Open Housing Option

Open Housing is an arrangement whereby two students, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression, are permitted to share a room in Columbia’s residence halls. Columbia's Open Housing approach aims to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all students and to provide students, regardless of identity, more options for their living arrangements with their peers. Open Housing is not intended—and is highly discouraged—for romantic couples.

It is a student’s choice to tell their parents or guardian about the decision to live in an Open Housing arrangement. As with all housing decisions, Columbia Housing and the Office of Residential Life encourage students to talk with their parent(s) or guardian about their housing choices. Columbia Housing does not notify parents about the residential choices of students.

Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior at CC or SEAS who is at least 18 years of age and has guaranteed housing status may participate in Open Housing in any of the residence halls. The option is also available to Barnard students who are at least 18 years of age. Open Housing is not available to incoming students, including first-year, combined plan, and transfer students.

For Open Housing, any two eligible students may choose to be roommates regardless of sex, gender, or gender expression.

Residential Life and Housing discourage students who are in a romantic relationship from living together in a residence hall. However, we do not question any student's reasoning for wanting to live in Open Housing.

Students looking to live together as part of Open Housing must fill the room(s) and/or all beds in the room/suite to capacity—i.e. there must be an eligible student applying for every bed in the room(s) and/or suite. If a group that plans to participate in Open Housing cannot fully fill a suite and/or cannot select into a suite that fits the entire group, that group must select a configuration of rooms that fully accommodates every group member.

Open Housing follows the same policies and process as standard Room Selection.

Students forming groups for Open Housing should make sure they consider the bathroom style that will work for all group members. Many suite-style residence halls have shared private bathrooms, whereas corridor-style buildings often have male- and female-designated bathrooms in addition to one private single-use bathroom on each floor. Bathroom styles for each residence hall can be found under Explore Residences.

For a listing of gender-neutral restrooms on campus, please view this interactive map.

If a roommate/suitemate cancels their housing or moves out of the room for any reason, the remaining roommate(s) must identify a new roommate to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. If another roommate is not identified, Housing will assign a same-sex roommate.

If you have questions, please reach out to the Housing team at [email protected] or (212) 854-2946. Students can also contact Residential Life with questions or concerns regarding Open Housing at [email protected].

Needs Related to Gender Expression & Identity

Students who express a need for housing accommodations due to gender expression or identity should review our guidelines for Open Housing above.. 

Students with questions about housing accommodations related to gender expression or identity should contact Residential Life.

All housing accommodations will be reviewed by Housing in partnership with Residential Life and campus partners on a case-by-case basis.


Students seeking additional accommodations or support may contact the following campus partners and resources: