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Allocations Policy

Purpose Statement

To set out clearly for staff, students and others, the University’s approach to processing applications for accommodation, with a view to achieving consistency, fairness, and transparency.


This policy applies to applications made by students to Newcastle University for residential accommodation that is owned or managed by one of the following:

  • The University
  • A private provider of purpose-built student accommodation by arrangement with the University (managed partnership)
  • Other private providers of purpose-built student accommodation

Who may apply for accommodation?

After the University offers someone a place to study on a course, the University will inform that person how, and when, they can use the accommodation application portal. Anyone with an offer of tuition from the University may apply for accommodation. Places in accommodation are subject to availability, with people eligible under our guarantee being given priority.  

The University accepts applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy, and maternity.

Choice and availability

Students applying to live with us should expect to live with people from a variety of cultures, religions, and backgrounds and respect the diversity of our community.

The University aims to match applicants to the accommodation that they request, but due to availability and demand, this is not always possible.  If an applicant’s choices are not available, the University will try to offer a close match based on a combination of room type, preferred location and price. 

Depending on the volume of applications we receive, it may be necessary for us to source additional accommodation in the surrounding area which may not previously have been advertised.

How to apply

Applications are encouraged through the Accommodation Services online portal. Applicants who are unable to use the portal may contact the Allocations Team at or by telephone at 0191 208 3333.

The application process will depend on:

  • academic status at the time of application
  • application type (eg single, couple or family)
  • if the applicant is covered by the guarantee
  • if an applicant requires a ‘specialist allocation’

There are two ways to make an application:

Submit an Application - if an applicant’s place to study at Newcastle University is dependent on receiving exam results or meeting other conditions (i.e. their academic status is conditional or insurance); or they are not covered under the accommodation guarantee, they will be invited to submit an application via the accommodation portal.

In their application, they will register an interest in three accommodation options. They should consider their choices carefully, to ensure they apply for the accommodation that is most likely to suit their requirements.

Applications for single undergraduates will be processed following A-Level Results Day (17 August 2023), and applications for single postgraduates will be processed from 1 August 2023.  Applications are not processed on a first-come, first-served basis. At the time of processing, each application will be awarded a random computer-generated number and we will allocate in ascending order.

Book Now - will be available to students who have an academic status of ‘Unconditional Firm’ at the time of applying and meet the other conditions of the accommodation guarantee.

Book Now will be available until 30 June, with a variable rate of 20% - 40% of each University residence being made available during this time. Rooms may be released in stages up until 30 June depending on demand. Managed partnership accommodation will not be available to ‘Book Now’ due to the contract acceptance process.

If an eligible student chooses to ‘Book Now’, they will be able to choose their accommodation immediately. They will not be able to amend their accommodation and they will have limited circumstances in which they can cancel.

If an eligible student does not want to ‘Book Now’ or a preferred room option is unavailable, they are able to submit an application which will be processed following A-Level Results Day (17 August 2023) for undergraduates, or 1 August 2023 for postgraduate students, when the remaining rooms are released for allocation.

We are unable to offer ‘Book Now’ to students that require adjustments/adaptations to their bedroom as they require a specialist allocation where a suitable room will be identified.

Specialist allocations

Special procedures apply to students who require certain types of accommodation.

Students with medical needs - students who need reasonable adjustments to be made to their accommodation, or require specific facilities (i.e. an en suite), are invited to make their needs known at the point of application. To ensure that students are allocated to rooms that are best suited to their needs, Accommodation Services will ask for medical evidence or opinion. Students will not be given priority for specific accommodation over other applicants unless they inform us of their needs at the point of application. The University can only consider the applicant’s medical needs if they notify Accommodation Services of their requirements in good time – ideally when first applying.

The University will not discriminate against students who need adapted accommodation or need further reasonable adjustments, nor will we discriminate against students who need to have a carer living with them.  The University is not under any obligation to make alterations to meet all a student’s requirements – only those which are reasonable.

Clearing students with medical needs – due to the timeline of processing applications, we may have limited availability for Clearing students.  Rooms with adaptations are limited and it is important for any student applying through Clearing to contact the Accommodation Services once they have received their offer to study from the University.

Care experienced/Estranged students – applications from care experienced and estranged students will be received as outlined in ‘How to Apply’. Priority will be given to these students for alcohol free accommodation if the Accommodation Service is made aware of this request at the point of application. Additionally, we’ll aim to allocate care experienced and estranged students to one of their preferences, where possible.

We can offer continuous accommodation contracts over the summer period for students that require this option; however, a room move may be required due to summer works. Additionally, summer storage for personal belongings can be arranged if required.

LGBTQ+ students – students are not expected to inform Accommodation Services of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. We aim to ensure that all University-owned and managed-partnership accommodation is a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place for everyone. However, we understand that people in the LGBTQ+ community may require a priority allocation for a certain wash type, or gender sharing preference in order to feel safe and secure. If appropriate, applicants should contact us at to discuss this further. Applications will be received as outlined in ‘How to Apply’.

Under 18s – students whose 18th birthday falls after the commencement of their tenancy will be subject to the Under 18s Policy. Applications from under 18s will be received as outlined in ‘How to Apply’. Priority for accommodation organised through the University will be given to this group even where they do not meet the accommodation guarantee. Students who are under 18 will be allocated with students that are over 18.

Students with a partner and/or children - there are a limited number of places available for couples without children and for families with children. Due to availability, we are unable to guarantee accommodation to this type of applicant. Where we can allocate suitable accommodation, contracts will be for one academic year only. For expediency, applications will be processed in time received order from June onwards, therefore family and couple applicants should submit their application as soon as possible. Applications will only be processed if the applicant is an unconditional firm offer holder.


A timeline of when we expect applications to be processed can be found on our website.

This is a guide to help applicants understand when they will likely hear from us with an offer of accommodation. These timings are subject to change. Applicants are responsible for monitoring their emails and actioning any offers of accommodation within the given deadline.

Open Day flats

Within our portfolio, we have a number of flats that we use for Open Days to enable prospective students to view the accommodation. The accommodation contract usually ends earlier than our standard 40 week contract, although the contract will still cover the full teaching period. In addition, weekend access will be required for two Open Days in the Autumn term (September-November).

Every student that is allocated to an Open Day flat will be notified at the accommodation offer stage. If the room offer is not suitable, they are able to contact Accommodation Services for an alternative offer dependent on availability.

All students that are allocated to these types of flats will be financially compensated for the inconvenience.


Once a student has accepted an accommodation offer, there are only limited circumstances in which the application can be cancelled.  Where valid cancellations are made, the accommodation will be re-allocated according to this policy. This may occasionally mean that a student from a priority category is not offered one of their choices of residence, but a student applying at a later date is offered a place in one of these residences.

Changing your accommodation offer

Once an application has been processed, and a student has been offered a room, it is not usually possible to change this unless a procedural irregularity has occurred. All offers are made within the parameters of our accommodation guarantee, namely the provision of a bedroom within our portfolio, not necessarily a bedroom of choice.

When contacting the University to discuss room allocations, applicants are reminded that all communication needs to be in line with the Student Charter and Behavioural Code of Conduct.  Our colleagues work hard to support our students and therefore aggressive, abusive or offensive language to our team will not be tolerated.  We expect our colleagues to be treated with the courtesy, dignity, and respect they deserve.  Employees of the University, whose family members plan on attending University will not be given any preferential treatment in regard to room allocation.

Appendix 1. – Accommodation guarantees

Offers made under our guarantee may be in University accommodation or in purpose-built accommodation owned or managed by a private provider.  The University does not guarantee to match the applicant’s preferences.

Offers of accommodation under this guarantee are time limited. The University will not guarantee accommodation unless the applicant accepts their accommodation offer within the stipulated deadline.

New student guarantee

The University guarantees to make an offer of accommodation to individual students who meet the following criteria:

  • The student must be about to start their first year of an undergraduate or taught postgraduate course in Newcastle (PG research students are excluded)
  • The student’s programme of study must be for at least one full academic year
  • The student must have applied for a full academic year’s accommodation by 31 July in the year that their course begins
  • Newcastle University must be the student’s firm choice by 31 July
  • Postgraduate students must have met the terms of their academic offer by 31 July in the year that their course begins

Clearing and insurance guarantee

The University guarantees to make an offer of accommodation to Clearing and Insurance students who meet all the following criteria:

  • You are enrolled on your course for the full academic year
  • You are joining us in accommodation for the full academic year
  • You are in the first year of your degree programme
  • You have had your place confirmed by Newcastle University following your UCAS application
  • You have applied for accommodation by 28 August 2023

Appendix 2 - Non-guaranteed students

Students who are not eligible for the accommodation guarantee may still apply for accommodation. The University will use this policy to determine the order in which non-guaranteed applications are processed.

(a) Returning students – subject to recruitment targets, a number of rooms may be reserved for returners. however, this is not guaranteed. Returners must not have any rent arrears or other serious breaches of their existing tenancy agreements. Returning students will be contacted during the second term of their tenancy to express an interest in returning

(b) Late applicants – students who applied or made Newcastle University their ‘firm choice’ after 31 July, but otherwise met all other conditions of the guarantee, will be classed as late applicants and will be processed after all guaranteed students and those from category a) have been made offers

(c) Semester and other part-year students – applications are not processed unless there are vacant rooms still available after meeting the accommodation guarantee and after processing applications from categories a) and b)

(d) Suspended students — applications from students who suspended after the first term in a previous year are not processed unless there are rooms still available after meeting the accommodation guarantee and after processing applications from categories a), b) and c)

Distance learners – applications from students participating in distance learning who do not come to campus until semester two are considered alongside semester and part-year students.

Reviewed: March 2023
Review date: January 2024
Policy owner: Senior Management Team, Accommodation Services