Residency Requirement

student in Knoll Residential Center

What's the requirement?

All incoming, first-year and/or unmarried students enrolled for six or more credit hours, and are under the age of 19 prior to the first day of the fall semester of the current academic year*, are required to reside in on-campus housing. This policy is in effect for the entire academic year.

Every new student must complete either:

  • A housing contract to live on campus, OR
  • An application for exemption to the live-on requirement.
  • *2023-24: Classes begin Monday, August 21, 2023.

On-Campus Requirement Exemptions
What are the exemptions?
  • Turn 19 PRIOR to the first day of Fall classes (August 21, 2023).
  • Transferred 27 or more accepted credit hours after high school graduation. Note: Credit hours earned while attending high school are not included.
  • Married or Civil Union. Marriage license or documentation of Civil Union required.
  • A student with children. Childbirth certificate required.
  • Lived in University-approved housing for two or more semesters (excluding summer) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln or another institution. Documentation of living at another institution required.
  • Lived in University-approved housing for the entire spring semester at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
How do I apply for an exemption or one of the other options?

Complete the online Residency Exemption Form* through the housing portal.

  1. Access the housing portal here or copy and paste: into your web browser.
  2. Click “Residency Exemption” in the red bar across the top of the page.
  3. Click “Apply” next to the academic year you’re applying for an exemption.
  4. Complete all necessary pages and submit the required documentation. Requests will not be reviewed if proper documentation is not submitted.

If you’re only interested in attending the university if you qualify for an exemption from the on-campus residency requirement and you’re not a fully admitted student, email to request a paper Residency Exemption form.

*Allow four to six weeks for a final response/decision. If you’re not approved, you must complete a University Housing contract through the housing portal.

What fees are associated with exemptions?

If you have a University Housing contract and are then approved for an exemption or other compliance option, there will be cancellation fees associated with the cancellation of the contract.

Financial Aid award budgets will be adjusted to reflect that the student will be commuting if approved through the exemption process.

Approved options
What are university-approved options?
  1. Reside in a University Housing residence hall.
  2. Reside in University-approved Greek housing. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life approves houses.
    • Incoming students who plan to reside in a university-approved fraternity or sorority need to complete the online Residency Exemption Form through the housing portal via MyRed.
    • Fraternity and Sorority houses are not part of University Housing. If you cancel your University Housing contract to reside in a fraternity/sorority house, you’ll be held to the 30-day cancellation notice policy.
    • To obtain information about fraternity or sorority living units contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
  3. Commute from the home of my parent/guardian or close relative. Close relatives only include a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling. The residence should be within a 30-mile radius of the UNL campus. The parent/guardian or close relative must be an adult, 19 years of age or older, and residing in the residence full-time with the student. A photo of the parent/guardian/close relative’s valid driver’s license or state ID (the address must match where they will reside) is required as proof.
  4. Commute from home as an emancipated minor. Documentation to verify legal emancipated status required.
How do I know if I am within the 30-mile radius?
We use to determine a 30-mile radius from our campus zip code, 68588.
How do I comply with the requirement?

Complete a University Housing contract through the housing portal to reside in University Housing.


Complete the Residency Exemption Form through the housing portal on MyRed. If you’re not approved, you must complete a University Housing contract through the housing portal. Please allow four to six weeks for a final response.

What if I don’t comply with the residency requirement?

Students who don’t comply may be referred to the conduct office and assessed up to $100 in administrative fees.

  • Allow four to six weeks for a final response/decision.
Deadline to comply with the residency requirement
Academic Year (Fall) Admits August 1
Spring Only Admits December 1

If you have questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 472-3561 or email us at

Why have a requirement?

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln believes students who stay in University Housing will benefit from the residential living experience as an integral part of student engagement and educational success. Studies have shown on-campus residents are more likely to succeed in academics and benefit from the social opportunities being offered.

Living on-campus is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in and be a part of a community of peers. A student who lives in a University Housing residence hall is more likely to

  • Take full advantage of campus resources
  • Be more involved in campus activities and educational programs
  • Complete more credit hours per semester
  • Achieve greater academic success
  • Complete their studies and attain their degree(s)
  • Be more satisfied with their overall university experience

Research at colleges and universities across the country indicates students who live in on-campus housing are significantly more likely to succeed academically, be involved in activities on campus, to graduate, and to feel positive about their college experience when compared to their off-campus peers. By living in university residence halls, students will reside in a safe and secure environment while being able to more conveniently access university resources such as the library or technology laboratories.

For these reasons, like many public and private colleges and universities, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has implemented an on-campus residency requirement for first-year undergraduate students to live in university residence halls unless an exemption is granted.

Contract Policies

To view our contract policies, view them online or download the Contract Policies Booklet at the link below.

2023-24 contract policies 2023 summer contract policies
Community Living Guide
Community Living Guide booklet cover image

Welcome to University Housing. We’re so happy to be your home-away-from-home for the upcoming academic year.

The Community Living Guide contains information you will need to make your time with us as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. View the guide online or download it at the link below.

Download the community living guide