student with over 60 completed credits at time of application or being a graduate student.

Information on this webpage reflect the 2024-2025 residency and meal plan requirements and exemption procedures. See the Residence Hall Handbook for the current 2023-2024 requirements.

Residency/meal plan requirements and exemption processes subject to change.