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Your Guide To Fall 2020 Housing Contract Cancellations

As you check LionPATH every few hours and slowly realize the majority of your fall semester course load is destined for Zoom, you’ve probably thought about getting out of your housing contact and living at home.

Luckily, Penn State Housing is on the same wavelength. It’s allowing students, both underclassmen, freshmen, and everyone in between, to submit contract cancellation requests if they desire, marking the first time in recorded history it’s been easy to escape your on-campus housing contract.

With many decisions to weigh and procedures to follow, actually canceling your contract can be a tricky process. Below, you’ll find all the information we know to help you make the decision that’s best for you.


Living Off-Campus (Fall & Spring)

Students may want to move off-campus depending on how their classes will be delivered this fall or due to more personal worries, such as their health and finances. Those who wish to move off-campus for both the fall and spring semesters have until noon on Wednesday, July 15 to submit a penalty-fee-free cancellation request. Forms submitted after the deadline may be coupled with an unspecified fee.

To submit your request, head over to eLiving, fill out the contract cancellation form, and type “COVID” in the comment field. You should receive a response within 24 to 48 hours, according to Housing.

Following the July 15 deadline, students who want to cancel their housing contract for both semesters must submit a separate slate of paperwork. No matter how these forms are submitted, requests will be reviewed by a committee and responses will gradually get sent out.

Living At Home (Fall Only)

Housing is giving students a separate opportunity to get out of their contracts for the fall semester only while maintaining spring semester housing. This option is ideal for students whose courses have all been moved online or will be conducted through Zoom.

To avoid getting charged for room and board in August, students are required to submit a request for this type of cancellation by noon on Monday, July 27. Just as above, you’ll head over to eLiving, fill out the form, and type “COVID” in the comment field. However, if you need to keep spring housing, type “COVID; keep Spring 2021 Housing HFS Contract” in the comment field.

Once you’ve submitted your request, you should receive word from Housing within 24 to 48 hours. Students’ eLiving accounts will be updated to reflect a canceled fall semester contract and maintained spring contract.

However, if you cancel for just the fall, it’s important to note Housing won’t be able to guarantee the same room or preferences for the spring. Instead, you’ll be placed to “any available vacancy” that may not be up to your standards.

Housing will provide additional information for spring semester housing in later this fall and winter.

First-Year Students

Living At Home (Fall Only)

Because Penn State’s first-year students are required to live on campus in one way or another, they most they can do is cancel housing for the fall and come back for the spring.

To avoid getting charged for room and board, they’ll also need to request a cancellation by noon on Monday, July 27. If you submit after the deadline, you may be charged but see a credit roll through “at a later time.”

As we’ve previously discussed, you’ll head over to eLiving, fill out the form, and type “COVID” in the comment field. First-year students should receive word within 24 to 48 hours. Unlike other scenarios, there’s no penalty for canceling this type of contract.

Once again, it’s important to keep in mind Penn State won’t be able to guarantee housing preferences when you return in the spring. If you’re slated to live it up in the fancy-schmancy digs of renovated East, it might be worth holding out to keep it for the spring.

Leaving Penn State

If the coronavirus pandemic and online classes were enough to make you leave Happy Valley for good, you’ll, of course, be able to get out of your housing contract. To do so, head on over to eLiving and select “First-Year Student Declining Admission Offer” as your reason.

You should receive word from Housing within 24 to 48 hours and have your information send to Admissions so your account can be updated and enrolled courses can be canceled.

There are no penalty fees in this scenario. However, your paid housing deposit will be forfeited.

Additionally, first-year students can defer their admission for up to one year. Students interested should email Admissions and put “Deferral Request” in the subject line.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]


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