Returning Undergraduate Students
The HAP (Housing Application Process)
Unlike incoming freshmen, on-campus housing is not guaranteed to returning or transfer students. Returning undergraduate students must request housing for the next academic year using the housing application process (HAP) or more commonly known as the "housing lottery." Members of the corps of cadets and the on-campus fraternity and sorority houses in Oak Lane are not part of this process.
Entering the lottery does not obligate a student to an on-campus contract; a student is not obligated until they complete their Housing/Dining Contract. If a student does not participate in HAP, it is unlikely that they would receive a contract offer later outside of the process.
Students are strongly encouraged to read the myths listed below as well as the complete 2021-2022 HAP Student Guide before entering the process. The Housing Application Process is for the regular academic year only.
The housing lottery will occur during the first week of classes in January and the results will be announced during around February 1st. Students will be notified about whether or not they will be receiving an offer for on-campus housing. In the past several years, 30-75% percent of returning students who participated in the returning housing processes received a contract offer. The actual offer rate will be dependent on the number of students who apply for housing in the upcoming housing lottery.
Later in February, if space permits, we may make a second round of contract offers using the HAP applicant pool. If students do not receive a contract offer by the end of February, we encourage them to seek off-campus accommodations. Students who did not enter the application process may place their names on a waiting list. We seldom make offers to students on this list, and only after we have exhausted offers to HAP participants.
The housing market in Blacksburg follows the "college town" academic year cycle. Many off campus leases run from August to August to maximize occupancy in the off-campus market. Unlike the on-campus academic year only leases, most off-campus facilities require a 12-month lease. Some off campus students will decide to stay in Blacksburg over the summer while others will attempt to find a sublease, if allowed, for their apartment. Co-op and study abroad students especially like on-campus leases because the lease is suspended during their absence, while off-campus subleasing is not necessarily.
For example, several apartment complexes have opened with vacancies for the current academic year, and leasing agents are scrambling both for early lease renewals and new commitments. While premium locations, based on amenities or proximity to campus, do fill earlier than others, off-campus student housing has traditionally continued to be available in Blacksburg into the spring and summer months.
It is true that some students choose to live off-campus after their freshman year. For many students, this is an expected and healthy transition. For others, the convenience on-campus housing provides with location, utilities, simplified billing, resident advisor support, and other on-campus amenities have them choosing to live on-campus past their freshmen year. In addition, many students enjoy the ease of an academic year lease versus an August to August lease.
Students who decide to move off-campus are still eligible to purchase a dining plan. More than 9,500 off-campus students choose to purchase a dining plan for their meals each semester. (Please note: the ability for Dining Services to offer off-campus meal plans has been affected by COVID-19. See Dining Services for the most updated information.)
Although special offers can seem more attractive, we encourage parents and students to compare costs from several local apartment communities with our on-campus housing costs and compare not only the rent, but utilities and the convenience of on-campus housing and dining options. We think on-campus housing proves to be an economical choice.
Sign-up Begins: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 8:00 a.m.
Students should log into the StarRez housing portal at vt.starrezhousing.com/StarRezPortalx with their PID/password and 2-factor authentication. Select "Housing and Dining Contracts" and then "Housing Application Process" on the resulting page.
Sign-up Ends: Friday, January 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
The returning student wait list for fall housing will begin at 5:01 p.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021, for those that miss the regular sign up and for those that are not eligible to enter the housing lottery due to non-enrollment.