A signed Housing Contract is legally binding for the full academic year for which it is signed. Students are financially responsible for paying room and board after signing the Housing Contract and the contract provides limited options for cancellation which are detailed in the terms and conditions. 

If you are taking a leave of absence, transferring, or withdrawing from JMU for the spring semester, you do not need to submit a release request form.  Instead, you must submit your official withdrawal paperwork to the Registrar's Office no later than Monday, December 4, 2023, in order to be released from your housing contract without any housing charges for spring.  The Non-Return/Leave of Absence Notice can be found at the Registrar’s website. Once your withdrawal has been confirmed by the Registrar, any current or future Housing Contracts you hold as well as your spring room assignment will be canceled.  Students who are not returning to housing for Spring 2024 due to December graduation or study abroad also do not need to complete the release request form.  The Housing Office will get a list of these students from the appropriate office and cancel the 2023-2024 Housing Contract and room assignment for the spring semester.

Release from the Housing Contract outside of the circumstances detailed in the contract is rare and must meet the condition of being both exceptional and unforeseen in the judgment of the Director of Residence Life or his/her designee(s), per the terms and conditions of the contract. Release from the Housing Contract is not guaranteed under any circumstance.  Currently, a committee of residence life professionals evaluates each contract release request.

The Release Request Process:

Students may request a release by completing the Contract Release Request form.  The student will provide a justification statement about why they feel they should be released. Students are encouraged to be clear and concise with their statements, but provide all information they feel may be needed for a committee to fully evaluate their reasoning. All requests must be submitted by the student via the Online Housing System. 

Common justifications that do not meet the criteria of “exceptional and unforeseen”: 

  • Changing your mind about living on campus 
  • Wanting to commute from home after signing a Housing Contract 
  • Finding a less expensive housing option off campus 
  • Signing a lease at an off-campus property   

Possible Outcomes:

Possible outcomes after submitting the Contract Release Request form: 

  • Denial – The Contract Release Request is denied and the student remains financially responsible for the terms of the Housing Contract. 
  • Approved – The student is released from the Housing Contract and the contract will be canceled following all terms and conditions found in the Housing Contract. 
  • Request for additional information to be submitted:
    • Mental health condition – A form, titled “Release from On-Campus Housing Request Due to Mental Health Diagnosis,” will be sent to the student. The student’s mental health provider will complete the form and send it to the JMU Counseling Center for review. The form is not reviewed by the release request committee. After the form is reviewed by a qualified mental health professional at JMU, an official recommendation can be made to the release request committee for denial or approval of the release. 
    • Physical health condition or disability that cannot be accommodated on campus – A form, titled “Housing Accommodation Form,” will need to be filled out by the student and a medical doctor. After completion and submission of the form, it will be reviewed by the Housing Accommodations Request Committee (HARC). The form is not reviewed by the release review committee. After reviewing any submitted documentation, HARC will send an official recommendation to the release request committee for denial or approval of the release. Please note, the primary purpose of the HARC is to determine if the student’s needs can be met on campus. If it is determined that the needs can be met on campus, HARC will make that recommendation and the student will be denied. However, if it is determined that the housing needs cannot be met on campus, HARC can recommend that the student be released. 
    • A significant change in financial situation – Additional documentation may be requested to support requests for release based on significant and specific changes in personal/family financial situation. The type of support document or documents needed may vary based on the nature of the student’s submitted justification. The committee may then consult with necessary parties to make or get a recommendation to deny or approve the release request. 
    • Other – The committee may request other information if needed. 


The release request committee typically meets twice a month during the year. Responses to a release request will be sent via email to the student’s @Dukes emails after the next meeting of the committee (times may vary based on when the release request is submitted and when the committee meets). The decision from the release request committee is final. 

Students may contact the Office of Residence Life to determine when next the committee will meet. 

Greek Housing:

Students who live in Greek Housing may also submit a Contract Release Request form. The Office of Residence Life will consider all such requests under the same criteria as listed above and in the contract terms and conditions.  However, the decision of the committee only applies to release from the JMU On-Campus Housing Contract. Any secondary contracts between the student and the Greek organization to which JMU is not a party, are not impacted by the decision of the release request committee.   

The Contract Release Request Form:

To submit a Contract Release Request form, please go to the Online Housing System, click on Forms, and select Contract Release Request. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Residence Life at 540-568-4663 or res-life@jmu.edu. 

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