As a four-year residential liberal arts institution, Colgate houses the vast majority of students close to its academic core; but each year, a limited number of students in their senior year may apply to live in privately owned, off-campus housing in the Village of Hamilton.

Not all students who apply are guaranteed permission to live off campus. Historically, between 45–60 percent of those who apply are approved for private, off-campus housing. Final decisions are made using a lottery process. Students should not sign a lease prior to approval for off-campus housing. If a student is not approved, they will be responsible for both the costs of on-campus housing and the off-campus lease.

If a student is not approved through the lottery to live in private off-campus housing, they should plan to participate in the on-campus housing selection process.

Eligibility for Off-Campus Housing

Student applicants who meet eligibility requirements will be entered into a lottery to determine acceptance in the off-campus housing. To apply for off-campus housing, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Rising senior
  • Good academic standing
  • Good disciplinary standing. Students with five or more points or Commitment to Community Health Violations are ineligible for the off-campus housing
  • Notes for:

Members of fraternities and sororities should be mindful of their chapter's house quota limitations and obligation to fill their houses before they enter the lottery process. Approvals for private off-campus housing are contingent on chapter houses meeting their occupancy requirements.

Students studying remotely during the fall of their junior year may still participate in the off-campus housing application process. Students studying remotely will receive the same emails and access to the application as students on campus.

Remote and o students should be mindful, however, of time zone differences that may affect application submission deadlines. Students having difficulty accessing their application while off campus may contact the Office of Residential Life for assistance.

Application Process and Deadline

The lottery process occurs during the fall semester of a student’s junior year.

The application process entails:

  1. Students in the junior class will receive an email announcing the start of the application period and providing instructions for applying.
  2. Residential Life reviews the eligibility of all applicants.
  3. Applicants who meet eligibility requirements will then be permitted to form roommate groups if they choose, or may remain in the process as individuals. Roommate groups are “all or nothing” groups. The entire group will be approved or declined as a whole through the lottery. Roommate groups must be eight students or fewer.
  4. Each individual entering the lottery alone and each roommate group is then randomly assigned a lottery number.
  5. Residential Life approves students for off-campus living in lottery number order until the available number of off-campus beds has been filled.
  6. Once approved, students may accept or decline their offer to live in privately owned, off-campus housing. If students decline the offer, additional off-campus housing applicants will receive an offer according to their lottery numbers. Any offers to students on the waitlist will be made by the end of January. The process will then close permanently.

Information for Accepted Students

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program

The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program provides students with important information about living in the Hamilton community, resources available should they encounter difficulties, and expectations for student conduct while living in the village.

All students accepted for off-campus housing must participate in the program in the spring semester of their junior year. Students who will be participating in off-campus study during the spring semester of junior year will receive an electronic version of the program.

Finding Off-Campus Housing

Colgate does not assist students with securing private, off-campus living accommodations and does not endorse any particular landlord. Colgate does not have responsibilities or involvement with any portion of an off-campus lease. 

The Office of Residential Life does have a list of area landlords and their contact information, which can be provided to students after being accepted for off-campus housing. However, Colgate does not maintain any information regarding the properties offered by each landlord. Landlords are informed of Colgate’s housing process and deadlines, and many landlords will request Colgate’s written permission from the Office of Residential Life stating a release from on-campus housing prior to signing a lease with a student. Students must thoroughly review the lease agreement, as they are solely responsible for all terms of the lease.

Submit Confirmation of Off-Campus Residence

Students accepted to the off-campus housing program must report their off-campus residence to the University through submission of a signed lease. If you do not wish to share a signed lease with the University, do not accept the Private Off-Campus Housing approval. Acceptance is contingent on having a signed lease for every student living in a private, off-campus residence.

Changing Roommate Groupings

It is possible that students will need to alter their roommate groupings from what was submitted in the lottery process based on the housing units available for lease in the village. Students may alter their roommate groups provided:

  • The new roommate grouping is made clear to the Office of Residential Life when submitting signed leases.
  • All students in the off-campus residence have already been accepted to live off campus through the lottery process. No additional students will be released to accommodate a lease.
  • No roommate groups exceed eight students

Student Conduct

The Colgate University Code of Student Conduct applies to student behavior both on and off campus. Living in private, off-campus housing is a privilege, not a right. The University is sensitive to the importance of maintaining quality-of-life standards for neighbors in Hamilton and has high expectations for the students living in the village.

Students who have questions about the expectations of the Village and of Colgate of living in private, off-campus housing should talk with the Office of Residential Life before deciding to live in private, off-campus housing.

Revoking Off-Campus Residency Permissions

Students living in private, off-campus housing whose conduct adversely impacts the lives of others in the community may, in addition to facing disciplinary action from the village and the University, have their permission to live in private, off-campus housing revoked. Financial penalties incurred by breaking a lease will not be considered in determining whether to revoke a student’s permission to live off campus.


Contact the Office of Residential Life.