Off-Campus Living

In the Fall of 2008, Student Senate and the Division of Student Life convened a group of students, faculty and administrators to develop the process by which students apply and are selected for permission to live off campus.  The working group's charge was to address student concerns associated with the process and to create intentional ways of assisting students with living productively and responsibly in the local neighborhoods.  The process and associated documents linked below have been endorsed by the all-college Committee on Enrollment and Student Life. 

As you consider this process, please know that Dickinson has a four-year residency requirement, meaning that all full-time enrolled first-year, sophomore, junior and senior students are required to live in college housing and participate in a college meal plan. A number of permissions for off-campus housing are granted because the college does not currently have enough beds to house all students in college-owned or operated housing. This number fluctuates each year based on numerous variables. For the past few years, the number of applications for off-campus permissions has outnumbered the off-campus permissions granted. 

Important elements of the process include: 

  1. An opportunity for students to apply for off-campus releases in groups (up to 4 individuals per group as per Carlisle Borough Code).
  2. Conduct screening of applicants by:
    • requiring a reflective essay by applicants who have had conduct violations
    • vesting final decisions about applicants with a conduct history in a panel of a Student Senate representative, two members of the Community Advisor (CA) staff, a faculty member and a staff member who live within the Carlisle Borough.  
  3. A clear articulation that a lottery will be used if demand by eligible students is in excess of the number of permissions available
  4. Involving Student Senate in oversight of assignment of lottery numbers for transparency
  5. A requirement that successful candidates participate in a seminar about productive neighborhood living.

Information sessions will be held to provide applicants with more specific information about the process.  Applications will be available at each session and students interested in applying to live off campus will have the opportunity to ask questions. The information session dates are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday, December 7 at 5pm: Althouse 106
Thursday, December 8 at 12noon: Althouse 106

An additional information session is being offered for students studying abroad in the Fall '16 semester. This additional session will be held on Tuesday, January 24, at 12:00 pm - Dana 110.  

To apply for off campus housing, submit your application here: APPLICATION DEADLINE HAS PASSED

The timeline for Fall 2017-Spring 2018 off-campus permission is as follows:

  • Friday, February 3, 2017 – Completed Off-Campus Applications due by 4:30PM. An application is not complete until all accompanying documentation has been submitted.
  • Monday, February 5, 2017 – Notice sent to students deemed ineligible for off-campus permission due to violations of the Community Standards.
  • Friday, February 10, 2017 – Deadline for students to adjust their application in the event any initial applicant(s) are deemed ineligible.
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Notice of off-campus permission, based on lottery results, sent via campus email.
  • Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – Deadline for accepting off-campus permission (4:30PM).

Please contact Residence Life & Housing ( with any questions. 

Working Group Report to Enrollment & Student Life All College Committee from December 2008