Cancellations and Contract Release Requests

When you agree to a housing contract, you are financially responsible for room and board for the contracted period (e.g. the entire academic year both the fall and spring semesters and summer if applicable to your assignment). Contract cancellations and release requests are not automatically granted. When you receive notice of your assignment, you are also given a contract binding date. Upon this date, your contract with the University for on campus housing becomes legally binding.

Contract Cancellation Request Form


You may be released from your housing contract without financial penalty based on the criteria below. Your request for release should be submitted online in the housing application with documentation. The criteria is included below:

  • You are not attending the University due to graduation, withdrawal, transfer, academic dismissal.
  • You are married and living with your spouse in the community (marriage certificate required for verification).
  • You will be participating in an academically-sponsored study abroad, co-op, student teaching, or internship program outside of the Iowa City area (acceptance verification required).
  • You are called to duty for active military service (military orders required for verification).
  • You cancel prior to your contract binding date.
  • Please note: If you cancel your housing contract because you are not attending the University, and then re-enroll in classes during the contract term, you will be financially responsible for your housing contract.

We understand that sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Requests to be released from your housing contract due to extenuating circumstances may be granted, but are not guaranteed. You must provide documentation in order for your request to be evaluated based on:

  • A new medical/psychological condition that was nonexistent prior to your contract binding date that cannot be supported by a Reasonable Request for Accommodations within University Housing and Dining
  • An unforeseen significant financial hardship that occurred after the contract binding date
  • An alternative circumstance not previously addressed

You will not be released from your contract after the binding date due to:

  • Medical/psychological condition that can be accommodated within University Housing & Dining
  • Roommate conflicts
  • Opportunity to live in Greek/Fraternity and Sorority Life housing
  • Wanting to live in an off-campus apartment or at home due to lower cost
  • Desired building and/or community are full
  • Unfulfilled room type preference
  • Switching from in person classes to online only classes. (Switches to online only classes made after the binding date will not be considered for a blanket contract release)

Requests to be released from your University Housing & Dining contract to live off-campus are only considered when demand for housing exceeds occupancy. Please note that the presence of students living in Expanded Housing will not factor into decisions regarding off-campus release requests.

If you are interested in pursuing a contract release due to extenuating circumstances, please contact our office at We will provide you with a form that will need to be completed and information on documentation that is required. After we receive completed forms, we will create a packet for review, utilizing your information provided.

The contract release committee meets 2-3 times a semester to review contract release requests. The committee is a group of 6 professionals from student support offices across campus that carefully consider each request received. Offices represented include Academic Support and Retention, Office of Student Financial Aid, Student Disability Services, Student Health and Wellness, University Counseling Services, and University Housing & Dining. Once a decision has been reached, you will be notified via email and the decision will be final. This process can take up to 4 weeks.

You may request a buyout of your University Housing and Dining contract for the non-negotiable rate of $5,000 for the academic year. If you are interested in pursuing a contract buyout, requests can be submitted online in the housing application portal.

The rate will be adjusted based on the date the buyout is effective:

  • August 18 - October 1: $5,000
  • October 2 - December 18: $3,750
    • Students buying out for the full spring semester must be completely checked out by the last day of the fall term (December 18, 2021) and their buyout effective date will be the first day of the spring term (January 15, 2022).
  • January 23 - February 28: $2,500
  • March 1 - May 14: $1,250

Your housing contract may be terminated by University Housing if you are found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct or any other applicable law or University regulation, you fail to register for courses, or you do not to pay your University Bill.  If your housing contract is terminated you will be responsible for fulfilling the financial terms of your contract and required to pay for the remainder of the academic year.  This is to ensure that the financial interests of the residence system bondholders are met.