Student Housing Assistance Review Process



SHARP Update — July 29, 2020

SHARP is no longer accepting submissions. The SHARP form was officially open from Friday, July 17 to Tuesday, July 21. In response to requests from students, we extended the deadline to Tuesday, July 28 to accommodate additional requests. Students who feel that they are experiencing significant hardship and cannot live at home can email fall2020-sharp@mit.edu and a staff member will be in touch with you.

Below is a summary of the requests and outcomes from the group of students who requested on-campus housing.

  • 232 Requests for On-Campus Housing
    • 208 Approved (90%)
      • Includes 4 students who submitted an appeal that was accepted
    • 24 Not Approved (10%)
      • 12 first year students, including 6 incoming international students who are not able to travel to the US due to visa rules pertaining to new students currently outside of the US.
      • 12 sophomores and juniors

We are currently working with 58 students — including seniors — in the second category above who are experiencing hardship and who feel that they absolutely cannot live on-campus or at home.


SHARP Update — July 23, 2020

As you know, SHARP was designed to help two groups of students:

  1. Rising sophomores and juniors (and, with rare exception, first years) who wish to request on-campus housing during the fall 2020 semester; and
  2. Students, including seniors, who are experiencing significant hardship and who believe they absolutely cannot live at home and cannot live on campus.

The SHARP application closed at the end of the day on Tuesday, July 21 and we have completed our review of the first group of students. This review was coordinated by a team from across the Chancellor’s Office (David Randall, Jag Patel, Jimmy Doan, and Kate McCarthy) and involved staff from the Division of Student Life (DSL) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC). They worked in consultation with the Faculty Chairs of the Committee on Student Life and the Committee on Academic Performance, who thoroughly reviewed the limited number of requests that were not approved. Student representatives from the UA, UA COVID Student Support Committee, CASE, and the First Generation Program were a critical support to students throughout this process. Below is a summary of the requests and outcomes from the first group of students we reviewed.

  • 217 Requests for On-Campus Housing
    • 191 Approved (88%)
    • 26 Not Approved (12%)
      • 11 first year students, including international students and incoming international transfer students, due to visa rules pertaining to new students currently outside of the US.
      • 15 sophomores and juniors

We are currently working with 54 students - including seniors - in the second category above who are experiencing hardship and who feel that they absolutely cannot live on-campus or at home.

Students who did not submit a SHARP request who feel that they are experiencing hardship with housing for the fall semester can email fall2020-sharp@mit.edu to connect with a member of the SHARP team.


The Student Housing Assistance Review Process (SHARP) is designed to help two groups of students:

  • Rising sophomores and juniors who wish to request on-campus housing during the fall 2020 semester; and
  • Students, including seniors, who are experiencing significant hardship and who believe they absolutely cannot live at home and cannot live on campus.

As a general rule, incoming first-year students will not be considered for on-campus housing except in cases of significant hardship. This is because there will be no on-campus orientation in the fall and first-years won't have the benefit of all of the social interaction and on-campus support that is part of a typical MIT fall. As a result, first-year students would experience challenges trying to navigate MIT on their own. Even so, if you are a first-year student and feel you are in a situation that makes it important for you to be on campus, please submit a request through SHARP.

The intent of this process is to assist students who are in need, based on the criteria below. SHARP is not intended for students who simply want to be at MIT or who simply want to live nearby, off-campus. Students should know that life at MIT will be very different than it was at the start of the 2019 fall semester. And students should know that, in order to be a responsible neighbor and to better protect public health in the Greater Cambridge and Boston areas, MIT is not encouraging undergraduate students to return to the area unless they are among the groups of students invited to live on-campus in the fall.

If you are considering submitting a request for housing assistance, please thoroughly review the resources on this page and consider seriously whether your situation meets these criteria. Decisions about housing assistance will be aligned with public health guidance and the criteria that guide this process. If your situation does not meet the criteria, we ask that you refrain from applying.

Overview and Process


SHARP is coordinated by a team from across the Chancellor’s Office (David Randall, Jag Patel, Jimmy Doan, and Kate McCarthy) and involves staff from the Division of Student Life (DSL) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC). They will work in consultation with the Faculty Chairs of the Committee on Student Life and the Committee on Academic Performance. Student representatives from the UA, UA COVID Student Support Committee, CASE, and the First Generation Program were instrumental in developing the criteria and principles for this process and the resources to reduce worry and anxiety throughout the process.

SHARP will open on Friday, July 17, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EST and remain open until Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Students will receive an email on Friday, July 17 with a link to the application. All requests will be acknowledged and questions will be answered as quickly as possible. We ask that students check your email and respond promptly if a SHARP team member contacts you with any questions or to request more information. The SHARP team may also work with you to think about alternative options for your individual situation.

Only student support professionals on the SHARP team and those directly involved in managing the process will have access to the information you share. They will not share information with individuals outside of the review process. They may consult with appropriate offices (e.g., Disability and Access Services, Student Financial Services, International Students Office, Office of Minority Education, Student Support Services, Housing & Residential Services) to make sure their decisions are well informed.

We will try our best to send decisions out by the end of the week. Although we know students will want decisions quickly, you should not expect to hear a decision until after SHARP closes. (Please note that it is possible more complex cases may take longer to work through with the individual student seeking assistance). We encourage all students to use the resources described below while you await a decision.

Students whose applications are not approved will be able to appeal the decision if they choose. Appeals will be reviewed by the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and Vice President and Dean for Student Life. Please keep in mind that space on campus is finite, and the number of appeals that can be granted is limited.

Eligibility Criteria


This is the eligibility criteria for students who cannot live at home*.

  1. Students currently in short-term arrangements or on-campus emergency housing who cannot return home due to travel restrictions, circumstances in their home state/country, or circumstances of their home life
  2. Students who have home environments that significantly impair remote learning
  3. Students who have no other place to live or for whom being at home would be unsafe given the circumstances of their country or home life

*If you cannot live at home based on the above criteria but you also believe that you cannot live on-campus, the SHARP team will work with you to learn more about why living on-campus is not a viable option for you.

Resources for Students


We know the decision to submit a request through SHARP is very personal. So, student representatives on the SHARP Advisory Group have developed the resources below to help students make the most informed decision possible.

  • Campus Life Video: This video was published by UA COVID-19 about life on campus over Summer 2020 and provides some valuable insight into what current campus life looks like now and may be like this fall.
  • Decision Consideration Flowchart: This flowchart summarizes the resources available to potential applicants before requesting on-campus housing assistance through SHARP.
  • Self-Assessment: This tool can help you reflect on your situation and make an informed decision about applying for on-campus housing. This assessment is for your eyes only and is solely meant to serve as a framework for your decision and to connect you to applicable resources, if needed.
  • SHARP Peer Consultants: Students on the SHARP Advisory Group are available to have one-on-one conversations and answer questions about SHARP or share decision-making resources with students.

Frequently Asked Questions (will be updated as needed)


Many of your questions might be answered here in general fall 2020 FAQs.


You will be able to live on-campus for the duration of the fall semester, which for in-person/on-campus instruction ends on November 20, 2020.

You will be expected to depart campus at Thanksgiving. However, if you cannot leave campus you will be able to request to stay.

If you continue to meet the criteria, you will be allowed to submit a request to remain on campus.

Yes, if conditions change. For example, if an effective vaccine or treatment becomes widely available, we may welcome more students back to campus. Likewise, students may be asked to depart campus if there is a severe spike in cases.

You can start by contacting a SHARP Peer Consultant. If you would rather talk with a staff member on the SHARP team, you can email fall2020-sharp@mit.edu (to help expedite getting you a response, please email from your @mit.edu email address).

To better enable physical distancing and to protect the health of individual students and residential communities, doubles, triples, and quads in MIT’s undergraduate residence halls will be converted to singles. You should read the Housing and Dining section of the fall 2020 FAQs to learn more about housing policies and life on-campus.

Rates will be set at the 2020-21 double-room rate for each house, and the total cost will be prorated based on the shortened time on campus. All housing and dining costs will be included in students’ financial aid awards. More information about cost of attendance and financial aid is available from Student Financial Services (SFS).

Anyone who feels they are eligible can request housing assistance through SHARP, regardless of their spring housing status.

Any information shared in the SHARP form can only be accessed by a small number of student life professionals and those directly involved in managing the process. If you are still uncomfortable sharing any information through this request form, you can email fall2020-sharp@mit.edu and a staff member on the SHARP team will respond to you. To help expedite getting you a response, please email from your @mit.edu email address.

Please submit your SHARP form and allow us to review it. It’s OK to decline fall housing after you receive more information about financial aid or classes.

As we are seeing in the news, COVID cases are on the rise around the world. Because of this, we are not able to prioritize students from these areas returning to campus.

Absolutely! You can find a comprehensive list of resources here. If you have concerns about finding a medical doctor or mental health clinician where you live, please contact MIT Medical who can assist with making referrals.