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).

Contract cancellations and release requests are not automatically granted. When you receive notice of your assignment, you are also given a contract binding date. On this date, your contract with the University of Iowa for on-campus housing becomes legally binding.


Standard reasons for release

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. 

Reasons for release:

  • You are not attending the University of Iowa due to graduation, withdrawal, transfer or academic dismissal.
  • You are married and living with your partner in the community. A marriage certificate is 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 is required.
  • You are called to duty for active military service. Military orders are required for verification.
  • You cancel prior to your contract binding date.

Note: If you cancel your housing contract because you are not attending the University of Iowa and then re-enroll in classes during the contract term, you will be financially responsible for your housing contract.

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 and Dining.
  • Roommate conflicts.
  • Opportunity to live in Greek/FSL 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.

Requests to be released from your University Housing and Dining contract to live off-campus are only considered when demand for housing exceeds occupancy. 

Note: In the event you live in expanded housing, this 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 two to three times a semester to review contract release requests. The committee is a group of six professionals from student support offices across campus that carefully consider each request received. Once a decision has been reached, you will be notified via email and the decision will be final. This process can take up to four weeks.

You may request a buyout of your University Housing and Dining contract for the non-negotiable rate. 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.

2022-2023 Academic Year Contract Buyout Rates

  • Contract binding date to October 14, 2022: $5,800
  • October 15 to December 17, 2022: $4,350
  • January 14 to March 10, 2023: $2,900
  • March 11 to May 13, 2023: $1,450

The effective date of your buyout is determined based upon when you officially check out of the residence halls. 

Your housing contract may be terminated by University Housing and Dining 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.