How We Assign Housing

MIT's algorithm helps make the process of deciding who lives where as efficient and equitable as possible while creating residences that feel more like a community.


Assignments are made by running both the student applications and the housing vacancies through a series of algorithms. Algorithms are used in both spring and fall allocations.

How the algorithm works
  • First priority is to give the greatest number of graduate students the opportunity to live in graduate housing.
  • Second priority is to get students into their top choices. More weight is given to moving someone onto campus than moving someone from their second to first choice.
  • The more places you rank among your preferences, the more likely you are to receive an on-campus housing assignment.
What happens next
  • If you are successful in obtaining an assignment through the allocation, you will be sent one—and only one—housing assignment.
  • You must accept the assignment or pay a $250 cancellation fee.
If you are not succesful in obtaining an assignment, you may enter the graduate housing waiting list.

Allocating housing to single students

How it works
  • The graduate housing assignment process is designed to give priority to new students.
  • The idea is to give as many new graduate students as possible a year on campus so that they can participate in the vibrant life of the community.
  • Most single residences have an approximately 60:40 ratio of new to continuing students.
  • To determine how many spaces go to new students and how many to continuing students, we look at the number of continuing students who are remaining in the residence from the year before.
  • Let’s say we have a building with 100 spaces. Each year, 60 new students must leave when their contract expires, always giving us 60 spaces in this building. Of the 40 continuing students who remain, only 21 graduate and leave. The rest renew for another year. This means we will be able to assign 60 units to new students, but only 21 to continuing students.

Allocating housing to students with partners or families

How it works

Moving can be disruptive to families, so new students with families get an initial housing assignment of either one-and-a-half (in the spring allocation) or two years (in the fall allocation).

Two buildings on the MIT campus are set aside exclusively for families— Eastgate and Westgate. They house: 
  • New students—students who have never before been registered at MIT and have received a one-year renewable assignment in the housing allocation.
  • New students/second year—students who are in the second year of their initial “new student” housing assignment.
  • Continuing students—students who don’t meet the criteria for “new students” and have received permanently renewable “continuing student” assignments in the May housing allocation.
To determine how many spaces go to new students and how many to continuing students, we look at the number of continuing students who are remaining in the residence from the year before.