Institutional and national research suggests that students who live on campus are significantly more inclined to remain in college, graduate in 4 years and achieve higher GPAs in comparison to students living off campus. In support of the mission of Montana State University, any new MSU student with less than 30 credit hours from another college or university or 2 semesters accomplished in a residence hall setting, are required to live in university owned residence halls. A limited number of exemptions to this policy may be granted by the University Student Housing Office.

Please note that AP or dual enrollment credits earned during High School do not count towards the 30 credit hour exemption. All college credits must be earned post high school graduation to be counted towards a housing exemption.

If you think you qualify for an exemption based on the criteria below, please submit this request online by clicking on the button below and uploading your supporting documentation. Requests will not be reviewed until online request is received with all supporting documentation. Please note: The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity." If your request is in reference to any medical disability, please be advised you will be required to work directly with the Office of Disability Services for consideration. 

Request for Exemption

Request for Exemption Criteria:

  • Marriage:
    • Must provide a marriage certificate.
  • Physical custody of a dependent child:
    • Must provide copy of child’s birth certificate.
  • Completed one full academic year at a college or university while living in a residence hall: An academic year is calculated as 2 semesters or 3 quarters.
    • Must provide documentation of residence hall living (letter from campus housing office verifying 2 semesters or 3 quarters of on-campus housing).
  • 6 or fewer credits: Will be taking six or fewer credit hours.
    • Subject to verification.
  • Financial hardship: Such as death, accident or severe illness of primary family wage earner, recent substantial change in the family or student financial status beyond the control of the student, or unusual circumstances well supported by documentation.
    • Must provide a letter from student.
    • Must provide a Housing Financial Hardship Worksheet and documentation of recent financial change.
    • If traditional freshman, must also provide a notarized letter of support from parent/legal guardian.
  • Medical/disability related condition: A medical or disability condition that precludes you from living in the residence halls. Will require evaluation by the Office of Disability Services. You may be required to provide medical documentation that supports your request to the Office of Disability Services. 
    • The student must contact the Office of Disability Services. The Office of Disability Services can be contacted at 406-994-2824 or [email protected].
    • Must provide a letter that explains briefly the basis of the request to the University Student Housing Office.
  • Living with family member: Living with an immediate family member (parent, grandparent, sibling, or legal guardian) at their principal, established local residence within a commutable radius.
    • Must provide a copy of a power/heating bill or lease for proof of physical/service address.
    • Must provide a notarized letter from parent/legal guardian. Letter should contain the name, relationship to the student and address of the immediate family member with whom the student will be living.
  • Current active military or veteran's status: 
    • Must provide a copy of the DD Form 214.
    • If DD Form 214 is unavailable, must provide a copy of the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) and/or other documentation that shows active military status.
  • Unusual circumstances: Circumstances have arisen that are not within the scope of the above listed criteria that make living in the halls a hardship. 
    • Must provide a letter from the student including all pertinent information and documentation to the unusual circumstance.
    • If traditional freshman, must also include a notarized letter of support from parent/legal guardian.
    • Refer to medical/disability related condition criteria if your request is based on a physical or mental ipairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. 


Request for Exemption

Request for Exemption Information

  • Request for Exemptions are reviewed on a regular basis, by the Director of Housing or their designee, and can take up to two weeks to receive a response by email.
    • If the students request is missing any documentation, the student will have up to 2 weeks to complete the necessary steps to fulfill the requested documentation, otherwise the original exemption request will be denied.
  • Submitting a Request for Exemption from the First Year Live-In Requirement is not a guaranteed approval to be exempt from this university requirement.
  • If the Request for Exemption is denied, the student will be required to move into the residence halls and will be billed the full amount of room and board charges under the terms set forth in the Residence Hall Contract.
    • If a Request for Housing Exemption is denied, students will have the opportunity to appeal to a Housing Contract Review Committee and can take up to two weeks to receive a response by email.
  • If the Request for Exemption is approved, the student is not required to live in the residence halls, billed, or obligated to pay room and board charges.
  • If the Request for Exemption is approved after a student has completed a residence hall application and paid the housing application prepayment the application will be cancelled however, the $300 nonrefundable prepayment will not be refunded.
  • Being able to live less expensively off campus does not necessarily qualify a student for an exemption.
  • Students who furnish false information regarding their housing status will be referred to the Dean of Students Office for a Student Conduct Board hearing under section 632.00, part B “Acts of Dishonesty”, of the Student Conduct Code.
  • A notarized document is a document that has been certified by a notary public. The notary public is an official who verifies the identities of everybody signing the document, witnesses the signatures, and marks the document with a stamp or “seal”. Most banks provide this service for free.