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Residency Requirements

The Board of Governers at Southeast Missouri State University requires that all full-time students (enrolled for at least 12 credit hours) live on campus for 2 academic years (4 semesters, excluding summers). The 2-year residency requirement is required of all students, subject to the exemptions listed below. The live-on experience that the Office of Residence Life is committed to providing is an essential part of the educational experience at Southeast Missouri State University. Students are strongly encouraged to contact Residence Life prior to signing any off-campus lease to determine their eligibility to live off campus.


To request an exemption to the residency requirements, please print and complete the Student Residency Release Application form

Please submit your completed Release form to Residence Life at

The Office of Residence Life does not use verbal notification for any residency release decision. You will receive written notification via your Southeast email of the decision regarding your release request. Exemptions may include:

  • 21 years of age or older, prior to the first day of Fall classes.
  • Married and/or the primary caregiver for dependent children (documentation required).
  • Commuting from your parent/legal guardian's permanent home and primary residence within a 50 mile commuting distance of Academic Hall.
  • Have completed 57 credit hours towards a Southeast degree with a minimum 42 of these accepted hours being obtained post high school graduation.
  • Have been enrolled full-time (excluding summers) at a post-secondary institution for 4 semesters, post high school graduation (transcripts may be required).
  • Have resided in the residence halls for 4 semesters (excluding summers).
  • 2nd year academic achievement exemption: completed 30 Southeast credit hours during the first year of living on campus, achieving a 3.25 GPA in those classes, and be in good judicial standing. Transfer, advanced placement, dual enrollment, etc. hours do not count towards the 2nd year academic achievement exemption, only Southeast credit hours taken while living on campus will be applied for this exemption.
  • Attending classes exclusively at a Southeast Regional Campus or taking classes through an exclusively online degree program.
  • Veteran of military service: military veteran having served one year of active duty military service, post Initial Entry Training (IET), DD214 (long) required.
  • Financial Hardship
    • The following are examples of reasons for financial hardship that may be granted (documentation required): loss of primary provider's income due to death, catastrophic health issues, natural disasters, or bankruptcy.
    • Frequently cited, but rarely granted reasons for requesting a financial hardship –
      • Already signed a lease: students who sign leases off campus without having received a release decision in writing from Residence Life will still be responsible for fulfilling the on-campus housing requirement. Do not sign a lease unless you have received a decision, in writing, from Residence Life that you are permitted to live off campus.
      • Financial savings: requests for residing off campus for potential financial savings is not a valid reason for a financial hardship.

Medical Exemptions

Please note that Residence Life is able to accommodate many students on campus with a variety of medical needs. A request for exemption is not guaranteed if Residence Life can accommodate your situation on campus.

Allergies or Asthma

Many students come to campus with allergies, asthma, or some other type of chronic health problem and other students develop allergies after they arrive. If an accommodation is needed, please contact Residence Life and/or the Center for Behavioral Health and Accessibility.

Students requesting an exemption citing medical needs related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must begin by submitting the Medical Accommodation Application form.

Applicants requesting an exemption based on this criterion must provide information from the attending physician stating the specific verifiable condition for which it is medically necessary for the student to be released and why. The burden of providing necessary documentation and evidence to support an accommodation request rests with the student.

Any student providing false, inaccurate, or misleading information as a basis in an accommodation request or a residency release form will be held accountable through any and all appropriate Residence Life, Student Conduct, civil, and criminal systems.


(573) 651-2274
Towers Complex 102

Office of Residence Life
One University Plaza, MS 0055
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701