Northfield Option FAQs

What are the Carleton Community Standards referred to in the Northfield Option policy?

Carleton Community Standards are included in the Student Handbook. Carleton affords students the opportunity to learn about life, to challenge their own values and the ideas and values of others, and, in so doing, to become responsible members of the College community. While the College imposes no specific moral standard or creed on its students, each student is responsible for living up to the values cited above and the policies, rules, and regulations detailed below. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

The expectations, rules and regulations for Carleton College students and the policies detailed below pertain to students on and off campus, while participating in College programs and activities, domestic or international. Student behavior occurring anywhere other than on property owned or rented by Carleton will be of concern to the College if, in the judgment of the Dean of Students, there is sufficient information to determine that the behavior alleged would adversely and seriously affect the student's suitability as a member of the College community.

When any violation of College policy, rule or regulation is motivated by intolerance or hate directed toward an individual or group based on characteristics such as race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or political or religious belief, the sanction administered by the appropriate administrative officer or hearing board will be increased in severity and may include separation from the College.

Please see the Student Handbook for specific details.

Does the College help me find housing and/or inspect the houses?

No, students accepting Northfield Option assume full responsibility for their housing arrangements. There is, however, a listing of rental properties available on our website. Carleton College does not inspect or approve any non-College-owned housing. Additionally, Carleton College:

  • Advises students to ask landlords for a copy of a valid inspection report to insure the property is safe and meets all local codes.
  • Encourages students to request a copy of the Rental License (which assures the apartment is inspected every three years) from the landlord. If they are unable to secure a copy from the owner, please contact the Northfield Building Inspector (507-645-3004, 801 Washington St., Northfield, MN 55057).
  • Encourages students to read the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office document entitled “Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities” before obtaining housing. This document is available at State of Minnesota Landlords and Tenants.

Are there Northfield City ordinances or laws that I should be familiar with when living in an apartment or house in Northfield? What are the behavior expectations?

As stated in the Carleton Community Standards Policy, “The expectations, rules, and regulations…pertain to students on and off campus…. Student behavior occurring anywhere…will be a concern to the College….” This means that your behavior as a Northfield resident is bound by both the Carleton Community Standards and the laws and ordinances of the City of Northfield. Students must read and abide by the behavior expectations detailed in the publication, The Neighborhood Experience available online or from the Office of Residential Life.

What happens if neighbors find behavior of the house residents or their guests disruptive and call the Northfield police?

Police will respond to the call and enforce City, County and State laws. If the College receives a complaint, the Dean of Students staff will respond and enforce the Carleton Community Standards.

What happens if I miss the deadline for returning my acceptance letter?

Failure to return your acceptance letter, with a copy of your lease, by the date and time noted in the letter is taken as declining the offer, and an offer is extended to the next student(s) on the wait list. You will need to put your name on the wait list for Northfield Option and wait for your name to come to the top of the list again.

What if I change my mind about taking Northfield Option?

If you accept Northfield Option for the year and decide later that you would like to return to campus housing, you will need to submit a written request to the Office of Residential Life. Students approved to re-enter housing will not be given consideration for vacant singles. If your number was used to draw a group of students off campus, you may return to campus only if all members of the group agree to return to campus housing or after you have lived at least one term in Northfield housing. Only if space is available will you be approved to return to College housing and you will be responsible for locating a vacancy in the halls/houses.

What if I/we want to change the group participants?

A student included in the original group may decline to take Northfield Option. It will only be possible to include another senior if approved from the wait list.

Can I have a meal plan?

Students may purchase any of the available meal plans (20 meal plan, 12 meal plan, 5 meal plan, or the Voluntary Meal Plan). The Meal Plan Change Request form is available online at Carleton College Dining Services. Another option is to purchase Schillers on the OneCard site, or from the Business Office or the Bookstore for use in Sayles Cafe or either dining hall.

Can I have a car?

Students with Northfield Option may maintain a motor vehicle in Northfield. The vehicle is considered an approved use vehicle under the present policy and you must contact the Security Services Office to obtain a permit. You are restricted from driving or parking on campus other than in the assigned parking lots. It should be noted that the City of Northfield has an ordinance requiring landlords to provide off-street parking for their tenants.

Where will I be able to park if I rent an apartment or house in Northfield?

Landlords are required to provide adequate parking for the residents of the house in a driveway or parking lot. Cars can not be parked on the street or on the lawns. Do not block neighborhood driveways at any time. Please encourage guests to drive cautiously and respectfully in the neighborhoods since there are frequently young children or elderly people living in close proximity.

What about an address and phone number?

The College is required to have on file an address and phone number for inclusion in the online directory. Please submit your address and phone number to ResLife@carleton.edu. If you do not wish to have this information public, please request a directory suppress by contacting the Dean of Students Office. Failure to provide accurate contact information to the College may result in a student's Northfield Option being revoked and being required to return to campus housing.

What happens if I have an opening in my apartment?

If a vacancy occurs in your apartment, it is important to note that additional seniors will not be awarded Northfield Option to fill your vacancy. Northfield Option is granted only if all open spaces in campus housing are filled. It is possible that you will not be able to fill a vacancy in your apartment. You may want to consider listing your vacancy on the rental properties page of our website.

Will you be on an off-campus study or leave next Fall?

If you would like Northfield Option for any term you will be on campus, you will want to sign up in February. Most offers for Northfield Option for the following academic year are made by the end of March. Additional students are offered Northfield Option during the academic year only if all open spaces in campus housing are filled.

What happens to my financial aid if I take Northfield Option?

Financial Aid is figured no differently if a student chooses Northfield Option or campus housing. The only difference is in the amount billed to the student account.

A student living on campus will have tuition, fees, room and board charged to their student account. Students approved for Northfield Option will not be charged for room and board. If a student's financial aid normally covers a portion of their room and board, the student who opts for Northfield Option will find that they have a credit on their student account. As long as all other charges are paid (tuition and fees), that student may request a refund from the Business Office of the credit balance to use toward their living expenses.

Faculty house-sitting

Faculty members sometimes seek out students to house-sit while they are on an off-campus program or sabbatical. Only those individuals who have been previously approved for Northfield Option are eligible to accept offers to house-sit for faculty.

Other questions?

Please contact the staff in the Office of Residential Life, Sevy G10, Ext. 4072 or e-mail Residential Life.