Office of Residential Life

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Housing Contract and Assignments

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?

Roommates

* How will you match me up with a roommate?
* Can I request a particular roommate(s)?
* What if my roommate and I cannot get along?

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?

Dining

* What meal plans are provided?
* Do I have to have a meal plan?
* Are vegetarian dishes offered in the dining center?
* If I live off-campus, can I still eat in the dining center?

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

* Can anyone bring a car to campus?
* Is there parking available on campus?
* Is there a way to travel between campuses without a car?

Miscellaneous Policies

* What is the alcohol policy?
* May I have guests in my residence hall room?
* Can I smoke cigarettes in my room?

* What if none of my questions were answered here?


Housing Contract and Assignments

How can I request more information and a housing contract?
The housing contract is not available as an online form. Housing contracts and brochures are mailed in weekly batches to students who indicated "Resident" on their USM application and have been newly accepted to USM. If you have not received a housing contract within a few weeks of being admitted to USM, please call our office right away to request one. If you are a matriculated student at USM and currently commuting, you may request a contract for the current academic year by phoning us at 207.780.5240, or e-mailing reslife@usm.maine.edu. You should receive it by US mail within a few working days, or we can e-mail an application if preferred.


Can I cancel my housing contract and receive a refund of the $75.00 deposit?

If you are applying for fall 2013-spring 2014, you may cancel your housing contract on or before June 1, 2013 in writing and we will issue a refund request to Student Accounts. If you have a zero balance on your account, Student Accounts will issue a refund check. Cancellations after June 1, 2013 but prior to your check in date forfeit the $75.00 deposit but incur no other charges. Cancellations may be made by e-mail to reslife@usm.maine.edu, mailed to Residential Life, 37 Colllege Ave., Gorham, ME 04038, or faxed to 207.780.5597. Phone cancellations will not be accepted.

If you apply solely for the spring 2014 semester, you must cancel your housing contract in writing on or before January 1, 2014 to receive a deposit refund.


Can I cancel my housing contract after I move in?

Yes, but this does not mean you will receive a full refund or even a partial refund. Please refer to the Residence Hall and Board Contract Terms and Conditions on the reverse of your housing contract, specifically section C. Refund Information. By signing the housing contract, you are bound by the terms and conditions of the contract.

If you WITHDRAW from the RESIDENCE HALLS ONLY and you are STILL ENROLLED AT USM, the following refund schedule applies:

Withdrawal from residence hall between move in and the end of the fourth week of the first semester of occupancy: 50% refund of fall room rate, the fall meal plan will be prorated, and the student shall be released from the remainder of the contract period.

Withdrawal from residence hall after end of fourth week of the first semester of occupancy: student shall be charged the full room rate for the fall and spring semesters, fall meal plan will be prorated, and no charge for spring meal plan will be incurred.

In the case of spring being the first semester of occupancy, the student shall be charged the full room rate for the spring semester if the student leaves after the end of the fourth week of the spring semester and the meal plan will be prorated.


If you WITHDRAW from the RESIDENCE HALLS and ALL classes at USM, the following room refund schedule applies.

Withdrawal prior to the end of the second week (14 days) 100%
Withdrawal prior to the end of the fourth week (28 days) 75%
Withdrawal prior to the end of the sixth week (42 days) 50%
Withdrawal prior to the end of the eighth week (56 days) 25%
Withdrawal after the eighth week (57 days and after) 0%


These provisions hold true unless the student is released from the contract in writing by Residential Life.

If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to contact the central office at 207.780.5240 or reslife@usm.maine.edu.


How are meal plans refunded?

The meal plan will be pro-rated according to the following general formula:

(Meal plan cost) - (initial amount of meal plan dollars) x (a percentage, depending on the check out day).

Then, (meal plan dollars left) x 45%, which is added to the previous total. This is the charge for the meal plan.

Example:

For someone on the 10 meal plan with $300.00 dining dollars who moves out on the 11th day of the semester:
($2,175.00) - ($300.00) = $1,875.00 x 10% = $187.50

If there are $275.00 meal plan dollars left, $275.00 x 45% = $123.75.

$187.50 + $123.75 = $311.25 would be the charge for the meal plan.

Please note this is an example only - ask Residential Life for your specifics.


What if I want to move out after the fall semester?
You have signed an academic year contract, which means you committed to live on campus for the entire academic year, or until you are no longer a student at U.S.M., whichever comes first. If you graduate, go on exchange, transfer or withdraw from USM and check out appropriately at the end of the fall semester, you are not held to the contract for spring semester.


Will I be guaranteed housing for the whole time I'm a USM student?
Assignments are made each year for new students by date of housing application, so the earlier your contract is submitted, the better your chances of receiving a housing assignment. For questions regarding this process, please email us at reslife@usm.maine.edu or call us at 207.780.5240. Current residential students are guaranteed housing as long as they are able to participate in the Room Selection process each April for the following school year. Returning residents are assigned to rooms before new students are assigned to housing. A new contract and deposit must be submitted each year.


When will I find out about my room assignment?
Fall assignments are mailed in June and through the summer. Spring semester only assignments will be mailed in late December.


How much will it cost to live on campus?
Go to the Room & Board Rates page for more information. Posted rates include full cable television lineup (students need to provide their own cable-ready television and coaxial cable), and high speed internet access.


Do I have to be a full time student to live on campus?
Any matriculated, enrolled USM student can apply to live on campus. You do not have to be full time. For instance, if you begin your semester with 15 credits and drop to 9 credits, you do not have to move out. However, you should check with the Financial Aid office to see if changing your course load affects your financial aid package.


Do I have to be a matriculated student to live on campus?

Generally, yes, you must be both matriculated at USM and enrolled. Sometimes exceptions are made for non-matriculated, enrolled students to live on campus, such as when their admission to USM is pending. However, any non-matriculated student is REQUIRED to pay the room and board charges in their entirety before moving in. If a non-matriculated student cannot meet that requirement, they cannot be housed on campus until they have matriculated at USM. 


Do you have graduate student housing?
While we do not have separate housing for graduate students, we are happy to accommodate graduate students in our residence halls. Graduate students may find our two upperclass residences, Upperclass Hall and Philippi Hall, more amenable 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.


Roommates

How will you match me up with a roommate?
At the bottom of the housing application there is a "Lifestyle Matching Questionnaire". This simple questionnaire is designed to aid us in assigning compatible roommates. You should be as honest as possible when answering the questions, remembering that this is our primary roommate matching tool.


Can I request a particular roommate(s)?
Yes, you can. Although this is an application/contract for space and does not guarantee assignment, every effort will be made to honor your preference of hall, type of living space or roommate(s) if it is a mutual request. You must enter each others names and MaineStreet student ID numbers on the housing contract (this is the seven digit number beginning with zero which is assigned to you by USM - it is not your social security number or any number on your student ID card). Remember that you must be matriculated at USM, and we need to receive housing contracts around the same time in order to make our best effort to match roommates. This will also depend on the availability of completely open rooms, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances of receiving your requested roommate(s).


What if my roommate and I cannot get along?
Although your assigned roommate is considered permanent, and every effort to work out issues between roommates should first be exhausted, room changes are considered after a week room freeze at the beginning of each semester. Room changes are granted at the discretion of your Resident Director or the Assistant Director, depending on available space.


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'. Single rooms in Dickey Wood are 7' x 9'9" x 11'6". Please contact reslife@usm.maine.edu for more specific information if needed.


How many people share a bathroom?
In most of our residence halls, except for Dickey/Wood, 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 Dickey/Wood Hall, the floors are divided into four quads of four rooms each, where each quad shares one bathroom, with one shower and one toilet. 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 2-4 people.


Are there facilities for washing and drying clothes?
Yes. U.S.M. card-operated washers and dryers are located in each residence hall. A load of wash costs $1.50 and a dryer load costs $1.30, payable in Husky Bucks.


Are there lounges available for me to study in?
Yes, there is at least one study lounge in each residence hall, and in some cases there is one on each floor.


Is cable television available in the residence halls?
In all rooms there is a cable outlet with 50+ channels standard, the price of which is included in the room rate. You must provide your own cable-ready television and a coaxial cable for optimum service. Note to High Definition tv owners - HDTV service is only available if you set up a private account with Time Warner Cable of Maine, and requires additional components. Please contact Time Warner Cable if you have questions about HDTV.


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. 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 cleanling your living room, bathroom, and kitchen. We have great resources for "green" cleaning - ask us!


Is telephone service provided by the University?
Telephone service is not provided standard in rooms. For an additional charge, you may have the phone jack activated in your room for local and on campus calls. Long distance calls require a calling card. Please contact Telecom if you are interested in this option. You need to bring a touch tone phone.


Is internet service provided by the University?

Yes, wired high speed internet access is provided in every resident room. Wireless access is available in the residence halls in all common areas. ResNet is where to go to have your computer questions answered.


How will I receive US mail while I am living on campus?
Most mailboxes are located in Brooks Student Center. Each box number corresponds to a room number and residence hall name, so students sharing a room will share the same mailbox. You may obtain the mailbox combination from Mail Services in Upton Hall or from Residential Life. Your address while you live on campus should be written as follows:

(Name)

Room Number, Hall Name
University of Southern Maine
Gorham, ME 04038

Residents of Upperclass Hall have individual mailboxes, located in the lobby of the Upperclass Hall. Mailbox numbers are assigned by Residential Life and do not correspond to the room number. Please see Residential Life for your mailbox number and combination. Students in this hall should address their mail:

(Name)
Mailbox Number, Upperclass Hall
25 Husky Dr.
University of Southern Maine
Gorham, ME 04038 

Outgoing mail may be dropped off at Mail Services in the basement of Upton Hall. Stamps may be purchased at the USM Bookstore.

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?
Residence halls are open during official University breaks. The regular meal plan is not in effect during breaks, but Dining Services offers limited meal service. Please check with Dining Services at 207.780.5420 if you have any questions about meal availability.


Dining

What meal plans are provided?
Dining Services offers 7 different resident meal plans. Meal plans are offered at two levels: Level One, which includes the 19, 16 and 14 (with block meals) meal plans and costs $2,360.00 per semester, and Level Two, which includes the 14, 10 and two variations of 6 meal plans at $2,175.00 per semester.

For more Dining Service information, including descriptions of the various meal plans, go to 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 the Level 2 10 meal plan with $300.00 meal plan dollars, or to the meal plan they chose at Room Selection. Students 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 cancelled IN WRITING before or during the first week of any semester, and must not have been used in order to receive a full refund. In the case of a student moving to an Upperclass Hall apartment mid-semester, canceling the meal plan is an option. There are financial implications to canceling the meal plan once the plan has been used. Below is an example of the refund formula; speak with Residential Life for specifics.

The meal plan will be pro-rated according to the following general formula:

(Meal plan cost) - (initial amount of meal plan dollars) x (a percentage, depending on the move out day).

Then, (meal plan dollars left) x 45%, which is added to the previous total. This is the charge for the meal plan.

Example:

For someone on the 10 meal plan with $300.00 dining dollars who moves out on the 11th day of the semester:
($2,175.00) - ($300.00) = $1,875.00 x 10% = $187.50. Say the student has $275.00 meal plan dollars left, so $275.00 x 45% = $123.75.
$187.50 + $123.75 = $311.25 would be the charge for the meal plan.


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 at 207.780.5420 if you have other special dietary needs, i.e. gluten free, etc.


If I live off-campus, can I still eat in the dining center?
Yes. Commuters can purchase a commuter or a residential meal plan. Commuter plans may be purchased through the Campus Card Office. Residential plans may be purchased through Residential Life. Please see the Dining Services web page for complete plan details. Additionally, individuals have the option of paying at the door for meals.


What to bring, what to leave at home

What can I bring with me?

Below are suggested items. Check with roommate(s) before moving in to avoid duplication.

BED - beds are standard twin size, not extra long
Standard regular size twin sheets and pillowcase
Mattress pad
Pillow
Blanket
Bedspread or comforter

ELECTRICAL ITEMS ALLOWED
All rooms come with a MicroFridge unit. These 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.
Computer, tablet, laptop
Printer and accessories
Approved power strip w/circuit breaker (these special items are sold in the USM Bookstore)
Study lamp with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs
Low power stereo (less than 800 watts)
TV
DVD player
Gaming systems
Fan
Iron w/automatic shutoff
Hair dryer, curling iron, etc.
Keurig

PERSONAL ITEMS
Clothes, shoes
Shower shoes or flip flops, shower caddy
Towels
Toiletries
Umbrella
Jacket, raincoat

RECOMMENDED FIRST AID SUPPLIES
Hot pack/Cold pack, adhesive strips in assorted sizes, gauze pads in several sizes, adhesive tape, rolled stretch gauze, triangular bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, Bacitracin, saline nasal spray, over the counter medications for colds, pain, fever, stomach and intestinal, tweezers, personal medical non-mercury thermometer

ROOM DECORATIONS
Area rug
Closet curtains for all halls except Robie Andrews
Posters affixed w/poster putty, no tacks or nails
Pictures of family and friends
Plants

SCHOOL SUPPLIES
Many of these items may also be purchased at the USM Bookstores in Gorham or Portland.
Three ring binders, notebook paper
Composition books
Pencils, pens, highlighters, sharpies
Personal organizer/calendar
Thumb drives
Scissors, tape, ruler
Paper clips
Stapler and staples
Folders
Backpack

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
Cell phone - in room jacks may be activated for local calls for a fee
Coaxial cable for your television
CAT 5 ethernet cable for computer
Clock
Storage boxes/space organizers
Trash can and trash bags
Broom and basic cleaning supplies
Laundry basket, detergent
Clothes hangers
Flashlight
Basic kitchen supplies for common kitchen use
Utensils, cups, plates
Ironing board
Sports equipment

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
Incandescent light bulbs - please use compact fluorescents and LEDs, which save energy
Candles, incense, oil burning lamps
Toaster ovens, toasters, hot plates
George Foreman grills, charcoal or gas grills
Coffee makers, electric tea kettles (except Keurig machines)
Extension cords
Weapons of any kind
Animals, except fish (seeing eye/service dogs and simian aids are subject to approval)
Fry Daddys, electric frying pans
Air conditioners, dehumidifiers, halogen lamps, medusa lamps
Ceiling hangings, ceiling fans
Alcohol paraphernalia

For more ideas see the pamphlet which will be included with your housing assignment letter.


May I bring a computer?
Yes. Just remember that as with all personal property, you are responsible for its security. USM offers an in-room internet access program called ResNet, which is explained further on the ResNet homepage. This gives access to the Internet through e-mail, the World Wide Web and some USM applications. Access in student rooms is wired, but wireless access is available in the lounges and common areas of the residence halls.  Don't forget to bring a CAT 5 cable to connect in your room.


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 microwave and/or refrigerators are prohibited.

* Only one University owned Microfridge unit will be provided for "overcrowd" doubles or triples. An additional University owned Microfridge unit may be requested from the Resident Director.

* Microfridge units must be left clean, 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 $40.00 cleaning fee, billed to the occupant(s) of the room/suite. Occupant(s) will 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 him or her before you make any final decisions. Useful items might be a small bedside table, floor lamp, television stand, rug and so forth.


May I bring or build a loft in my residence hall room?
No, we do not allow lofts in student rooms.


Are pets allowed in the residence halls?
For health and sanitation reasons, the only pets allowed in the residence halls at any time are non-poisonous, non-walking fish in covered aquariums, seeing eye dogs, guide dogs and simian aids. The University can not be responsible for power outages which may cause harm to some fish.


Parking and Transportation

Can anyone bring a car to campus?
Yes, all students may bring their own vehicle to campus, including first year students.


Is there parking available on campus?
On the Gorham campus, parking is available for any resident student who applies for a parking decal through the U.S.M. Public Safety office, located in the USM parking garage in Portland, 207.780.4718. Simply present a current class schedule and vehicle registration and complete the parking decal form. Residential students in Gorham may park in the residential lots which are designated by green signs.


Is there a way to travel between campuses without my own car?
Yes, a free shuttle bus runs between the Portland and Gorham campuses about every 45 minutes. The trip between campuses takes about 20-25 minutes.


Miscellaneous Policies

What is the alcohol policy?

Alcohol is not allowed in any public area, including lounges, bathrooms and hallways by any person, regardless of age, in any residence halls. 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, 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 U.S.M.'s residence halls. Please see the Residence Hall Policies for details.


May I have guests in my residence hall room?
Yes, you may have guests stay in your room with some provisions: 1.) You should always check with your roommate(s) before inviting any guest to your room, 2.) You must always sign any guest into the residence hall at the security desk and remain with them while they are in the hall, and 3.) You may not have any guest stay in your room more than three nights in any consecutive two week period.


Can I smoke cigarettes in my room?
No, USM is now a tobacco free campus. No tobacco use of any kind is allowed on campus, for the comfort and health of all.


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 reslife@usm.maine.edu. We're happy to answer your questions!