Residence Life Handbook

Residence Hall Agreement

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Special Note:  MSM reserves the right to alter the terms of this agreement with reasonable notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or in accordance with government mandates.


The Housing Agreement is agreed to by each student on the Housing Application when applying for housing each year. Please make a copy for your records. 

Consistent with the MSM Equal Employment and Educational Opportunity Policy, all students shall have equal opportunity and access to facilities in any phase of school activity without regard to gender, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, disability, or sexual orientation. Extra and cocurricular opportunities, residential life, educational, social, cultural, and academic programs are available to all students on an equal basis.

The Manhattan School of Music (“MSM”) and student seeking to reside in MSM housing (“Student”) enter into this legally binding Residence Hall Agreement (also referred to as “Contract” or “contract”). The Student is responsible for fulfilling all obligations under this Residence Hall Agreement, including all financial obligations, for the entire Contract Period (defined below).


Residence in MSM housing brings with it many benefits as well as certain legal obligations and responsibilities. This document constitutes the agreement (the “Contract”) between the Student and MSM. By the Student’s submission of this Contract to MSM, the Student is accepting and agreeing to comply with the terms and conditions of the Contract, and with all MSM policies and procedures. Submission of this Contract electronically via MSM’s housing application shall have the same legal force and effect as if the Contract had been physically signed and submitted by mail or in person. The Contract, including other material incorporated by link or reference, is subject to change as deemed necessary by MSM without prior notice.

The Office of Residence Life determines housing eligibility. Enrolling for fewer than 12 credits is not grounds for termination of this contract. If the student is under age 18, his/her parent or legal guardian must become a party to this agreement by signing it as evidence of accepting responsibility, and thereby agreeing to perform the student’s obligation thereunder and specifically agreeing to pay all fees, charges, damages, and other monies due the School.

The student alone shall personally occupy, for the full academic year, such accommodations as are assigned to him/her and agrees not to sublet, assign, or otherwise transfer such accommodations.

All Students are expected to activate and use their assigned Manhattan School of Music e-mail account. Contractual correspondence will take place via the Manhattan School of Music e-mail assigned to the Student and the Student is considered duly notified upon transmission of information by MSM.

Personal Responsibility & Insurance

The School is not liable for the loss of money, clothing, or other valuables or for the loss or damage to property belonging to, or in the custody of, the student for any cause whatsoever; nor for any personal goods stored in residence hall facilities including, but not limited to, student rooms, practice rooms, public areas, or elsewhere. The student specifically agrees to be liable for damages or other loss incurred to the building, room, furniture, and equipment that is not the result of ordinary wear and tear. Damage within the student rooms is the responsibility of the students assigned. Damages and messes that occur to common areas (e.g., restrooms, lounges, practice rooms, elevators, hallways, etc.) that are not attributable or chargeable to a specific individual or group shall be equally shared by the residents of the living area where those damages occur. The student agrees to pay Manhattan School of Music upon demand for such damage or mess. All property belonging to the School must not be moved or taken from the areas designated for their specific use. Students are encouraged to obtain personal property insurance, as the School accepts no responsibility for any theft, loss, or damage to student property. This includes but is not limited to, loss by fire, water, or malfunctions of electrical and mechanical systems.

Student Liability

The Student agrees to accept responsibility and be held accountable for his or her actions, for proper use and care of the residence hall, dining facilities, assigned space, common areas, and all other MSM property, and for the actions of his or her guest(s). The host should ensure that guests comply with all MSM Policies and Residence Hall Regulations.

MSM’s Duty to Provide Habitable Residence

MSM cannot guarantee against temporary failures of utility systems or defects caused by ordinary wear and tear. Instead, MSM’s duty is limited to the exercise of best efforts to provide clean and safe lodging for students with utilities in good working order. Every effort will be made to complete maintenance in a timely manner.

Credits or rebates of housing charges are not given to students when maintenance or pest control is being done to the student rooms. Students may be moved to available vacancies in on-campus housing either on a temporary or permanent basis if available. Students who are reassigned on a permanent basis are required to pay the cost of the assigned space.

Contract Binding

Continuing Student: Continuing students who apply during Housing Selection and are assigned a room are bound by the terms of the Residence Hall Agreement 5 business days after receiving their housing assignment. This includes required students (rising sophomores) and non-required students (juniors, seniors, second year graduate students, professional study and doctoral students.)

New & Returning Students: Newly admitted students and previously enrolled students returning for a new degree program (MA/PS/AD/DMA) are bound by the terms of the residence hall agreement 5 business days after receiving their housing assignment. This includes required students (freshman and sophomores) and non-required students (juniors, seniors, first year MA/PS/AD/DMA).

Waitlisted/Late Applicants:  Students who apply after provided deadlines or placed on a wait list are bound by the terms of the residence hall agreement 5 business days after receiving their housing assignment. This includes non-required students (juniors, seniors, first year MA/PS/AD/DMA, continuing MA/DMA, and previously enrolled students returning for a new degree program, typically MA/PS/AD/DMA).

After the fifth business day, the Student is obligated to pay all applicable housing charges for the Contract Period as established by the Board of Trustees and as set forth in MSM policies. Student may request release from the contract through the process and conditions specified below. The contract remains binding and the Student continues to be responsible for all financial obligations while a decision is being rendered by the Office of Residence Life. Failure to pick up a key will not release Student from the Contract.

Late Housing Application

Students applying after the published deadlines will be placed on the wait list pending available vacancies.

Contract Request for Release

All requests for release from the Contract must be submitted via the Housing Exemption form to Office of Residence Life with documented proof of the circumstances related to the release request. If these circumstances change after Student is released from the Contract, the release will become invalid and Student will again be obligated to the terms of the Student Residence Hall Agreement.

Students may not request release from the Contract based on disciplinary action. See Request for Release Ineligibility section of this Contract.

Typical Releases

A student will typically be released from the Contract with no release fees when proof of one of the following circumstances is submitted to Office of Residence Life: (1) Graduation, (2) Involvement in MSM-sponsored academic programs such as study abroad.

Special Circumstance Releases

A student may also request release from the Contract with supporting documentation for one of the following special circumstances: (1) Approved medical, psychological, or disability need that cannot be accommodated on-campus, or (2) Required caretaker for dependents, or (3) Marriage, (4) Voluntary official withdrawal or approved leave of absence from MSM. Under these circumstances, if the request is made after the first day of classes and a release is granted, students will be entitled to the same refund percentage received for tuition. If the request is made before the fall move in date and the release is granted, students will be charged an additional $500 in release fees.

These requests for release will be acted upon by Office of Residence Life following consultation with appropriate offices and necessary verification of information provided. Decisions are made solely on the basis of the documentation submitted, and whether the justification for release meets acceptable circumstances.

Other Releases, subject to Contract Release Fees

All releases are approved at the discretion of Office of Residence Life. If approved, the student will incur an additional contract release fee according to the schedule below.

Continuing Student

Dates Fees
Contract start date through June 1 $500 release fee.
June 1 through August 1 25% of Fall housing charges
August 1 through Move in Day 50% of Fall housing charges
After Move in Day 100% of Fall housing charges

New Students and Students Returning for a New Degree Program

Dates Fees
Contract start date through August 1 25% of Fall housing charges
August 1 through Move in Day 50% of Fall housing charges
After Move in Day 100% of Fall housing charges

All Students – Requesting Release from the Spring Semester 

The housing contract is binding for the full academic year. Students requesting release from their spring semester housing are responsible for 100% of spring housing charges.

Students who have been released from their Contract during the academic year must follow the Vacating at the End of the Term, Academic Year, or Release Date section of this contract. Students who have been released from the Contract after the start of the term will not receive any financial reimbursement for the meal plan.


If a request for release is denied, the student may submit a written appeal to the Dean of Students. The appeal and all appropriate documentation must be submitted within five business days of the date of the original decision. A student whose request for release is denied is responsible for the cost of the assigned space and the applicable dining charge through the remainder of the academic year even if they choose to vacate the assigned room and live elsewhere.

Request for Release Ineligibility

If a student is suspended from the residence hall, the student remains bound to the Contract and will be responsible for the full cost of the residence hall space and Dining Services Agreement for the remainder of the academic year even if the space is reassigned.

Contract Period

This contract is legally binding and extends to cover the entire academic year. If a student is approved for release the contract becomes void and the student must vacate the residence hall within 48 hours (see Vacating at the End of the Term, Academic Year, or Release Date).


The Opening and Closing dates and relevant residence check-in dates for Andersen Hall shall be as set forth in the Academic Calendar and posted on the Office of Residence Life website. The student (or his/her possessions) will not be allowed to occupy a room prior to the official opening date or after the official closing date except under the following circumstances:

  • Graduating seniors and other students who are participating in commencement activities may remain on campus, but must vacate by 10:00 a.m. the morning after commencement
  • By special permission from one of the following people: Director of Residence Life or Dean of Students.

Break/Recess Periods

The residence hall is closed during the winter intersession and summer recess and is not included in the housing rate for the academic year. All resident students must vacate Andersen Hall during the winter and summer breaks. International students may apply and pay for housing accommodations during winter session by the stipulated time set by Manhattan School of Music. International Students may register to stay during winter break only if they are a resident during both the fall and spring semesters. Students not returning to Andersen Hall after the fall semester must leave immediately at the conclusion of the fall semester and may not register for any portion of the winter intersession housing. Students entering the residence hall in the spring semester who were not residents in the fall may not register for any portion of the winter intersession break. All students new to the residence hall for the spring semester will be allowed to move in at a stipulated date and time, prior to the start of the spring semester.

Winter Session Occupancy

Eligible students may register for housing during winter intersession by selecting one of the following options:

  1. Full winter intersession at the rate of $875. Late and cancellation fees may apply.
  2. Full academic year and portion of winter intersession, with one start date and one end date only. The winter intersession rate is $70/day. Late and cancellation fees may apply.

Cancellations of winter intersession or altering dates of stay will only be accepted until the last day of classes of the fall semester and must be approved by the Director of Residence Life. Only students approved by the Office of Residence Life will be allowed to enter the hall during winter break. Guests are not permitted in Andersen Hall during winter break. If housing becomes available during summer recess, there will be a separate housing agreement and an additional cost during this period.

Vacating at the End of the Term, Academic Year, or Release Date

Students are required to vacate, return all keys to the Office of Residence Life and remove all personal belongings from residence hall space within 24 hours of completing their last final examination or by the scheduled closing time, whichever comes first. Graduating seniors may remain in the residence hall until the time designated by Office of Residence Life. Students who have been released from their Contract during the academic year must vacate their residence hall room within 48 hours of the effective date of release. Any room charges paid in excess of the applicable release fee will be credited to the Student’s account.

NOTE: MSM does not accept responsibility for items left in the room after the departure deadline. The room is expected to be clean and in a similar physical condition upon departure as it was for arrival. Removal of abandoned student property, excessive cleaning needs, or damage to MSM property will result in charges being placed on the student’s account.

Vacancies and Room Changes

Students may request to move from one room to another with authorization from Office of Residence Life at designated times during the Academic year. The exchange of rooms or substitution of one occupant for another without approval from Office of Residence Life is prohibited. The procedure for room changes are set forth on the Office of Residence Life website.

To maximize occupancy, Office of Residence Life has the right to consolidate rooms and move students if a vacant same gender space exists elsewhere in the same building in order to create an open room. While efforts are made to notify students of any changes, a new roommate may be assigned without prior notification. Students may not intentionally dissuade or discourage newly assigned roommates from moving into the room. Intimidating a newly assigned student is a policy violation, which can lead to sanctions up to and including termination of the residence hall space without release from the financial obligation of the Contract. MSM reserves the right to change or cancel room assignments in the interests of order, health, safety, or welfare with appropriate written notice.

Compliance with Law, Code of Conduct, and Residence Life Policies

Every student at MSM must comply with all laws (Federal, State, and local) and MSM rules and regulations, including the Contract. Students are expected to know their Rights and Responsibilities and must comply with MSM’s Code of Conduct and all Residence Life Policies. At all times, students must respect the rights and property of all community members in the residence hall, regardless of their background, beliefs, values, or attitudes.

Safety and Security

Security is the responsibility of all students, and students are personally responsible for abiding by the security policies pertaining to residence hall. Actions that compromise the security of residence or living areas will subject the individuals responsible to disciplinary action and related fees. See regulations regarding Keys and Student IDs and the Residence Hall Handbook for more details.


The ability to host guests is a privilege and not a right. Complaints made by a roommate or other resident regarding his/her rights or comfort being infringed upon by guests will be handled on a case by case basis. Manhattan School of Music has the discretion to limit or ban any guest or guest privileges as deemed appropriate.

Host Responsibilities

The resident host is responsible for the actions of their guest and will be held accountable for any inappropriate behavior the guest may engage in while in the residence hall or on the campus. Resident hosts will be responsible for payments of all charges related to the presence of guests in their residence hall.

Weapons and Explosives

Weapons, firearms, firecrackers, explosives, or potentially explosive chemicals or materials, are not permitted in the residence hall at any time. Residents will be responsible for the use of any object used in a violent or dangerous manner. The use or possession of weapons or explosives will result in termination of the residence hall agreement. Authorities and guardians may be contacted in extreme situations at the discretion of MSM.

Commercial Enterprises

Rooms in the residence hall shall be used for study and living purposes only and not as sales rooms, offices, service areas, private studios, or for storage of merchandise. Soliciting, peddling, or the operating of a commercial enterprise out of residence hall are expressly prohibited.

Room Inspection & Entry

Prior to the student’s occupancy of a room, a member of the Residence Life staff will inspect the room. The condition of the room and its furnishings is recorded each summer. The student is responsible for maintaining the room and the furnishings in the condition in which they were found at check in. After check-out, the room will again be inspected and the student charged for any damages (except for normal wear and tear). Residents will also be charged individually and/or collectively for damage caused to public areas of the residence hall including, but not limited to, corridors, recreation rooms, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. The School reserves the right to deny continued housing to any resident who leaves a room or furnishing in a condition unacceptable to Manhattan School of Music. The Manhattan School of Music staff reserve the right to inspect rooms for health, safety, and maintenance concerns on a routine basis.

The School reserves the unconditional right of entry at any time by authorized school representatives, to the room(s) occupied by the student pursuant to this agreement for the purpose of health and safety checks, inspection, establishment of order, repairs, maintenance, inventory correction, cleaning, in case of emergency, or other reasonable purposes. The School reserves the right to inspect a student’s room, packages, handbags, backpacks or the like, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a substance, material, or item is being kept or used on the premises in any manner that is prohibited by law or by the policies, rules, and regulations of the School or could put our community at significant risk. Any such item may be confiscated by the Manhattan School of Music’s representatives without prior notice. Students may not deny access to the School personnel attempting to exercise the School’s rights or to perform the School’s obligations.

Keys/Student IDs

Room keys, building keys, and mailbox keys are the property of the School and are issued by the Residence Life staff at check-in. In the event of a lost key or student ID, a new key or student ID will be issued and the cost of the student ID, lock, and key changes will be added to the Student’s Bill. All keys must be returned to the Residence Life staff at the time of termination in Residence Life or conclusion of the academic year, whichever comes first. Failure to return keys will result in a fee automatically added to the Student’s Bill. Residents may not take or obtain unauthorized or duplicated keys, student IDs, or access cards, install additional locks on doors, or lend keys or student IDs to any individual.

Dining Services Agreement

Students living on campus are required to maintain a full resident dining plan for the duration of the academic year, as defined by the Contract. The remainder of the meal plan not utilized from the fall semester rolls over for use in the spring semester for students returning for the spring semester. The remainder not utilized when a student withdraws or after the end of the spring semester will be forfeited. The contract meal plan costs are not included in the housing costs and are over and above the housing costs.

Use of Fitness Center

The Manhattan School of Music, its officers, directors, employees, volunteers, members, and representatives are not responsible for any injury, loss, or damage sustained by any person while performing activities in the Andersen Hall Fitness Room, including weight training, cardio training, etc., which might be caused by the negligence of the School.

In consideration of my participation in the Activity, I acknowledge that I am aware of the possible risks, dangers, and hazards associated with my participation in the Activity, including the possible risk of severe or fatal injury to myself or others. In return for the School allowing me to voluntarily participate in the Activity, I agree: (1) TO ASSUME AND ACCEPT ALL RISKS arising out of, associated with, or related to my participating in the Activity, even though such risks may have been caused by the negligence of the School; (2) TO BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INJURY, LOSS, OR DAMAGE which I might sustain while participating in the Activity, even though such injury, loss, or damage may have been caused by the negligence of the School


If any term or provision, or any portion thereof, of this Contract is declared invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remainder of this Contract shall not be affected thereby and shall continue to be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Right to Modify

MSM reserves the right to make such modifications in room assignments, facilities and programming and to make such regulations as may be dictated by unforeseen circumstances such as strikes, war, and other emergency or by governmental authority imposing restrictions and/or regulations, related to bearing, weather conditions, economic considerations, fire regulations, or other unusual or unanticipated conditions.

Governing Law

This Contract shall be governed by, and construed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without reference to its conflict of laws principles.

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