Housing

Brown’s housing plans reduce density, allow for single occupancy of rooms and create small “pods” to reduce the number of students who need to be quarantined when an infection is identified.

Undergraduate Options for Spring 2021 Location of Study

Spring Location of Study Options Maintain Fall Location of Study* Study Remotely Outside of Providence Area Move Off Campus in Providence Area Move On Campus in Brown-owned or Brown-leased Housing
First-Years Yes Yes No Yes
Enrolled Sophomores Yes Yes No If space permits**
Enrolled Juniors Yes Yes Yes If space permits**
Enrolled Seniors Yes Yes Yes Yes for seniors currently studying remotely

Students returning from Personal Leave

N/A Yes See above. Yes for juniors and seniors. No, otherwise. If space permits**

*All currently enrolled students will have the option to maintain their fall location of study, though many students living on campus will need to relocate to a different room assignment in the spring.

**In addition to students currently residing on campus, incoming first-years, and seniors returning from remote studies, the following students will have priority to live on campus in Brown-owned or Brown-leased housing:

  • Residential Peer Leaders (RPLs) currently serving remotely who will be able to support the expanded residential community on campus in the spring;
  • Students who live in unsafe environments, who are returning from a medical leave, and those with other exceptional circumstances (students on medical leave wishing to seek readmission will do so through existing University processes);
  • International students for whom studying remotely will cause hardship due to travel restrictions, visas or access to employment training programs in the United States.

All other students studying remotely or on approved personal leaves may request to live on campus in Brown-owned or Brown-leased housing. However, in the event that more students request to live on campus than space permits, we will use a lottery with preferences in the following order:

  • Juniors who are currently studying remotely
  • Sophomores who are currently studying remotely
  • Seniors who are currently taking a personal leave
  • Juniors who are currently taking a personal leave
  • Sophomores who are currently taking a personal leave

All undergraduate students considering studies in the spring will need to provide their location of study no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, via the Location of Study Form provided to students the week of Nov. 2.

In the Spring 2021 Location of Study Form, you will only see the options that are applicable to your circumstances based on your class year, current location of study, permanent address, and whether you are a Brown-RISD dual degree student.

If you chose “remote” as your location of study, you are affirming that you have no intention of visiting the campus or residing within 30 miles of Providence. It’s important to understand that, as a remote student, you will not be able to access campus, campus facilities or in-person resources, and you should not interact in-person with any members of the Brown community. Choosing remote as your location of study in order to live off campus within 30 miles of Providence without permission from Residential Life is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Only juniors and seniors are eligible to reside off campus in the Providence area.

Email [email protected] with questions about location of study.

Decisions about Spring 2021 Housing Assignments

Students who live in Brown-owned or Brown-leased off-campus housing in Spring 2021 will receive their Spring housing assignments in early December. When you receive your housing assignment you will be able to select your date and time of arrival from available time slots over a staggered move-in Jan. 9-12, 2021.

Summary of Spring Location of Study Options

The chart above provides an at-a-glance view of undergraduate student options for Spring 2021 location of study. These options follow the principles outlined in President Christina H. Paxson’s Oct. 29 communication announcing plans for the spring term. This following summary provides further descriptions of the same options outlined in the chart.

See the notes with the chart above regarding the lottery if there are more students outside of these categories who wish to live in residence halls or off-campus housing leased by Brown than there is space.

  1. First-year students:
    • You will be invited to come live on campus in the spring, or you may opt to study remotely, which is defined as outside of the Providence area. (First-years are not eligible to reside off campus in the Providence area, and there will be no exceptions to this policy.)
    • First-year students who choose to live on campus will have an opportunity to identify up to three preferred neighbors; preferences will be considered in the room assignment process but cannot be guaranteed.
    • All first-year students will have the choice to live on campus during the summer term, including those who chose to study remotely this spring.
  2. Sophomores:
    • Currently enrolled sophomores can maintain their current location of study, though many students living on campus will need to relocate to a different room assignment in the spring, or you may choose to study remotely outside of the Providence area in the spring. (Sophomores are not eligible to reside off campus in the Providence area, and there will be no exceptions to this policy.)
    • Sophomores can opt to take a personal leave of absence in the spring and return for the summer term, which is a wonderful time of year to be in Rhode Island.
    • Sophomores who are currently remote or on approved personal leave who wish to live in residence halls or Brown’s off-campus leased housing may do so only if space allows. This aligns with the conditions of personal leaves shared with students earlier this year.
    • Students on medical leave wishing to seek re-admission will do so through existing University processes.
    • Students will be required to report their intended location of study by the Nov. 8 deadline noted above.
  3. Juniors and seniors who are currently on campus, off campus or commuting:
    • Currently enrolled juniors and seniors can maintain their current location of study, though many students living on campus will need to relocate to a different room assignment in the spring, or you may choose to study remotely outside of the Providence area.
    • All juniors and seniors may choose to live off campus in the Providence area in the spring term without seeking off-campus permission in housing they identify on their own.
    • Students will be required to report their intended location of study by the Nov. 8 deadline noted above.
  4. All students currently living in Brown-owned or Brown-leased housing who elect to return in spring:

    In order to welcome a larger number of students to campus, and to devote more central residences to first-years as they learn to navigate Brown, students living on campus this fall should be prepared to vacate their fall assignment and receive a new housing assignment for spring. The Office of Residential Life will communicate with students about whether they will need to relocate when more information is known following the submission of students’ Location of Study Forms.

  5. Seniors who are currently remote or on approved personal leaves:
    • All seniors who are currently remote who wish to live in a residence hall for the spring term will receive a housing assignment, with the goal of allowing as many seniors who want to complete their final semester on campus to do so. Students in this category will be asked to identify themselves using the Location of Study Form that is due by Nov. 8.
    • All seniors who are currently remote or on approved personal leave who wish to live off campus during the spring term, and can secure off-campus housing on their own, can do so. Seniors do not need to request off-campus permission.
    • Seniors returning from a personal leave of absence who wish to live in residence halls or Brown’s off-campus leased housing may do so only if space allows. This aligns with the conditions of personal leaves shared with students earlier this year.
    • Students on medical leave wishing to seek re-admission will do so through existing University processes.
  6. Juniors who are currently remote or on approved personal leave:
    • Juniors who are currently remote or on approved personal leave who wish to live in residence halls or Brown’s off-campus leased housing may do so if space allows. This aligns with the conditions of personal leaves shared with students earlier this year.
    • Juniors in this category who wish to live off campus during the spring term and can secure off-campus housing on their own can do so. Juniors do not need to request off-campus permission; it will be preemptively granted to them.
    • Students on medical leave wishing to seek readmission will do so through existing University processes.
  7. Prioritization if demand exceeds available Brown housing:

    If more students indicate they wish to live in residence halls or Brown off-campus leased housing than space allows, the following students will have priority to live on campus in Brown-owned or Brown-leased housing:

    • Residential Peer Leaders (RPLs) currently serving remotely who will be able to support the expanded residential community on campus in the spring;
    • Students who live in unsafe environments, who are returning from a medical leave, and those with other exceptional circumstances;
    • International students for whom studying remotely will cause hardship due to travel restrictions, visas or access to employment training programs in the United States.

See the notes with the table above regarding the lottery if there are more students outside of these categories who wish to live in residence halls or off-campus housing leased by Brown than there is space.

Overview of Student Housing During COVID-19

The three-term academic calendar established for 2020-21 provides many benefits to reduced density on campus, including in residence halls. The University has developed both a general model for housing on-campus residential students and plans specifically for isolation and quarantine needs.

Overall, the approach to housing is guided by the general principle of reducing density, allowing for single occupancy of rooms to reduce the number of students living in proximity to each other. This includes limiting and assigning the number of students using common restroom facilities. 

In addition to the benefits of reduced density for limiting the transmission of virus, the University is facilitating clusters of students into small, identifiable “pods.” This reduces the number of students who need to be quarantined if an infection is positively identified.

Housing is based on the following operating principles:

  • De-densified housing based on single-room occupancy and types of bathrooms for appropriate ratios of students to bathroom facilities to reduce density of use.
  • Allocation of an adequate number of beds for isolation and quarantine.
  • The potential need to identify additional beds in apartment buildings or hotels as needed.
  • Enhanced cleaning by University custodial staff of all bathrooms from once a day to twice a day.
  • Limited use of common spaces with clear signage on occupancy, social distancing requirements and enhanced cleaning.
  • Restricted access to communal kitchens in on-campus residences, and limited occupancy of gathering spaces.

Housing FAQs

Fall 2020 Housing Assignment Process

To de-densify the residences and provide a single room to every student returning to campus this fall, most previous housing assignments and pending housing requests needed to change.

And to supplement its supply of on-campus housing, the University assigned some students (primarily seniors) to leased off-campus apartments located near Brown shuttle routes in Providence. These units have beeb assigned and billed as if they are on-campus housing, but may have additional policies set by the private property manager

Students who received a housing assignment prior to the Spring 2020 transition to remote learning, as well as those who were eligible for the housing lottery at that time, received an email from the Office of Residential Life with instructions specific to housing circumstances.

Students received new fall housing assignments in August and were informed that that some would have different housing assignments in the Spring 2020 term in order to accommodate students arriving on campus.

Newly arrived students in the fall moved into assigned residences on a staggered schedule between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, 2020. Those who leave campus for Thanksgiving break will not be permitted to return to campus for the remainder of the term. Additional information is available on the Office of Residential Life website:

Office of Residential Life website

Fall 2020 Move-In

As a residential campus, the move-in period at the beginning of the fall term is a logistical and organizational priority in any year. In the context of COVID-19, the necessity of precise organization and maintaining social distancing is paramount. For move-in for the Fall 2020 term, Brown did the following to adjust a crowded process into one that allowed for social distancing:

  • Minimized interactions and allow for social distancing — modeled on the consolidation of students who remained on campus in early April.
  • Staggered the move-in schedule by geography and residence hall, staged over several days on a staggered schedule between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, 2020.
  • Provided detailed signage for drop-off and check-in instructions.
  • Allowed students to ship some belongings pre and post move-in to make move-in day more efficient.
  • Limited the amount of belongings students could bring with them and/or limited the number of people permitted to accompany the student to campus.

Off-Campus Housing

Students must be approved to live off campus and/or to be released from Brown’s six-semester residency requirement. Off-campus students are required to provide their local address and telephone number for the academic year via Banner Self-Service.

Brown students living in local neighborhoods represent the University, and their actions and conduct have an immediate impact on neighbors and reflect back upon Brown. All students approved to live off campus must abide by a details rules and regulations. And the principles of the Brown University Community and the Standards of Student Conduct apply to students in their off-campus lives.

Last updated Oct. 29, 2020. Information on this page may be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.