Frequently Asked Questions
Many of these answers were modified for Spring 2021. Updates for Fall 2021/Spring 2022 will be posted as they are available.
Housing Contract, Assignments & Move-In
* How can I request more information and a housing contract?
* Can I cancel my housing contract and receive a refund of the $75.00 deposit?
* Can I cancel my housing contract after I move in?
* How are meal plans refunded?
* What if I want to move out after the fall semester?
* Will I be guaranteed housing while I'm a student at USM?
* When will I find out about my room assignment?
* How much will it cost to live on campus?
* Do I have to be a full-time student to live on campus?
* Do I have to be matriculated to live on campus?
* Do you have graduate student housing?
* When do I move in?
* What is Gender Inclusive Housing?
Facilities and Amenities
* What size are the residence hall rooms?
* How many people share a bathroom?
* Are there facilities for washing and drying clothes?
* Are there lounges available for me to study in?
* Is cable t.v. available in the residence halls?
* What kinds of housekeeping services are provided?
* Is telephone service provided by the University?
* Is internet service provided by the University?
* How will I receive US mail while I am living on campus?
* Do the residence halls stay open during official USM breaks?
What to bring, what to leave at home
* What can I bring with me?
* May I bring a computer?
* What are MicroFridges, and what is your policy regarding other units?
* May I bring my own furniture with me?
* May I bring or build a loft in my residence hall room?
* Are pets allowed in the residence halls?
Parking and Transportation
Housing Contract, Assignments & Move-In
How do I apply for housing?
Complete the housing application in your Mercury housing portal. Go to your MyUSM campus portal (https://my.usm.maine.edu) and choose USM Quick Links on the left under the Launch Pad. Click on "Residential Life and Housing Portal" and then select the " 2021-2022 Housing Portal" button.
If you are a new incoming student, will not see the USM Quick Links until you have paid your admission fee to matriculate at USM. It takes 48 hours or more after payment for the USM Quick Links to appear in your portal.
Housing recruitment letters and brochures are mailed in weekly batches to newly accepted students who indicated "Resident" on their USM application. Your letter will include instructions for applying for on-campus housing through the online application. If you have not received a housing recruitment letter within a few weeks of being accepted to USM, please notify our office. If you are a matriculated student at USM and currently commuting, you may apply for housing through the online housing application.
Questions? Call us at 207.780.5240, or e-mail email@example.com.
The answers are different, depending on the date you cancel, and if you are just leaving housing, or leaving USM classes, too.
If you request to withdraw from your room and meal plan but NOT classes:
- All cancellations of the application/contract or housing and meal plan assignments must be made in writing (email is considered written notification) to Residential Life. If the cancellation is after the date of move-in, the written cancellation process includes completing any applicable check-out forms and move-out.
- For incoming first year students: Withdrawing from the room and board contract before June 1st, 2021 will be at no cost. For students with a Spring 2022 only housing contract, withdrawing before January 1, 2022 will be at no cost. Withdrawing from the room and board plan after June 1, 2021 and prior to August 15, 2021 will result in a forfeit of $75.00 deposit paid. For students with a Spring only housing contract, cancellation after January 1, 2022 but prior to January 15, 2022 will result in forfeit of $75.00 deposit paid.
- For returning students who self-select a room, during the annual room selection, there is a $75 cancellation fee effective immediately if they'd like to cancel their room. If they are assigned a space manually by Residential Life, the student can cancel within 48 hours of the assignment email being sent at no penalty as long as they have not moved in or used their meal plan.
- For both new and returning students, withdrawing from housing on or after August 15th, 2021 will incur a charge of 10% of the remaining academic year housing charges as of the date the written cancellation is received and/or the check-out process is completed.
- From August 15th until the day before the first day of classes, the fee would be 10% of the full room charge.
- After the start of the semester, the fee will be a prorated charge for the time the room was occupied, plus 10% of the remaining academic year housing charges.
- Residents removed from University housing for disciplinary reasons are ineligible for room refunds.
- Board Cancellation: Meal plan refunds will be based on the week of last meal eaten, meal plan dollar amount remaining, and proper room check-out. Failure to check-out properly will incur additional meal plan charges dating from week of the last meal eaten to the date Residential Life is notified of the resident’s departure. The provisions above hold true unless the student is released from the contract in writing by the Office of Residential Life. Meal plans for students assigned to apartments must be cancelled before the first day meal plans begin to receive a full credit. If the meal plan is cancelled in the first two weeks of the Fall board period, they will receive a 90% refund, and after the second week meal plans cannot be cancelled. If a student moves into an apartment after the first week, they have a one week window to cancel their meal plan. If meal plans are cancelled between Fall and Spring semester, any remaining meal plan dollars received as part of the Fall meal plan will be forfeited and will not carry over to Spring semester
If you are withdrawing from you room and meal plans AND withdrawing from all classes:
- Withdrawal prior to the end of the second week (14 days) 100% room refund.
- Withdrawal prior to the end of the fourth week (28 days) 75% room refund.
- Withdrawal prior to the end of the sixth week (42 days) 50% room refund.
- Withdrawal prior to the end of the eighth week (56 days) 25% room refund.
- Withdrawal after the eighth week (57 days and after) 0% room refund.
RETURNING USM STUDENTS AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: No initial $75.00 deposit required with the application.
Cancellations must be made in writing: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, mail to Residential Life, 37 College Ave., Gorham, ME 04038, or faxed to 207.780.5597.
The meal plan will be pro-rated according to the date of the last meal eaten, the number of meal plan dollars used, and the week the meal plan is canceled. For more information, please contact us.
Will I be guaranteed housing for the whole time I'm a USM student?
Assignments are made each year for new students according to the Living Learning Community (LLC) COR course you have registered for, so the earlier you are registered for classes AND get your housing application in, the better your chances of receiving a housing assignment.
For questions regarding this process, please see the First Year Housing process page.
A new housing application/contract must be submitted each year. For returning students going through the annual Housing Selection process to choose a room, the application has a deadline for completion in order to be admitted to the housing portal to select your space.
How much will it cost to live on campus?
You can find housing and meal plan costs at the Room & Board Rates page. Posted rates include streaming cable service (students will need streaming-enabled devices), laundry, and high-speed internet access.
Do I have to be a full-time student to live on campus?
You must be matriculated at USM and enrolled in 12 credits per semester in order to live on campus. Any exceptions must be approved by Residential Life. Graduate and law students must be matriculated and enrolled in 6 credits per semester.
Do you have graduate student housing?
While we do not have separate housing solely for graduate students, we are happy to accommodate graduate students in our residence halls. Graduate students may find our two upper-class residences, Upperclass Hall and Philippi Hall, more suited to their needs. Please note that we do not have family housing available, and all residents must be matriculated, enrolled USM students to live on campus.
Gender Inclusive means that spaces or restrooms are available to anyone, and are not limited to a certain population. This is inclusive of any gender identity and/or gender expression. For residence hall restrooms, this means anyone, regardless of gender identity or expression or sexual orientation, can use that restroom. For residence hall spaces (rooms, suites, and apartments), this means that with the consent of all occupants, Residential Life will make assignments to rooms, suites, and apartments inclusive of all genders and gender expressions.
When it comes to single-gender restrooms, the University of Maine System does not discriminate based on sex or sexual orientation, which includes gender identity and expression. All students, employees, and campus visitors are welcome to use the restrooms that best fit their gender.
At USM we are proud to offer a variety of housing options for our students. All of our communities, unless specifically noted, have the option for students to opt into a gender-inclusive room, which can be assigned by the Office of Residential Life. We also have gender-inclusive restrooms in each of our residence halls, as well as single-gender restrooms or single-stall restrooms. Each restroom will be labeled clearly for ease of access. All of our common restrooms have individual stalls for both the toilets and showers with either locking doors or privacy curtains. A full breakdown of our housing options is detailed below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Residential Life at email@example.com or 207-780-5240 or read more at Gender Inclusive Housing.
How will you match me up with a roommate?
We use the roommate matching and lifestyle questions on your housing application to match you with a roommate. In addition, for first year students, we look at the COR class you are enrolled in, and assign you and roommates to the same Living Learning Community. Depending on our applicant pool, we match preferences as closely as we can.
Can I request a particular roommate(s)?
You may request a roommate on your housing application by forming a roommate group. You can invite a roommate to a roommate group after they have filled out a housing application. If they haven't filled out an application, you will not be able to invite them.
You may complete roommate requests through our housing portal. After completing a housing application, create a roommate group through the "Update My Application" link on the housing portal. More information on how to access the portal and apply can be found here. Once you click the "Update My Application" link, you can create a roommate group, accept invitations into a group that you have been invited to, or leave a roommate group.
First year students: As we make assignments, we will take these roommate groups into consideration as long as all students in the group select into the same LLC when you select classes. Some LLCs have multiple sections of the same topic, such as Health and Creativity; others only have one section. Make sure you discuss your plans with your roommate groups, as we will not be able to keep groups together if individuals select into different COR topics. If you do not select a roommate group, our housing staff will do our best to match you with roommate(s) with similar preferences based on the responses to the Roommate Matching information on each of your housing applications.
How can I see updates to my roommate assignments?
You can view your current room booking and roommate information in your Residential Life and Housing portal under the "2021-2022 Housing Portal" button.
What if my roommate and I cannot get along?
We hope that you and your assigned roommate will find a way to work through any issues! It may help to meet with your Resident Assistant together to complete a roommate agreement, which clarifies roommates' expectations or needs. Our first course of action is mediation, and your Resident Director can also mediate conversations. Policies regarding room changes, etc. for Fall 2021 will be reviewed and updates posted to our website once finalized.
Facilities and Amenities
How big are the residence hall rooms?
While room sizes vary to some extent, many of the double rooms are approximately 12' by 15'. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more specific information if needed. Regular double rooms will be used as single rooms for Fall 2020/Spring 2021 (this does not apply to double rooms within suites or four person double apartments).
How many people share a bathroom?
In most of our residence halls, except for Upperclass Hall and parts of Philippi Hall, we have common bathrooms. A whole floor or section shares one large bathroom, usually with 3-4 showers and 3-4 toilets. In Philippi Hall, there are wings with traditional doubles and singles, which share common, single-user bathrooms. Suites and apartments have private bathrooms shared by 3-4 people.
Are there facilities for washing and drying clothes?
There are washers and dryers in all of the halls. There is no charge to residential students to use the machines - free laundry! Our washers are high efficiency (HE) machines and require HE laundry detergent.
Is cable television available in the residence halls?
USM has a streaming cable service called Apogee.
What kinds of housekeeping services are provided?
Normal wear-and-tear housekeeping services are provided on a daily basis for public areas and public bathrooms only, with enhanced cleaning protocols due to Covid. You are responsible for cleaning your bedroom and any appliances supplied with the room. If you live in a suite or apartment, you are also responsible for cleaning your living room, bathroom, and kitchen, and supplying your own toilet paper.
Is internet service provided by the University?
Yes, all residence hall rooms have wireless internet access. Please do not use wireless routers, modems, or hubs, as they interfere with university systems.
Follow these simple steps to register a device to the “eduroam” WiFi network
1. Connect your device to the "eduroam-setup" Wi-Fi SSID.
If nothing appears, open a web browser and go to http://maine.edu (don't use https://).
2. You will be redirected to the eduroam-setup device onboarding portal.
3. Login using your "@maine.edu" credentials to begin the process.
Note: Because eduroam is a global system, you need to enter the username in “email@example.com“ form.
4. Follow the instructions on each page carefully and wait for each step to complete.
5. Most devices require an app to install client certificates and modify network settings for the “eduroam” profile on your device; it can be deleted once complete. For Windows and macOS it will download directly from the portal; for Android you must click a play store link, then install and open the Cisco Network Setup Assistant app.
6. Windows, macOS, and Android users will automatically switch to the “eduroam” SSID. Apple does not allow iOS to be automatically switched to the SSID, so iOS users will see a message instead that asks them to open Settings and switch to the “eduroam” SSID.
You can now use the eduroam SSID at UMS campuses or remote participating institutions globally for a period of up to 5 years.
Residential networking questions may be directed to the Technology Support Center at 207.780.4029.
How will I receive US mail while I am living on campus?
For all buildings except Upperclass Hall: Each mailbox has a Unit #, designated by a letter and a 3 digit number. You can find your Unit # and combination by logging in to your Residential Life and Housing portal and clicking on the Mailbox Information button. These mailboxes are located in the basement of Upton Hall. Mail Services has more information about package pickup, hours, etc. on their MyUSM internal page for students.
These unit numbers are not the same as your room number.
Please write your address as:
Your USM Unit # or Box #
37 College Ave.
Gorham, ME 04038
Upperclass Hall residents receive their mail in Upperclass Hall mailboxes. Please write your address as:
USM Upperclass Hall Box #
37 College Ave.
Gorham, ME 04038
Outgoing stamped mail may be dropped off at Mail Services in the basement of Upton Hall.
Always remember to CLOSE your mailbox and SPIN the combination lock to secure your mailbox.
Do the residence halls stay open during official University breaks?
During the Covid pandemic, halls have remained open for a small population of students granted special permission to stay. As Fall 2021 begins, we will release further information about break policies.
Residential Way: 10 weekly all-you-care-to-eat meals per semester & $300.00 Flex dollars
Husky Drive: 14 weekly all-you-care-to-eat meals per semester & 175.00 Flex dollars
Unlimited: Enjoy unlimited all-you-care-to-eat meals per semester & $50.00 Flex dollars (this meal plan option costs a little more per semester compared to the other plans)
For more information, please visit the Dining Services page or call Dining Services at 207.780.5420.
Do I have to have a meal plan?
Unless assigned to an apartment (not a suite) in Upperclass Hall, all residential students are required to have a meal plan as part of the room and board contract. Initially, all residents, including those in apartments, are automatically assigned a default meal plan or to the meal plan they chose during Housing Selection or on the housing application.
Students other than first years assigned to the 19 meal plan may change their meal plan prior to the end of the second week of classes each semester.
Meal plans are optional for residents in apartments but must be canceled in writing (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) before the first day the meal plan goes into effect in order to receive a full refund. If the meal plan is canceled in the first two weeks of the Fall board period, they will receive a 90% refund, and after the second week meal plans for students in apartments cannot be canceled.
If a student moves into an apartment after the first week, they have a one week window to cancel their meal plan. There are financial implications to canceling the meal plan once the plan has been used; speak with Residential Life for specifics.
Are vegetarian dishes offered in the dining center?
Yes. Vegetarian entrees are offered at each meal. Vegan options are also available. Please speak with Dining Services staff at 207.780.5420 if you have other special dietary needs, i.e. gluten-free, allergies, etc., and they will be happy to work with you.
If I live off-campus, can I still eat in the dining center?
Yes! Commuters can purchase a commuter/voluntary meal plan of block meals, dining dollars, or a combination. Please visit Dining Services for complete plan details and to purchase a plan.
What to bring, what to leave at home
Guidance for Fall 2021 will be updated as we get closer to August move-in.
Below are some thoughts. Check with roommate(s) before moving in to avoid duplication.
FOR YOUR BED - note our different mattress sizes!
Robie Andrews Hall, Woodward Hall, and Anderson Hall and the Upton side of Upton Hastings Hall have extra long mattresses
Upperclass, Philippi, and the Hastings side of Upton Hastings Hall beds have regular twin size mattresses
Sheets and pillowcase
Bedspread or comforter
ELECTRICAL ITEMS ALLOWED
All rooms come with a MicroFridge unit, with the exception of apartments, which come with a full-sized refrigerator. The Microfridge units are designed to save energy and are very convenient (combined refrigerator, freezer and microwave).
Please do not bring a refrigerator or microwave to school.
We recommend Energy Star rated appliances in accordance with our sustainability philosophy.
Printer and accessories
Power strip with surge protector - extension cords are NOT allowed
Study lamp with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs
Low power stereo (less than 800 watts)
Streaming compatible TV
DVD, Blu-ray player
Iron w/automatic shutoff
Hairdryer, curling iron, etc.
Keurig machine or comparable machine using a similar brewing mechanism
Automatic shut off tea kettle
Headphones with a microphone (in case you and your roommate are attending separate virtual events, meetings, etc)
Camp chairs to be with people outside
Several face coverings
Shower shoes or flip flops, shower caddy
First aid kit, thermometer, personal medications
Closet curtains for all halls except Robie Andrews
Posters affixed w/poster putty (no tape, tacks or nails. (Command strips may be used as long as they are used correctly! If they are just pulled off the wall, the paint will come off and charges will be assessed.)
Pictures of family and friends
Three-ring binders, notebook paper
Pencils, pens, highlighters, sharpies
Scissors, tape, ruler
Stapler and staples
Storage boxes/space organizers
Trashcan and trash bags
Broom and basic cleaning supplies
Laundry basket, detergent
Warm winter boots and possibly ice grippers for boots
Basic kitchen supplies for common kitchen use
Utensils, cups, plates, bowls
Sports equipment - must be kept in your room
Toilet paper for apartments and suites
If you plan to have a car on campus, we encourage you to bring a snow shovel.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING
Hoverboards - Recent information has revealed that the batteries in the devices are dangerous and prone to explosion, creating a safety and fire risk. Our priority is the safety of the members of our community, and until a time that the safety standards of these devices are improved, Residential Life has prohibited these devices from being in all residential buildings. Should these devices be found in the halls, students will be asked to remove them from the building by appropriate staff (Resident Assistant, Resident Director, etc.).
Such violations will be referred through the student conduct process.
Incandescent light bulbs - please use compact fluorescents and LEDs, which save energy
Candles, incense, oil-burning lamps
Toaster ovens, toasters, hot plates, air fryers
George Foreman grills, charcoal or gas grills
Coffee makers (except Keurig machines or those with similar brewing mechanism)
Weapons of any kind
Darts and dart boards
Animals, except fish or service animals as defined by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, subject to approval
Fry Daddy's, electric frying pans
Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, halogen lamps, medusa lamps
Ceiling hangings, ceiling fans
May I bring a computer?
Yes. Just remember that as with all personal property, you are responsible for its security. Wireless internet access is in all residence hall rooms and common areas. Networking questions should be directed to the Technology Support Center.
What are MicroFridges, and what is your policy regarding other units?
* One University-owned MicroFridge unit will be provided for each designed double or single. A second University-owned MicroFridge unit will be provided for designed triples or 4 person rooms or suites (without kitchens). All other microwaves and/or refrigerators and freezers are prohibited.
* Microfridge units must be left clean, dry, unplugged, and with the refrigerator and freezer doors open when all occupants check out of the room. MicroFridge units that require cleaning by custodial staff will incur a cleaning fee, billed to the occupant(s) of the room/suite. Occupant(s) will also be billed for unit(s) that are damaged or missing parts.
May I bring my own furniture with me?
All residence hall rooms are fully furnished with a bed, a desk, a chair, bureau space and a closet available to each resident. Please note that all furniture assigned to a room must stay in the room - it will not be moved or stored to make room for your own. You may bring any furniture that you might like to have in your room, (with the exception of waterbeds and lofts), but you should consider what your roommate(s) may also be bringing; talk to them before you make any final decisions. Useful items might be a small bedside table, floor lamp, television stand, small rug and so forth.
For beds that are not semi-lofted, you may use plastic bed risers for a bit more under-bed storage.
Are pets allowed in the residence halls?
No pets or animals of any kind may be kept in the residence halls, with the exception of non-poisonous, non-walking fish in aquariums (aquarium size limited to 10 gallons), service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments 2008, or approved assistance animals.
Prior approval of an assistance animal is required by the Disability Services Center. The University is not responsible for the loss or harm to any fish due to interruptions in power services.
Parking and Transportation
Is there parking available on campus?
On the Gorham campus, 24 hour parking is available for any resident student who applies for a parking permit through USM Parking Services. We have assigned parking with the parking permit according to your building assignments/academic level. Since our campus is designed with residences and academic buildings clustered in the center to make it more accessible, parking will mostly be toward the edges of campus.
Please contact Parking Services for more information on parking and parking permits. They are located in the USM Parking Garage, as you enter and to the left in the lobby, on the Portland campus. You may call them at (207) 780-4718 or preferably email them at email@example.com. You may go to Parking Services' website for a possible quicker answer to your question about parking at the University of Southern Maine.
Is there a way to travel between campuses without my own car?
Yes, USM has an arrangement with Metro, and the Husky Line provides service between our Portland and Gorham campuses, in addition to other routes. The trip between campuses takes about 25 minutes.
Any resident who is of legal drinking age (21) may consume alcohol in the privacy of his/her room or suite in Philippi, Robie Andrews, Anderson, and Upperclass residence halls only. No under-age person is allowed to have alcohol or alcohol containers in their possession, or in their room, at any time in any of USM's residence halls. Please see the Policy Guide for Campus Living for details.
May I have guests in my residence hall room?
These were policies for Spring 2021, and they will be reviewed and may be updated for Fall 2021: In order to limit the spread of Covid-19, it is necessary to limit contact between people, particularly in the residence halls, which have high density. Two guests are allowed in a room, suite, or apartment at one time, and they must be residents from within the same residence hall. Students living in shared suites/apartments must have the permission of their roommates before inviting guests to visit.
Absolutely no guests from outside the university, and no USM students who live off-campus or in other buildings, will be allowed in on-campus residential spaces. This includes common areas in the residence halls such as classrooms and hallways, as well as individual student rooms. Residence halls will only be accessible to those students assigned to that specific building and to authorized university officials. This is necessary because the density of the residence halls needs to be carefully maintained to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. Students are encouraged to work on group projects, socialize, and otherwise spend time together in socially distanced groups of less than 10 by reserving classrooms, going to Brooks Student Center or Woodbury Campus Center or the Library, and spending time outdoors.
What if none of my questions were answered here?
Please contact us, either by phone at 207.780.5240, or by writing to Office of Residential Life, 37 College Ave., Gorham, ME 04038, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We're happy to answer your questions!