Grinnell College is a residential college. All full-time students are required to live in student residences and board with College dining all four years. Student residences at Grinnell College are distinctive from that of other residential colleges due to our residential philosophy and Room Draw practice. While living in student residences, students learn to live within the philosophy of self-governance through a variety of living experiences and interactions with other students. Upper-class students choose their rooms for the following year through our Room Draw process.

Exceptions to our residential policy are granted to the very few students who:

  • are 22 years of age or older by September 1 (the following academic year)
  • live with their parent(s) who resides in the Grinnell area
  • are legally married (or legally partnered in a civil union)
  • have a child(ren) living with them.

Exceptions are also granted to a limited number of seniors and third-year students who request to live off-campus and have been granted permission by Residence Life. Permission to live off-campus must be obtained from Residence Life  each academic year. Students should NOT sign a lease until off-campus permission has been obtained. Students who choose to live off-campus without receiving permission from Residence Life are held financially responsible for residential room and board.

Returning second year students must plan to have (at least) one roommate. The choice regarding roommate(s) is a very important decision. As students consider their rooming arrangements for the upcoming year, we ask that they keep in mind the decision will last the entire year.

All incoming first-year students will have (at least) one roommate. Rooms are reserved on nearly every floor in most residence halls for the incoming first-year class. Students are matched with their future roommate and assigned a room according to the information provided on their online Roommate Form. Incoming first-year students are encouraged to answer ALL questions on their online Roommate Form and answer them honestly to ensure the best possible roommate match and room assignment.

In the event a vacancy occurs within a room, Residence Life will work with students to find a new roommate. Roommate consolidation typically begins after the start of each semester (approximately two weeks after classes begin) and continues throughout the remainder of the term.  Residence Life reserves the right to assign a roommate or fill a vacancy regardless of permission of the current occupant, but will do their best to accommodate roommate choices.

Vacancies are filled for two reasons:

  1. Having a roommate is an integral part of the Grinnell experience, especially for first year students. When living with a peer, students learn the necessary lifetime skills of negotiation, compromise, and communication.
  2. Vacant rooms are needed for various reasons such as emergency and medical placement needs as well as providing room assignments for students returning from fall term study abroad programs and incoming spring transfer students. Our roommate consolidation process is a great way for students with a vacancy in their room to find a new roommate. The vacant room created by consolidation helps us meet our emergency placement needs.

Please feel free to contact Residence Life (641-269-3700) for more information.