Housing

RESIDENCE LIFE

Living on campus in the residence halls, suites, apartments, or townhouses is an essential part of each student’s educational experience. The Office of Residence Life attempts to create an environment conducive to the social learning and the intellectual and emotional development of each member of the community. The College is a member of the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I).

Five residence halls, a suite-style complex, an apartment/suite complex, and two townhouse complexes house more than 85 percent of the full-time undergraduate students at the College. The Office of Residence Life is managed by administrators who are trained and experienced in helping students learn outside the classroom. Residence Hall Coordinators (RHCs) and Resident Assistants (RAs) are student staff members who live on each wing or in each area and provide residence hall programming, informal counseling, mediations, advising, and policy enforcement when needed. The College also provides a housekeeping staff to clean the public areas in the residence halls.

One of the College's housing options, the Edward T. Lewis Quadrangle, opened in 2001. This 210-bed residence hall consists of 6-, 10-, and 14-person suites. Each suite contains a common living area, two bathrooms and double bedrooms. Waring Commons, our newest housing complex, opened in August 2003. A new addition opened in August 2007. This facility has six- or eight-person suites which are similar to the Lewis Quad suites, as well as apartments. Most of the apartments have four single bedrooms (a few have three single bedrooms and one double room), one bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room/dining room combination. Students must have at least junior class standing in order to live in the apartments. Returning students must submit an application to be considered for the suites or apartments. Assignments are determined by earned credits. New students may be housed in the suites on a space-available basis. Some of the suites and apartments house special living-learning center (LLC) programs, such as the international languages suite (Lewis Quad), the Women in Science House (WiSH in Waring Commons), and the Eco-House (in Waring Commons). For more information about the LLC programs, which have reserved a limited number of spaces for new students, please contact the Office of Residence Life, the International Languages and Cultures department (Prof. Israel Ruiz), or the mathematics department (Prof. Katherine Socha), or the biology department (Prof. Bill Williams). A Substance- and Alcohol-Free Environment (SAFE House), housed in Waring Commons and Queen Anne, was created in 2007. First-year students may apply for this program by contacting the Office of Residence Life (Kelly Smolinsky).

Calvert Hall provides a different residence hall environment for students. Due to the unique nature of the building (administrative offices and student rooms in one building), extended quiet hours are enforced from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in addition to the regular quiet hours at night. A limited number of spaces are available in this building for students who are housed in singles, doubles, triples, and a few quad bedrooms.

The College-owned townhouses offer upperclass students an alternative living arrangement. These two-bedroom units include a full kitchen, living room, dining room, patio, and bathroom, and provide a natural transitional experience for students who will soon be living on their own. Students living in the townhouses pay their own electric bills. Students must have at least junior class standing in order to live in the townhouses. Returning students must complete a separate application for available townhouse spaces, and assignments are determined by earned credits.

In addition to the suites, apartments, and townhouses, St. Mary’s College also offers traditional-style residence halls. These buildings contain mostly double rooms with some single bedrooms and study rooms which may be used as bedrooms on an as-needed basis. Each building has six bathrooms, a shared kitchen for occasional snacks, a recreation room, laundry room, and other amenities.

It is considered a privilege to live on campus. As resident students gain certain rights and privileges, they are in turn asked to assume certain responsibilities. Each resident student signs a Housing Contract that serves as a contractual relationship with the College about living on campus. Students should familiarize themselves with all terms of the contract. In addition, by signing the contract, the student agrees to comply with all College and residence hall/suite/townhouse/apartment policies listed in the student handbook, To the Point, as well as those listed on the College's web site.

The Housing Contract is binding for the entire academic year, and release is considered only under the following circumstances:

  1. the student graduates, transfers, takes a leave of absence, or withdraws from the College;
  2. the student participates in a College-approved program that requires off-campus residency;
  3. the student is granted a written release after having submitted a written request to the associate dean of students to be released by established dates and only for special, extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. For returning students, the written request for fall semester release must be submitted by May 1; for new students, by June 5. For spring semester release, the written request must be submitted by November 1. If students are not granted a written release but choose to live off-campus, they are still responsible for the terms of the contract, including payment of fees for the assigned residence space. In addition, students who are involuntarily removed from housing for disciplinary reasons are not eligible for any refund of housing fees. Students are urged not to enter into any off-campus housing contracts until they are formally released from their on-campus Housing Contract.

Two housing policies went into effect during the 1998 fall semester. The first policy states that students are guaranteed housing for a maximum of eight semesters (excluding summer sessions). Students should plan to live off-campus if they continue to attend SMCM beyond eight semesters. Students attending the Master of Arts in Teaching program are not eligible for housing. The second policy states that only current, registered, resident students can select housing in March for the following academic year. Commuters and transfers will be accommodated in campus housing only after all new, first-year students are assigned to housing in June. Students wishing to be granted an exception to either of these policies must submit a written request to the assistant director of residence life no later than February 26. Exceptions will be made only for extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. There is no guarantee that an exception will be made, so students should plan accordingly and submit requests early.

Students will be held responsible for damage to their rooms, damage to the contents of the room(s), and for damage to public areas in the residences. The College reserves the right to inspect the rooms periodically and repair, at the expense of the occupant(s), any room and furniture which has been damaged beyond normal wear. The College is not responsible for the loss or damage of any student property resulting from fire, theft, water, or any other cause. Students are strongly encouraged to ensure they have appropriate personal property insurance. All resident students must make a room security deposit ($50 in all residence halls; $150 for suite, townhouse, and apartment residents) as part of their annual fees. This deposit is credited to the student’s account after all assessments are made and any damages incurred to the room, wing, or hall have been subtracted.

Because of health and safety regulations, cooking is permitted only in the kitchen areas of the residence halls and in the kitchens of the apartments and townhouses. The residence halls are closed during College vacations, and student occupancy is not permitted. Students living in the suites, townhouses, and apartments may elect to remain on campus over Thanksgiving and Spring Break. Access through the outside entrances to the traditional halls and to Waring Commons is by cardkey (the student ID card). These residences are locked 24 hours a day. Access through the outside entrances to the individual Townhouse and Lewis Quad units is by key.

EXPANDED HOUSING

While the College attempts to accurately predict the number of on-campus residential spaces available for the upcoming year, factors beyond the College’s control occasionally result in temporary overflow situations. To honor its commitment to provide housing, the Office of Residence Life may assign students to doubles-as-triples, study rooms, and put additional students into certain townhouses or apartments. Students involuntarily assigned to a double-as-triple or to a five-person townhouse or apartment, or a six-person apartment will receive a $40 per week ($640 per semester) credit on their student account. (Note: Natural triples and quads in Calvert Hall are not eligible for the credit. These rooms were designed to accommodate three or four people.) Students assigned to study rooms are not eligible for the credit since the study rooms are considerably larger than standard rooms in the residence halls. Expanded housing assignments are temporary. As soon as space is available, students in these expanded housing spaces will be reassigned. If the students decline the reassignment, the rebate will end, since the students will be living in the expanded housing room voluntarily. Students in the expanded housing rooms will have basic furniture provided to them: a bed, desk, chair, and dresser. Closet or wardrobe space may need to be shared. In some rooms, the bed will be lofted. In other cases, beds will be bunked in order to provide more floor space for the occupants.

OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING

Off-campus housing opportunities are extremely limited in St. Mary’s County. Students interested in housing should review local newspapers, check the residence life web page, or request listings from the Office of Residence Life. Special attention should be given to availability of transportation and utility costs before a student selects off-campus housing.

TO APPLY FOR STUDENT HOUSING

New Students
  1. After being admitted to the College, individuals wishing on-campus housing must complete the following procedures:
    1. New students must make a $200 advance payment for student housing by the date specified in the letter of admission. Information about the “Housing Contract,” “Health History Form,” “Drug-Free Campus Policy and Acknowledgment,” and “Roommate Matching Form” will be available on the student Portal site in early March for early decision students who have already paid the advance payment, or early May for regular decision students who have submitted the advance payment. Students will receive instructions about submitting these forms online. To request hard copies, please contact the Office of Residence Life (240-895-4207).
    2. New students who are 18 or older should complete and electronically sign the Housing Contract, the Drug-Free Acknowledgment form, and the Roommate Matching Form online (using the student Portal). If the student is not yet 18 years of age, the student may submit the Roommate Matching Form online, but the student must submit a hard copy of the Housing Contract and the Drug-Free Campus Acknowledgment and a parent or legal guardian must co-sign both documents. The Housing Contract, the signed Drug-Free Acknowledgment form, and the the Roommate Matching Form must be received by the Office of Residence Life by June 4, 2010. Students who do not submit the Housing Contract by June 4, 2010 will not be assigned to housing until the contract is submitted. Room assignments will be made using the preference information on the Roommate Matching Form, and housing will be assigned in the order that the advance payments are received by the Business Office. Due to space limitations, preferences may not always be granted. Students may be placed in available spaces without prior consultation.
    3. Students must also complete the Health History Form and include verification of required immunizations before being permitted to move into College housing. The Health History Form must be returned to the Health Center in the envelope provided.
    4. Should the student not make the advance payment by the due date specified in the letter of admission, he/she forfeits the offer of guaranteed housing.
  2. New students will receive specific room assignments, roommate information, and check-in instructions in July for the fall semester, and in January for the spring semester.
  3. New students with disabilities who seek accommodations in their academic courses or in their housing assignments must submit documentation of their disabilities to the compliance coordinator prior to seeking accommodations. The deadline for submitting requests for housing accommodations to the Office of Residence Life is June 1, 2010. The compliance coordinator will send recommendations to the Office of Residence Life by June 4, 2010.
  4. New students with medical considerations who seek special housing accommodations, including the use of a College-provided window air conditioner (for an additional $150 annual fee), must submit documentation of the medical problem to the Health Center prior to seeking accommodations. The deadline for submitting requests for housing accommodations to that office is June 1, 2010 for the fall 2010 semester. The director or designee will send recommendations to the Office of Residence Life by June 4, 2010. Late requests may not be granted. There is an additional $100 fee for submitting a late request.
Returning Students
  1. Each returning student submits a Housing Contract electronically, or a hard copy can be picked up from his or her RHC, the Glendening service desk, or the Office of Residence Life during the time period specified in February. After reading the Guide to Room Selection, the student must do the following:
    1. Submit the completed Housing Contract and a deposit of $200 electronically or in person to the Business Office by February 26, 2010.
    2. Complete and submit any applications for special housing (medical, single room, non-traditional student housing, suite, apartment, or townhouse) to the Office of Residence Life by the specified date.
    3. Go through “Room Draw” (room selection process) in late March if a room has not previously been assigned.
  2. Special housing applicants (medical, single room, non-traditional student housing, suite, apartment, or townhouse) will be notified of the status of their applications prior to the general “Room Draw.”
  3. A wait-list is maintained for students who wish to make room changes after room assignments have been made.
  4. Failure to submit a Housing Contract and make an advance payment by the deadline will result in the student being placed on a waiting list for housing and forfeiting the right to guaranteed housing and room preference.
  5. Students receive specific room assignments, roommate information, and check-in instructions in July for the fall semester.
  6. Returning students with disabilities who seek accommodations in their academic courses or in their housing assignments must submit documentation of their disabilities to the compliance officer by February 12 prior to seeking accommodations. The deadline for submitting the housing application for special housing accommodations to the Office of Residence Life is March 5, 2010.
  7. Returning students with medical considerations who seek special housing accommodations, including the use of a College-provided window air conditioner (for an additional $150 annual fee), must submit documentation of the medical problem to the Health Center by February 12 prior to seeking accommodations. The deadline for submitting the housing application for special housing accommodations to the Office of Residence Life is March 5, 2010.
All Students
  1. Full payment of tuition, fees, and room and board charges must be made to the Business Office by the specified due date. Students who neglect to make payment lose their reservation and advance payment while remaining accountable to the terms of the Housing Contract.
  2. Returning students must be registered for at least 12 credits by June 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester. New students must be registered for at least 12 credits by August 15 for the fall semester and January 16 for spring semester. Failure to register by these dates will result in the cancellation of the student’s housing assignment. Resident students must be registered as full-time (12 or more credits) unless they receive prior written permission from the associate dean of students. Resident students who are permitted to drop below 12 credits must still pay the full-time tuition fee and are not permitted to be registered for less than eight credits at any time, and must maintain exemplary behavior. Students are urged to check with insurance companies first, to ensure continued coverage.
  3. Questions about the status of a student’s application for on-campus housing should be directed to the Office of Residence Life.
  4. Room changes will be permitted after the first two weeks of the fall semester and after the last two weeks of January with written permission from the assistant director of residence life.