Housing Policy Exemptions
Valparaiso is by design a residential University. Living on-campus represents an integral component of the mission of the institution by providing living and learning experiences that lead to a student’s growth and development, and an enhancement of one’s total education at Valparaiso University. Because residential life is an important aspect of the Valparaiso University experience, all undergraduate students are required to live in University-operated housing for six (6) semesters.
Students subject to the on-campus residency requirement who do not qualify for one of the exceptions outlined in the Student Housing Policy may seek an exemption to the residency requirement by submitting a Housing Exemption Request in their Housing and Dining Self-Service in DataVU for the following reasons:
|Status||Description||Action / Supporting Documentation|
|Financial Hardship||Student has experienced a recent and unforeseen financial hardship that significantly impacts their ability to attend the University if not permitted to live off-campus. Financial savings is not considered a valid reason for financial hardship.||1. Meet with the Office of Financial Aid is required to see if additional aid is available.|
2. Email to Residential Life: A typed, detailed explanation of how your circumstances would limit you from living on campus and any relevant supporting documentation. Clarify as to where you plan to live if granted an exemption. If living at home, the Commuter Student Agreement is required.
|Medical||Student has a diagnosed medical need that cannot be accommodated appropriately within on-campus housing.||1. Submit the Special Housing Accommodations/Housing Policy Exemption Supporting Information form completed by the provider. This form can be faxed to the AARC’s office at 219.464.5086 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by your medical professional. |
2. Meet with the AARC to review and discuss the request.
The Access and Accommodations Resource Center (AARC) oversees medical housing exemptions. All required documentation should be sent to email@example.com.
|Commuter||Student who lives exclusively in the permanent or primary residence of a parent or legal guardian within 25 miles of the Valparaiso University campus. Owning a secondary residence within 25 miles of campus does not satisfy this requirement.||1. Email to Residential Life: Commuter Student Agreement form, a photocopy of parent/guardian driver’s license, and current utility bill.|
2. Meet with a Residential Life staff member to discuss commuting.
The Housing Agreement is a binding agreement that obligates the student to live in University-operated housing for a full academic year. Students are not excused from the Agreement because they reach the age of exemption or have lived on campus for six (6) semesters midyear. Students are also not automatically excused from the Agreement if they drop below 12 credit hours, other off-campus living units midyear, or wish to commute. Students who wish to change their housing status will need to place a housing exemption request in their Housing Self-Service in DataVU. Students who breach the University’s housing agreement without prior written approval will be responsible for the entire amount of the costs associated with their housing assignment.
|Age||Student who is or will be 22-years of age by September 1 of the applicable academic year.||The date of birth is established prior to initial enrollment.|
|Child||Student that is a parent of a minor child with whom they will live.||Copy of Birth Certificate required.|
|Married||Student is legally married.||Copy of Marriage Certificate required.|
|Veteran||Student is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces.||Confirmation from the Office of Financial Aid.|
Supporting documentation must be submitted within 2 weeks of the request. If supporting documentation is not received for review within 2 weeks, the request will be denied. Students not meeting one or more of the reasons above may submit a request to Residential Life for consideration. Exemptions not meeting one of the above reasons will be reviewed only under extenuating circumstances. Students should not make any arrangements with off-campus housing alternatives until such time as a decision is made. The committee’s decision is final.
Midyear housing policy exemption requests will not be approved solely for the purpose of living off-campus, because they match one of the exemption criteria midyear, or to commute from home.
Students who are released from their University Housing Agreement (via their exemption approval) are subject to a cancellation fee (up to $400).
- Review the list of required documentation and be prepared to upload any required documents in your Housing and Dining Self-Service through DataVU.
- Review “Common Situations and Reasons for which Exemption Requests are Denied”. [See below]
- Log into your Housing and Dining Self-Service through DataVU.
- Under Application on the left select the Housing Policy Exemption Request form.
- In the application select the reason and provide the reasoning for the request.
- Upload any supporting documentation/information into Housing and Dining Self-Service.
- Note size limits for uploading. Instructions on resizing are provided if needed.
- Submit Request.
- All Students will be notified via their University email account as to the status of the request, or if the request has been forwarded to the Exemption Review Team. Once the Exemption Review Team meets the student will then also be notified of the decision through email.
Common Situations and Reasons Exemptions Requests are Denied
The following is a list of situations where exemption requests may be denied, but other solutions may be available.
It is important for students to refer to the requested documentation list for the reason for the exemption request. Students need to provide sufficient documentation for a review. Failure to provide the requested documentation may result in your exemption not being considered or, minimally, a delay in a decision by the Exemption Review Team.
Residence hall living is a new experience for most students and requires a certain amount of adjustment. If a student has made a fair adjustment to the hall environment but is still unhappy, a change of hall, room, floor, or roommate may be an effective remedy. Residence life staff are available to work with residents individually to find a solution if a specific issue continues to be a problem or concern.
Even with documentation from a doctor or therapist, most conditions do not automatically exempt students from policy and contract obligations. Specific health-related conditions and needs must be outlined by a medical or mental health professional. Students seeking an exemption for this reason are expected to contact the Access and Accommodations Resource Center (AARC) and submit all medical documentation to their office for their review. The AARC will notify Residential Life if they recommend an exemption based on your submitted documentation.
Requests based on disability require students to identify and discuss with the Access and Accommodations Resource Center (AARC) the specific areas of concern and issues they are experiencing. Through this process, the student and AARC will explore access solutions. Residential Life works collaboratively with the AARC to meet students’ disability-related needs. AARC will notify Residential Life if they recommend an exemption based on your submitted documentation.
Lack of funds alone is not a basis for an exemption. Finances for the academic year should be considered before choosing to enroll at the University and/or signing the housing agreement. Financial aid is available to those who qualify based on need, and Residential Life relies on the expertise of the Office of Financial Aid to determine if a student has sufficient financial aid and other funding options to attend Valparaiso University. If the student plans to seek an exemption based on financial hardship they must provide the requested documentation for review by the Exemption Review Team.
Needing to be at home to help with a family business, take care of siblings or other family members, or take care of pets or other animals is not a reason for an exemption. The student, along with their family, must explore alternative solutions to accommodate these needs. If the student lives within the 20-mile commuter distance, and has not submitted a housing agreement, they can request an exemption based on commuting by submitting the requested documentation. If the student plans to submit an exemption request for personal hardship they must provide the requested documentation for review by the Exemption Review Team.
The choice to commute from the home of a parent or legal guardian must be made prior to signing the Housing Agreement. Students who are eligible to commute from the home of their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must submit their request and be approved before the start of the academic year. The commuter exemption does not allow for living with siblings, grandparents, other relatives, or a fiancée/significant other without other extenuating documented circumstances. A housing exemption will not be granted for a student who wants to become a commuter after the start of the academic year.
Pets are not allowed in the residence halls, but if a student has a documented need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), they will need to go through the Access and Accommodations Resource Center (AARC) for approval. Students are encouraged to contact the AARC or review their website before starting the request process to ensure they qualify for an ESA.