Residence Life at Reed

Division of Student Life

Exemptions & Petitions

Reed Residency Guarantee & Requirement

It is important to understand and remember that room and board contracts at Reed are legally binding, just like off-campus leases. Once a student signs a contract with Reed they are bound by its terms unless an exemption is approved. Please note that the effective dates are listed on the contract and should be reviewed and understood before the contract is signed. Termination information is provided in the housing contract.

As stated in the contract: “A exemption for housing contract termination is considered when conditions exist that originated after the contract was signed, and over which the student has little or no control. A decision to cancel the contract is only made in an exceptional circumstance. The student must document the exceptional circumstance in an exemption that must be submitted to the Residence Life office. Generally, a student is not released from a contract until the date upon which an exemption is favorably decided. Due to the college’s policy of generally meeting full financial need, financial hardship is not normally considered to be an exceptional circumstance.”

If you want to receive an exemption from your room contract: 

You can request an exemption within the housing portal when applying for on campus housing, if the portal is not currently open, please follow the steps below: 
  1. Confirm your circumstances have changed enough to fit within the parameters of a Reed Residence exemption. 
  2. If you are on financial aid, consult with the financial aid office (email: or phone: 503-777-7223) to determine how living off campus will affect your financial aid package.
  3. Prepare an exemption using this form and submit to Residence Life
    1. Explain in detail how your circumstances have changed since you signed your room and board contract, and the reason why living on campus is no longer a viable option for you.
    2. If your reason for requesting an exemption is medical you must contact Disability and Accessibility Resources to provide them with documentation and discuss why you must not live on campus and how living off-campus will fulfill your needs. A clear explanation of this reason must also be included in your petition.
  4. Submit the Residency Exemption form digitally to Residence LIfe (
  5. Do not sign an off-campus lease or make other contract obligations until you hear back from Residence Life. It may take up to two weeks to make a decision depending on the time of year and number of other offices Residence Life must consult with.

If you want to petition only the board (meal plan) portion of your contract:

In general, students who live in Reed’s residential facilities, with the exception of the co-ops and apartments are required to be on a meal plan. Students wishing to petition to discontinue the board plan should understand that exceptions are rare, and are granted only in exceptional circumstances. Such exceptions are generally related to demonstrated medical or religious needs that Bon Appetit is unable to meet.

If specific food allergies or preferences are cited in the petition, students are asked to meet with Bon Appetit’s General Manager to discuss whether or not Bon Appetit can accommodate the student’s food needs. Bon Appetit does an excellent job of addressing individual student concerns and assisting in navigating the food options. The General Manager will then communicate with Residence Life regarding Bon Appetit's ability to address your food needs and that will be factored into the petition decision.

In addition to meeting with Bon Appetit's General Manager, students are also asked to meet with the Director of Disability and Accessibility Resources if severe food allergies or medical issues are contributing factors to their petition. Students must register with the office of Disability and Accessibility Resources and the verification forms for their office must be completed in their entirety before a petition will be given consideration.

In some cases (and when there is a space available), Residence Life may offer the student an alterative location to live on campus (such as the apartments or the co-ops) where students are permitted to be off the board plan. If the student does not accept this option, they remain on the meal plan and stay in their current location.

If a student successfully petitions off the board plan and has remaining meal plan dollars the business office will issue a refund and any remaining meal plan dollars will be deleted.

  1. Prepare a petition using the tips below:
    1. Explain in detail how your circumstances have changed since you signed your contract, and the reason why being on a board plan is no longer a viable option for you.
    2. Explain in detail what solutions you have tried to make the board plan work for you.
    3. If your reason for petitioning is medical you must contact Disability and Accessibility Resources to provide them with documentation that explains exactly why you must not be on a board plan and how not being on it will fulfill your needs. A clear explanation of this reason must also be included in your petition.
  2. Submit the petition electronically by emailing it to Residence Life (

When you can petition:

  • For release from the contract beginning fall semester: 3 weeks before the first day of classes.
  • For release from the contract beginning spring semester: 3 weeks before the first day of classes.
  • If a student experiences an extreme and/or sudden circumstance they may submit a petition for consideration during the semester.

Things to know about the petition review:

  • The Director of Housing does not typically interview or meet with students regarding the petition process and therefore write a well thought out letter that explains the reasoning an/or need to break the housing or board contract. If Residence Life has questions about the petition or needs additional information, they will let the student know.
  • If the petition cites financial reasons, Residence Life will consult with Financial Aid to inquire if there are unusual/exceptional financial circumstances and if Financial Aid is meeting the student’s need. Residence Life does not inquire about or receive specific or personal financial information from the Financial Aid office.
  • If the petition cites medical reasons, Residence Life will consult with Disability and Accessibility Resources in order to reach a decision.

If your petition is approved:

The contract with Reed will be terminated. Once the petition has been approved and you have moved out of the residence hall, the student will be reimbursed on a prorated basis for room and board costs. If a meal plan petition is approved, the student will be reimbursed on a prorated basis starting on the day of approval. The Business Office handles the reimbursement of money and will communicate with the Financial Aid office as needed.

If your petition is denied:

The student is still legally bound and financially obligated to Reed for the contracted cost of room and board. This means that even if the student signs a lease off campus and moves out of their room on campus or no longer purchases food from Bon Appetit, they will still be held responsible for paying the contracted amount. You may also consider submitting an appeal