Off-Campus Housing Policy

An inclusive and dynamic residential community is a central element of the Bowdoin experience. All first-year and sophomore students are required to live on campus.

However, due to fluctuations in enrollment numbers and changing on-campus capacity, the College permits a limited number of juniors and seniors to live off-campus. These students typically live in houses or apartments in close proximity to campus that are neither owned nor managed by Bowdoin.

Students who wish to live off-campus must meet all of the qualifying criteria and adhere to the instructions that follow in order to be eligible to participate in the off-campus housing lottery.

Important note: Students should not sign an off-campus lease until they have received final approval from the Office of Residential Life; it is a violation of College policy to live off-campus without prior approval. Simply signing a rental agreement with a landlord does not guarantee that a student will be released from College housing. Signing a rental agreement in advance of being released is also a significant financial and legal risk, which is borne solely by the student and/or parents/guardians.

The ability to live off-campus is a privilege. The Office of Residential Life, in conjunction with the Office of the Dean of Students, reserves the right to deny any student permission to live off-campus  where appropriate.

Off-Campus Housing Agreement and Commitments

If a student receives permission to live off-campus, the student will be required to submit to the Office of Residential Life a signed and completed Off-Campus Housing Contract. 

The contract  includes the following acknowledgements:

  • Living off-campus is a privilege and not a right.
  • Permission to live off-campus can be revoked by the Office of Residential Life or the Office of the Dean of Students at any time.
  • Permission to live off-campus will be revoked by the Office of Residential Life should the student fail to complete all of the prerequisites listed below. If permission is revoked for failure to comply, students will be assigned on-campus housing over the summer.
  • The College will not be held responsible for any financial commitments or losses related to a student’s off-campus rental.
  • The student will abide by all applicable laws (local, state, and federal), especially those regarding noise and alcohol, and by College policy, including the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code, which holds students accountable for their behavior on and off College premises.
  • The student will attend all mandatory meetings sponsored by the College and/or law enforcement agencies regarding living off-campus.
  • If the student’s off-campus location changes, the student must, in a timely manner, notify the director of housing operations in the Office of Residential Life.
  • By choosing to live off-campus, it is understood that Bowdoin Safety and Security, or other campus officials, will not respond to off-campus residences unless requested to do so by the Brunswick Police Department. In the case of an emergency, students must call 911.
  • In choosing to live off-campus, the student acknowledges that the College has no responsibility for the condition or safety of their off-campus dwelling or for any other conditions or events occurring at their off-campus dwelling. The student explicitly assumes any and all risks  associated with living off-campus.

 As a prerequisite to living off-campus, a student must do the following:

  • Attend the Off-Campus Living Presentation.
  • Sign the Off-Campus Housing Contract. 
  • Provide the Office of Residential Life with their complete mailing address of their off-campus residence and cell phone number.

Off-Campus Accountability

Pursuant to the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code, students are responsible for their behavior on and off-campus. The College’s strong relationship with the town and its neighbors is vitally important. When off-campus activities cause a disruption to neighbors and this is brought to the attention of the Office of the Dean of Students, the College will hold students accountable. In some situations, it is possible that students would have to answer to violations of Brunswick town ordinances, Maine state law, and Bowdoin policy.

Safety and Security

A student who chooses to live off-campus gives up the benefit of having Bowdoin Safety and Security, or other campus officials, respond to their residence. This applies in both emergency and non-emergency situations.

In the case of a fire, medical, or other emergency, students living off-campus should call 911. This applies to off-campus students that require a wellness check for an alcohol or drug-related situation. Bowdoin Safety and Security is not authorized to respond to off-campus locations unless requested to do so by the Brunswick Police Department and, in such situations, responds only for informational purposes.

In non-emergency situations, including for non-emergency illness or injury, students living off-campus are responsible for their own transportation to available medical care. During the hours of 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., students living off-campus who need transportation for such situations may use Brunswick Taxi or other taxi services.