Nov 29, 2022  
2021-2022 Student Handbook 
    
2021-2022 Student Handbook

Student Housing Requirements and Policies


 


General Residence Hall Policies

Residence hall living provides students the opportunity to further individual educational development through social interaction with fellow students. The college maintains its residence halls in the belief that the experience in group living and self‑discipline which they afford is wholesome, contributes to academic achievement, and helps materially in the development of a mature responsible person.  Additionally, the college reserves the right to refuse, change, or cancel housing assignments in the interest of order, health, safety, or discipline.

The welfare of all students living in the residence halls makes it necessary for each individual to observe those principles generally accepted as proper for group living.  Questions concerning residence hall policy will be answered by the Dean of Student Services Big Spring and the Dean of Student Affairs SWCD each of whom is authorized to administer residence hall policies and procedures. All residents are encouraged to bring suggestions to the attention of those in authority, whose desire is to create and maintain in the college residence facilities, the best possible conditions for the optimum development of individual personality with a minimum of artificial restriction on individual freedom. The Residence Hall Supplement to the Student Handbook outlines specific residence hall policies and procedures.

Reasonable Accommodations

Howard College recognizes the importance of providing reasonable accommodations in its housing policies and practices where necessary for individuals with disabilities to use and enjoy College housing. This Policy explains the specific requirements and guidelines which govern requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing. Howard College reserves the right to amend this policy at any time as circumstances require.

Procedure for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation

The campus Office of Accessibility Services (“Accessibility Services”) is responsible for evaluating whether to grant or deny requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing. In evaluating the request, the Campus Accessibility Services Coordinator will consult with the lead student services official at the respective site (Dean of Student Services, Big Spring Campus; Director of Student Services, SWCD) and the District Accessibility Services Coordinator, as necessary, to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary and reasonable. Individuals with a disability who reside or intend to reside in College housing who believe they need a reasonable accommodation must contact the Campus Accessibility Services Coordinator.

Requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing policies and practices are governed by the following requirements:

1.  Requesting a Housing Accommodation

An individual with a disability must complete the “Disability Housing Accommodation Request Form” (the “Request Form”) to request a reasonable accommodation. Copies of the Request Form are available from Accessibility Services.  If the individual requires assistance in completing the Request Form because of his/her disability, Accessibility Services will aid in completing the form.

Howard College will accept and consider requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing at any time.  The individual making the request for accommodation should complete and provide the Request Form to Accessibility Services as soon as practicably possible before moving into College housing. However, if the request for accommodation is made fewer than 60 days before the individual intends to move into College housing, Howard College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the first semester or term of occupancy.

If the need for the accommodation arises when an individual already resides in College housing, he/she should contact Accessibility Services and complete the Request Form as soon as possible. Howard College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received.

Absent exceptional circumstances, the College will attempt to provide a written response to a reasonable accommodation request within fourteen business days of receiving the information described in paragraph 2 below.

2. Information that May Be Requested for Housing-Related Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Accessibility Services shall limit its requests for information to only the information necessary to verify whether the individual making the request has a disability and/or to evaluate if the reasonable accommodation is necessary to provide the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing.

Obvious Disability: If the individual’s disability and the necessity for the accommodation are obvious (e.g. an individual with a physical disability using a wheelchair needs an accessible room), the individual need only explain what type of accommodation he/she is requesting. No verification of disability and/or necessity is required under these circumstances. 

Non-Obvious Disability/Necessity: If the disability is obvious but the need for the accommodation is not obvious, the College may require the individual to complete the Reasonable Accommodation Verification Form for College Housing (“Verification Form”) and designate a reliable third party who can verify that the requested accommodation is necessary to provide the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing, but may not seek information about the individual’s disability.

If the disability and necessity for the accommodation are not obvious, Accessibility Services will require the individual to complete the Verification Form and designate a reliable third party who can verify that the individual has a disability and that the requested accommodation is necessary to provide the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing.

A reliable third party is someone who is familiar with the individual’s disability and the necessity for the requested accommodation. A reliable third-party includes, but is not limited to, a doctor or other medical professional, a peer support group, or a non-medical service agency (e.g., National Association of the Deaf).

Absent exceptional circumstances, within seven (7) business days of receiving the completed Verification Form from the third-party, the Campus Accessibility Services Coordinator will determine if the accommodation is necessary because of a disability to provide the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing.

If the third party returns the Verification Form without sufficient information for Accessibility Services to determine whether an accommodation is necessary, the Campus Accessibility Services Coordinator will inform the individual in writing of the verification’s insufficiency and may request additional information, including speaking directly with the individual supplying the third-party verification, within seven (7) business days of receiving the verification.

The individual making the request for accommodation must cooperate with Accessibility Services in a timely manner in providing all information needed to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary.

3. Determination of Reasonableness

Accessibility Services may deny the requested accommodation if it is unreasonable. Accessibility Services shall consult with Student Services to determine if implementing the requested accommodation is reasonable.

An accommodation is unreasonable if it: (1) imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden; (2) fundamentally alters College housing policies; (3) poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including College property; and/or (4) is otherwise unreasonable to the operation of the College.

4. Approval of Accommodation

If Accessibility Services determines a requested accommodation is necessary and is not unreasonable, it will contact the individual, in writing, within seven (7) business days of its determination, to arrange a meeting to discuss the implementation of the accommodation.

5. Denial of Accommodation/Appeal

If Accessibility Services determines a requested accommodation is necessary but unreasonable, Accessibility Services will contact the individual, in writing, within seven (7) business days of its determination and engage in an interactive process with the individual to determine if there are alternative accommodations that might effectively meet the individual’s disability-related needs.

If the individual is unwilling to accept any alternative accommodation offered by Accessibility Services or there are no alternative accommodations available, Accessibility Services will provide a verbal explanation and written notification to the individual of the denial, the reasons for the denial, the right to appeal the decision, and the procedures for that appeals process. The notification shall be in writing and made within seven (7) business days of the notification from the individual of his/her unwillingness to accept any of the alternative accommodations offered or the determination that there are no alternative accommodations available.

Appeals should be submitted to the Administrative Dean of Instruction and Student Services on the Big Spring Campus or to the Dean of Academic Services at SWCD. The student will be notified in writing of the decisions regarding the appeal within seven (7) business days.

6. Confidentiality and Recordkeeping

In processing requests for reasonable accommodations, the College will take all steps required by federal, state, and/or local law to protect the confidentiality of any information or documentation disclosed in connection with the requests. Such measures may include limiting access to such information to individuals specifically designated to determine and implement requests for reasonable accommodations, who will disclose the information only to the extent necessary to determine whether to grant the request, determine if the request is unreasonable, and implement any request granted, keeping all written requests and accompanying documentation in a secure area to which only those designated individuals have access, except as otherwise required by law.

7. Non-retaliation Provision

Howard College will not retaliate against any individual because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in College housing.

Schedule

Residence Halls are open during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.  Please contact the Residence Hall Director for move-in and move-out dates for each term.  Special arrangements to live in the Residence Hall during mini sessions or Holidays are handled on a case by case basis.  Please contact the Residence Hall Director for more information. 

Holidays

Residence halls are closed during the Winter Break and Spring Break and residents are expected to vacate the residence halls. Please contact a Residence Hall Director for closure details and dates. The college is not responsible for any personal belongings which are left in rooms.

Residency Requirements and Exceptions

  1. All non-Howard County students enrolled at Howard College Big Spring or SWCD in 12 hours or more are required to live in college residence halls unless they meet one of the exemptions established.  Release from living in the Residence Halls is not automatic.  All students meeting one of the exemptions and wishing to live off campus must submit a completed Request for Exemption Form to the Dean Student Services (on the Big Spring campus) or the SWCD Dean of Student Affairs (on the SWCD campus) prior to making arrangements to live off campus:

a.    Completed 30 or more semester hours of postsecondary education;

b.    Living with blood relative;

c.    Married;

d.    Job requires them to live at the place of their employment;

e.    Health or emotional reasons;

f.     Housing is filled;

g.    21 years of age or older;

h.    Extenuating circumstances which would result in ex­treme hardship for the student to live in a residence hall.

  1. Students enrolled in less than 12 hours who wish to live in the residence halls must gain approval from the Dean of Student Services.
  2. Permission from the SWCD Dean of Student Services is required for students who want to reside in the residence halls for the third year to complete their studies.

Board Requirements and Exceptions

Students living in the residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan. Students requiring a special diet must take a physician‑prescribed food list to the Director of Food Service to determine if the cafeteria can provide meals within the diet. Approved diets are provided for students at no extra charge. Those residents with special religious dietary requirements are given as much consideration as possible.  Students requesting a Board Exemption should submit a written request to the Dean of Student Services (on the Howard College Big Spring campus) or the SWCD Dean of Student Affairs (on the SWCD campus). A doctor’s excuse and a physician‑prescribed food list must be turned in with the request.

Contract and Residency Information

The student leases a space in the residence hall for the academic year (9 months) and may extend the contract to include each or all of the summer sessions. Residence hall rent does not include intervals between spring and summer semesters, summer sessions, summer and fall semesters, and fall and spring semesters.

The contract period for students entering the college after the beginning of a semester will be for the remainder of the nine months (academic year) or contracted summer session(s). Once a student has checked into his/her assigned room, and later moves out of the residence hall the room rent is not refundable.

Any student wishing to move from the residence halls should consult the Residence Hall Contract for the provisions applicable to cancellation of the contract.  Authorization for residency exemption does not relieve the student of contractual obligations, which may have been assumed with the college for housing in the residence halls.  If a student wishes to be released from the Residence Hall Contract, the following procedures apply:

  1. Students must complete the cancellation request form at the Student Services Office.
  2. Cancellation of the contract may result in additional charges and/or forfeiture of the advance payment.  Specific cancellations dates and charges are listed in the Residence Hall Contract.

Reservation Information

An application for a room reservation may be secured by sending a request to the Student Services Office. Upon completion of the application, the student must return the application with a $100.00 room deposit. Students are encouraged to reserve a room as early as possible since space is limited. If the student does not claim the assigned housing accommodation by 8:00 a.m. on the first day of class of each semester, the contract will be voided and the deposit will be forfeited.

Room Assignments

College officials will assign roommates once the application and deposit have been received. The college will make every effort to honor the student’s request with regard to preference of roommate, room and wing but does not guarantee assignments to types of accommodations, specific rooms, roommates or single rooms.

Residence Hall Cost

Residence hall cost is detailed in the college Catalog which can be found here.

Consolidation Process

The housing contract is for a space in college facilities; it is not for a specific room.  The College sometimes finds that it has a number of rooms, where for various reasons only one resident is occupying the double occupancy room.  To best utilize space, the College implements a consolidation process during the first six weeks of each long semester.  Students who lose a roommate must either consolidate with another student or pay the single room fee.