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Residency Requirement

Why live on campus?

The Benefits of Living on Campus

As a residential campus committed to the education of the whole person, the residential experience is considered an integral part of a student’s education and the SDSU experience.  Research during the past 40 years demonstrates a more productive and more satisfying experience for students who reside in residence halls than those who live off-campus.

The South Dakota Board of Regents policy requires that during the first two years from the time they were or would have graduated from high school, all unmarried students who enroll in courses delivered on a main campus for six credit hours or more are required to enter into a housing agreement with the institution unless special permission to room elsewhere is received from the institution. (See BOR policy here). 

*Please note that this policy is based upon high school graduation year, not academic standing based on credits. 

What do I need to know about applying for a release?

Before you begin looking at the requirements for each release, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Meeting the criteria for eligibility for a residency waiver, does not mean a student will automatically be granted an approved waiver, it means that their request will be advanced for final consideration.
  • A limited number of students will be granted an exemption.
  • Do not sign a lease in the community until you have received full approval for your exemption. Signing a lease will not be considered a valid request for an exemption. 
  • To apply for a release, you must fill out steps 1-3 in your housing application found on MyState. You do not need to complete the entire application UNLESS your request is denied. 

What if I have academic reasons to be released from this requirement?

Below are the academic release categories and the minimum requirements for each.

Below Six Credits Exemption:

  • Applicants requesting this exemption must already be registered for five or less credit hours in order to request.
  • By requesting this exemption, the student agrees to stay below six credits for the duration of the exemption period.
  • Housing & Residential Life personnel will periodically verify the credit level of students approved for this reason.
  • Students registered for internet courses only or a combination of internet and less than six credits on campus may be released from the residency requirement.

Study Abroad:

  • Students studying abroad may apply for an exemption and Housing & Residential Life will confirm the student's enrollment in the Study Abroad Program. 

Nursing Program (Rapid City or Sioux Falls)

  • Students who have been accepted into the nursing program in Rapid City or Sioux Falls will be required to submit documentation showing their acceptance.


What if I want to be released to live at home or because of financial reasons?

Below are the requirements for the commuter and financial releases.

Commuter Exemption:  

  • Students requesting this exemption must be living at the legal residence of a mother/father or legal guardian (who established guardianship prior to the student turning 18) AND
  • The residence must be located within 30 driving miles of campus.
  • The mother/father or legal guardian must live at this residence 5 out of the 7 days in a week.
  • The student may NOT live with another current SDSU student, unless the current student is a sibling, and both are living at the legal residence of mother/father or guardian.
  • Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25 to be eligible for this exemption.
  • Students whose GPA falls below a GPA of 2.25 will be ineligible for an exemption or contract release barring special circumstances (e.g., needs specific medical treatment near their home).
  • Students will be required to maintain the minimum GPA in order to remain eligible for this exemption.
  • Final approval is granted after the Housing & Residential Life office has received the signed verification letter.


Financial Hardship Exemption: 

  • Students requesting this exemption must obtain a Supplemental Financial Need Verification Form. This form can be found on step 4 of the housing application or is e-mailed to the student after requesting the exemption.
  • Students must have completed a FAFSA.
  • Financial Exemptions are not based upon the assertion that living off campus may be less expensive.
  • A release will be considered only:
    • When the student has a significant verified need for financial assistance as indicated by the SDSU Financial Aid Office that is not fully funded by grants, scholarships, loans or other available funding identifiable by the University.
    • After a residence hall contract is signed, “extenuating financial circumstances” are defined as situations over which the student has had no control (such as loss of parental support due to death, divorce, loss of employment, catastrophic health issues, bankruptcy) which create a financial hardship and which have occurred after the contract was signed.

What if I am part of a Greek organization?

Below are the requirements for a Greek release.

Greek Organization Member Exemption:

Housing and Residential Life may grant up to 50 releases each academic year for active/initiated members of Greek chapters to live in approved chapter housing.

To request a Greek Exemption: students must be in or entering into their second year of academic study following high school graduation and complete a “Greek Living Unit Housing Release Request” form found on the CPH or IFC portals on Jacks Club Hub.  The Program Advisor for Greek Life will review and make decisions about each request based on the complete release policy.  The deadline for applications is December 15.  Applications received after December 15 may be reviewed on a space-available basis following the resolution of all appeals. 

Students can view the full release policy on the CPH or IFC portals on Jacks Club Hub or request an electronic copy from the Program Advisor for Greek Life.

What if I am asking for a release based on health reasons?

The Housing & Residential Life Office works hand-in-hand with our Student Health Clinic to review documentation for this exemption category. As a public institution, access to education is a priority. We work to accommodate all students. A student may be released, only if their health concerns are not able to be accommodated.

Health Exemption:  

  • Students requesting this release must obtain a Supplemental Medical Need Verification Form from Residential Life personnel. This form can be found in the housing application on step 4 or by contacting Residential Life via e-mail at
    •   The form must be completed in detail and signed by the attending physician or mental health care provider that is not a family member and sent to the Housing and Residential Life Office. This must include information stating that the specific verifiable condition for which it is medically necessary for the student to be released and why specifically, off-campus housing would provide better living conditions regarding this medical condition.
    •  Applicants may be required to provide a second opinion from the SDSU Student Health and Counseling Services or other referral physicians before a final decision is made.
  • ADHD/ADD: Students must provide documentation of a disability from a qualified medical or mental health provider to the coordinator of Disability Services who will evaluate the circumstances to determine what accommodations are necessary. If a determination is made that it is living on campus is not congruent with the student’s success, a petition for a release from housing may be submitted.

Charges/Cancellation Policy

  • Fall Semester
    • Students who are granted an exemption on or before May 31st are granted a refund of the entire $75 confirmation fee.
    • Students who are granted an exemption June 1st through July 31stwill forfeit the $75 confirmation fee.
    • Students who are granted an exemption August 1st through opening will forfeit the $75 confirmation fee and be charged a $200 late cancellation charge.
    • Students who are granted an exemption after opening through 60% of the semester will forfeit the $75 confirmation fee, be charged the $200 late cancellation fee and will be refunded the proration of unused charges.
  • Spring Semester
    • Students who are granted an exemption on or before November 30thare granted a refund of the entire $75 confirmation fee.
    • Students who are granted an exemption December 1st through December 31stwill forfeit the $75 confirmation fee.
    • Students who are granted an exemption January 1st through opening will forfeit the $75 confirmation fee and be charged a $200 late cancellation charge.
    • Students who are granted an exemption after opening through 60% of the semester  will forfeit the $75 confirmation fee, be charged the $200 late cancellation fee will be refunded the proration of unused charges.

Additional Information

  • Failure to obtain an approved exemption from Residence Life will result in the posting of the semester housing charges to the student’s SDSU account. Any first or second-year student registered for the fall semester who fails to sign up for housing and has not been approved for an exemption will automatically be assigned a room and meal plan and will be responsible for those charges unless a Request for Residency Exemption from the housing contract is completed and approved.
    • Nonpayment of this charge may result in the cancellation of classes and/or restriction from registering for any additional classes.
  • Any student found to have provided false information on the Request for Residency Exemption form or during this process may be subject to university disciplinary action.
  • Exemption requests will not be reviewed after the first Friday of classes, both fall and spring semesters.
  • Unless a written notice of approval and/or contract release is issued from Housing and Residential Life Residence Hall and Food Service Contract, a student is expected to occupy the assigned room.  A student is not considered exempt from the residency requirement or released from his/her housing contract until Housing and Residential Life approves a request in writing. Failure to take possession of the assigned space is not grounds for an exemption to the residency requirement and/or to have associated charges reversed.
  • Helpful links: