Residence Life

Housing for Current Students

Returning Pitzer students recently participated in Room Draw, the process for selecting housing for the upcoming academic year.  More information on Room Draw is available at:

As part of this process students that are interested in living off-campus are required to submit an application to the Housing Office. 

Students meeting one of the criteria below are automatically approved for off campus status:

  • • Married or with children
  • • 24 years of age or older
  • • Living with immediate family in the area
  • • Students with documented medical or psychological conditions that, in the determination of the College, preclude the student from living in on-campus housing.

This year, all rising seniors that requested to live off-campus were granted approval, as were all students who currently live off-campus this year.  Students with documented medical conditions that require accommodations that cannot be met on campus were also approved to live off.  In all 203 students applied to live off-campus next year and 152 received approval to do so.  On April 23, another 15 students were granted permission to live off-campus next year based on additional information they provided.  This means that 83% of students that applied to live-off received approval.

With the completion of phase II of the Pitzer’s Residential Life Project, the College now has 840 student beds on campus.  In support of the Campus Master Plan (2000-01)  “Pitzer’s primary goal is to provide student accommodations fostered by a tangible sense of community.”  In 2002-03 the Pitzer Community completed a Housing Master Plan with a goal of providing 752 beds on campus.  At that time, enrollment of Pitzer students in Claremont that were eligible to live on campus was between 825-850.

More information on the Pitzer College Campus Master Plan and Housing Master Plan are located at

Benchmarking done between 2002 and 2005 showed that the vast majority of national residential liberal arts colleges housed well over 90% of their students on campus.  This included the other Claremont Colleges which housed between 95 – 99% of their students on campus at that time.  All of the other Claremont Colleges currently house more than 95% of their students on campus.  Pitzer set a goal of accommodating at least 90% of our students in on-campus housing following the completion of all three phases of the Residential Life Project.  Upon the completion of phase II last summer, Pitzer was able to house 85% of our eligible* students on campus.

*Does not include students that are studying abroad or New Resources students.

For economic and sustainability reasons the College chose to build more beds in phase II and less in phase III than originally planned.  This resulted in a net gain of 100 beds on campus with the completion of East and West Halls and the decommissioning of Holden Hall for student rooms.

Of the 51 students that were not initially approved to live off campus next year, all were rising sophomores and juniors.  Most cited financial difficulties, closely followed by stress caused by incompatibility with living in a residential setting, and dietary restrictions/food preferences. 15 students that did not receive approval to live off-campus next year have appealed the decision.  There are a few that have referenced medical conditions that we are investigating further by following up with each student individually and asking for current medical documentation.  All 15 of these students have now received approval to live off-campus next year.

For more than ten years the College has had a written policy that requires all first, second, and third year students to live on campus.  This policy has not changed in recent years.  What has changed is the fact that the College can now provide housing for more of our students on campus, which is in concert with the wishes of students and parents for many years, and is consistent with all of the institutional planning efforts to date.

Financial Considerations:

Pitzer provides students with a safe, convenient, and a comfortable living environment on campus.  The College believes that this environment, and its close proximity to the academic spaces on campus (classrooms, labs, study spaces, faculty offices, etc.) contribute to an excellent learning experience for students.

However, it is understood that for a variety of reasons, some students prefer to live off-campus at some point during their time at Pitzer.  There are currently opportunities for students to do this, particularly during their senior year at the College.  It is important to recognize the full and real costs of living off-campus compared to on-campus.

The costs to live and eat on the Pitzer campus for the 2012-13 academic year are as follows:

  • • $8,028 per year for double occupancy room
  • • $9,110 annually for a single room
  • • $5,836 annually for the 16 meal plan plus $320 in flexible dining money.

Students that live in a double room on the 16 meal plan will pay $13,864 for the 8 months that they are on campus each academic year.  This equates to $1,733 per month.

The cost to live off-campus in a local apartment or house varies greatly depending on the location and quality of the building or house, and according to the living arrangements and preferences of each student.

Two bedroom apartments in the area range from $1,600 - $2,000 per month and 3-4 bedroom houses lease for $2,000 - $3,500 on a monthly basis according to local listings in the CUC Real Estate Office.

Students living on campus do not pay for the following items that are necessary expenses for students that live off-campus. (Each item is listed with a range per unit).

  • • Utilities (electricity and gas): $60 - $150 monthly
  • • Trash, water, and sewer: $30 - $95 monthly
  • • Internet Service: $50 - $80 monthly
  • • Transportation: $0 - $75 monthly
  • • Furniture: $100 - $2,000 (on campus rooms include: bed, dresser, desk, chair, and a bookshelf, as well as common area furniture in suites, study rooms, etc.).

In addition, many landlords require students to sign a one-year lease, regardless of whether they intend to live in the area for the entire year.

Depending on the exact living arrangements, students could incur expenses ranging from over $750 to almost $2,000 per month (adjusted for 12-month leases) to live off-campus before eating.  Depending on the quality and quantity of food, students may spend another $300 ($10/day) to $900 each month on food.  This means that some students may be able to live off-campus for less than they could on-campus each month, while others are likely to spend more to live off-campus over the course of the year.

According to some students they can live much cheaper through creative resourcefulness, such as salvaging used furniture, subletting their room or apartment when school is not in session, and eating free food at campus events.  Other students have reported that they use the additional money that their families would have spent on living expenses for other items, including entertainment.  Again, every student’s living and financial situation is different, but it is clear that it is not necessarily less expensive to live off-campus.

Benefits of Living On-Campus:

Studies show that living in a residence hall on campus has a positive influence on a student's academic work, level of involvement in campus activities, retention in college, and satisfaction with her or his collegiate experience.

Other benefits include:

  • • The small campus community provides endless opportunities to meet new people and develop lasting friendships.
  • • Easy walking distance to classes across the 5Cs, the library, and recreational areas.
  • • Convenient dining hall hours including access to seven dining halls across the 5Cs.
  • • Social, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities are available in all three residence halls.
  • • The services, skills, and time of professional live-in Residence Directors, including paraprofessional Resident Assistant student staff, are available for advice or referrals on just about any topic from personal problems to career decisions.
  • • All residence hall rooms provide wireless internet, 24 hour access to residence hall printing stations, easy access to the computer labs, study rooms, and outside patios that foster an environment necessary to build academic peer support and the formation of positive study habits.
  • • 24-hour Campus Safety patrols around campus and late night transportation/escort service
  • • 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, controlled residence hall access

Mead Hall

Last summer renovations began in and around Mead Hall. Over twenty suites received improvements ranging from new flooring and painting, to new bathroom fixtures and furniture. The following pictures depict some of the work that was completed

This summer all of the remaining suites will be improved, particularly the bathroom areas.  Also, the community kitchen on the ground floor will be demolished and a modern new kitchen will be built to twice the size of the original.  It will include new energy efficient appliances and an expanded seating area.  The Mead lobby will be refreshed, and the new Mead Living Room will undergo a drastic make-over, thanks to the thoughtful planning efforts of the Mead Hall Council.

Phase III

Planning for phase III of the Residential Life Project is scheduled to begin in the next year or two.  It is yet to be determined how many residential suites will remain in Mead Hall following this phase, but at this time it is expected that some of the suites will be converted into other much-needed spaces on campus.  This means there will be an opportunity to replace some of these student living spaces with more single rooms in phase III.  It could also mean, depending on the direction taken by the planning group, that the number of beds on campus may not change.