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Residence Hall Contract Release Requests

The residence hall agreement is a legally binding contract in effect for the full academic year, similar to any other standard landlord/tenant agreement. Students who experience significant and unpredictable changes in their life that occur after they have signed a housing agreement may request to be released from their current residence hall contract. Students are typically not released from their contracts to move in with friends/relatives, because they found another living space that they think better meets their needs, or because they prefer a different living environment.

To apply to be released from your contract, complete the Contract Release Request Form above. Be sure to refer to the accompanying information which outlines the kinds of documentation that need to be provided for different categories of release requests.

You may return your release request in person or by U.S. mail to the Residential Administration Office in East Neptune hall, or fax it to Residential Administration 815-753-9669.

Consequences of Moving Out Without Being Released

Residents who have a contract but live elsewhere are liable for their full room and board charges for the academic year. Housing & Residential Services is notified by Registration and Records of students whose documentation indicates they should be living in university housing but are not listed on our roster.

Withdrawal From the University

Residents who officially withdraw from the University and properly check out from their residence hall are entitled to a reduction in charges as specified in the Addendum.

  • Beginning after the first 60 percent of a semester, a student who officially withdraws from the University and the residence hall, or is released from this contract by the University, shall be required to pay the full semester's room charge and a prorated portion of the board plan based on the weekly meal plan allocation.
  • You are not considered withdrawn from the residence hall until all personal possessions have been removed, and your room key has been turned in.
  • You will be assessed $200 for leaving the hall and not officially checking out of the residence hall. 
  • See your Hall Director or Community Advisor for more information on how to properly check out of your room. 
  • If you are receiving Title IV financial aid, you will be eligible for a prorated refund (reduction in charges) of both room and board for the first 60 percent of your initial semester of attendance at the University. 
  • You must vacate your room and completely remove your belongings from the residence hall within 24 hours after you have withdrawn or are dismissed from the University. If you need to request a short (1 – 3 day) extension to remove all of your belongings, contact your Hall Director. Should you engage in any disruptive behavior during a time granted as an extension, you will be required to leave the hall immediately.
  • Failure to vacate your room gives the University the right to remove all of your property from your room. You will be charged for removal, storage, and disposal of items contingent on the amount of time required and number of items left in the room. Property will be labeled and stored for 30 days and then will be disposed of by the University.

Information about university withdrawals

Financial Hardship

If you seek to be released from your contract because of an unforeseen financial hardship, please contact the Student Financial Aid Office and request that a Financial Aid Confirmation Form be completed on your behalf.  Staff members at the Student Financial Aid Office will complete that form to document the financial aid offered to you and they will forward it to the Residential Administration Office.

Exceptional Causes

Releases from residence hall contracts are not usually granted except for reasons of marriage or graduation. However, a student may apply for a release based on exceptional cause.

You must be able to document (independent verification beyond personal assertion) that some highly compelling reason for a release exists such as:

  • A significant change in your personal situation since the time you signed your residence hall contract.
  • A circumstance that cannot be rectified within the terms of your residence hall contract or alternative resources/options available.
  • Reasons documented must be above and beyond ordinary claims of financial problems, dislike of residence hall living, or convenience.
  • Signing of an off-campus housing or apartment contract is not a sufficient reason for release from a university residence hall contract.
  • Release requests for financial reasons are evaluated following consultation with the Student Financial Aid Office concerning your financial need, loan possibilities, and employment opportunities. Lack of funds alone is generally not considered exceptional cause.
  • Additional procedures for processing requests for release for medical reasons are also available upon request.
  • Denied requests may be appealed to the Housing Release Appeals Board.
  • The appeal procedure is outlined in the notification letter.
  • If your release is granted, your residence hall charges are revised as if you had withdrawn from the university.

Greek Membership

  • Students must not be bound by the freshman residency requirement in order to be eligible for a contract release to move into housing in a SA recognized Greek organization house. This means a student must have either completed 24 credit hours, turned 21, etc. by the semester for which a release has been requested. Freshman students are ineligible for Greek housing during their first year at NIU.
  • Required documentation is a letter on organizational letterhead from the President (or faculty advisor if the President is the applicant) of the chapter in which the student is an active member, verifying that the student has signed a contract/lease to move in to the chapter house.
  • If the student has already paid room and board charges, a refund will be determined based on the date the student vacates the residence hall room and turns in the room key.

Reasons of Marriage

  • Present a certified copy of the marriage certificate (official public record of marriage), which in Illinois is obtained from the county clerk’s office in the county in which the marriage was performed.
  • You may receive a tentative release based on a letter from the clergyman, judge, or magistrate who will be performing the ceremony specifying the anticipated date of the marriage.
  • The release is not official until a certified copy of the marriage certificate is presented to Housing & Residential Services, you completely vacate your room and officially check out of the hall, and you receive your final release in writing from the Residential Administration Office.
  • These steps must be completed no later than the date you request your release to be in effect.
  • Should you receive a tentative release and either not get married or fail to present a certified copy of the marriage certificate to Housing & Residential Services within 30 days of the tentative release date, your full room and board charges will be assessed for the full term of the residence hall contract.
  • Does not apply to Northern View Community Family-Style contracts.

Have a question about requesting a contract release? Contact us.

In the event that a student is granted a release from their contract the refund policy is as follows.

Students who signed a contract for the academic year (fall & spring semesters)
On or before May 1
New students: $125 refund
Returning students: No charge
May 2 – July 1
New students: $75 refund
Returning students: $50 charge
After July 1
New students: $0 refund
Returning students: $125 charge
After August 10
Additional $100 Contract Severance Charge is assessed
After the semester begins
After the semester begins, students will be billed the greater amount of the prorated room and board charges or the charges described above in addition to the $100 contract severance charge (if room and board charges are lower than forfeitures/fines, we may also assess forfeitures/fines to match the above mentioned amounts). No room and board charge adjustments will be issued after the last date to drop a full semester class.
Students who signed contract for the academic year and were granted a release for spring semester only
On or before December 1
No charge
December 2 – December 15
$50 charge
After December 15
$125 charge
After August 10
Additional $100 Contract Severance Charge is assessed
After the semester begins
After the semester begins, students will be billed the greater amount of the prorated room and board charges or the charges described above in addition to the $100 contract severance charge (if room and board charges are lower than forfeitures/fines, we may also assess forfeitures/fines to match the above mentioned amounts). No room and board charge adjustments will be issued after the last date to drop a full semester class.
Students who signed contract for spring semester only
On or before December 1
New students: $125 refund
December 2 – December 15
New students: $75 refund
After December 15
New students: $0 refund
After August 10
Additional $100 Contract Severance Charge is assessed
After the semester begins
After the semester begins, students will be billed the greater amount of the prorated room and board charges or the charges described above in addition to the $100 contract severance charge (if room and board charges are lower than forfeitures/fines, we may also assess forfeitures/fines to match the above mentioned amounts). No room and board charge adjustments will be issued after the last date to drop a full semester class.

Housing and Residential Services
housing@niu.edu
815-753-1525

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