Wake Forest has a six-semester (typically three-year) residency requirement and is one of the few universities in the country that guarantees housing to students in good standing for eight semesters.

Students are required to live in campus housing their first three years unless they live with a parent or guardian in the Winston-Salem area. Students who study abroad during the fall or spring semesters are given credit for that time toward their residency requirement; summer sessions do NOT count toward residency requirements.

Transfer students are expected to fulfill the six-semester residency requirement. However, transfer students who have lived on campus at another institution are given credit for that time toward their residency requirement.

Eight semesters of on-campus housing are guaranteed for residential students who pay their tuition deposit by the published deadline each semester. Students who lose housing eligibility due to disciplinary or academic deficiency are no longer eligible for the housing guarantee. Additionally, students who successfully petition to live off campus or have fulfilled their residency requirement and do not select housing during the room selection process are also no longer guaranteed housing on campus.

For more information about the Office of Residence Life and Housing or their processes and policies, please visit their website at rlh.wfu.edu.

Off-Campus Housing

Petition to be Released. Students requesting to be released from the University’s residency requirement must petition for approval to reside off-campus. Additionally, students who wish to change their residency status (on-campus to off-campus day) to live with parents at their permanent home in the Winston-Salem area may petition to be released.

Exceptions to the residency requirement for reasons other than living at home in the Winston-Salem area are typically very rare and only granted for individually compelling circumstances. If your petition to move off-campus is granted, you are reclassified as a non-resident student and will no longer be eligible for any part of guaranteed campus housing (including Greek Block housing). All students who are released and remain enrolled as full-time students must register their off-campus address with the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

Students on named scholarships are reminded the must maintain four years of campus residency. Exceptions are rare and may be granted at the discretion of the Scholarship Committee.

Students who are discovered to have moved off-campus without receiving prior permission will, minimally, have their class registration held (or possibly canceled), risk financial penalties, and be required to submit an application for review. If the application is approved, the student will receive a warning similar to those students who have had a law enforcement officer visit their residence (see Off-Campus Conduct).  If the application is denied, the student will need to apply to return to campus housing (based on space availability).

For more information on the petition process and other policies related to living off-campus, please visit the Office of Residence Life and Housing's Off-Campus Housing page.

Off-Campus Address Registration. Eligible students choosing to live off-campus must register their residential address, thereby declaring their compliance with the University’s off-campus housing policy. Enrollment and registration for classes each semester are conditioned upon verification of compliance by the Office Residence Life and Housing. All students living off-campus, including those living in apartment complexes, will be required to provide addresses.

City of Winston-Salem ordinances state that there shall be no more than four (4) individuals that are not related by blood, adoption, or marriage living together in a single-family dwelling unit. The Office of Residence Life and Housing will monitor the number of students that are granted permission to reside in residential areas zoned for these units.  The office will, at no time, grant permission to any individual(s) to exceed the number, nor is there an appeal process to do so.

Students currently residing, or desiring to move, off-campus must register their address each year to comply with the policy and to ensure individual records are updated. Though a student has registered to reside off-campus, the application submitted is purely a request, and it should not be inferred that approval has been received. Students whose applications are approved will receive written notification. Once a student has been approved to reside off-campus, the local address provided is valid for one academic year only. Additionally, if a student changes location of residency, they must re-register their address and check to make sure that the location of residency is approved.

Continuing enrolled students who do not re-register to reside off-campus (prior to the expiration of the original approved local address) will have a hold placed on future class registration processes (or may risk having their registration canceled) until approval is received.

Students who previously lost, or lose during the current academic term, campus housing due to judicial sanctions also need to register to reside off-campus. Other populations of students who need to register upon acceptance to the University include transfer or any student classified with non-resident student status.