When living in off campus housing you may have to connect utilities such as water, electricity, gas, internet, and cable. You will often find helpful information in your lease agreement and/ or resident handbook from your apartment complex about the utility connection process, but below is some in-depth information.
The Utility Deposit Assistance Program (UDAP), a partnership between JMU and local utility companies, waives utility deposits for students living off-campus. The program also helps to protect students’ credit ratings in case of unpaid utility bills.
Students who choose to participate in UDAP purchase a one-year, non-refundable contract for $40.00 through MyMadison. This contract waives the utility deposits, up to the following limits:
- $350 for water/sewer
- $200 for gas
- $300 for electricity from Harrisonburg Electric Commission
- $600 for electricity from Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative
Students pay the utility companies directly for services each month, including the final bill. If a student fails to pay the final bill, the utility company will try to collect it from the student for 90 days. If the bill remains unpaid after 90 days, the utility company will turn the bill over to JMU (or a portion of the bill, up to the amount of the above limits). At that point, JMU will charge the student’s account for the unpaid bill and place a hold on the account.
If the unpaid bill exceeds the amount of the limit, the utility company will turn the remaining amount over to a collections agency. Although bills turned over to JMU will not harm your credit, bills turned over to a collections agency do put your credit rating at risk. Always pay your bills on time to ensure a positive credit rating, even if you purchase a UDAP contract.
To be eligible for UDAP, a student must:
- Be an active, full-time, degree-seeking student
- Have no holds on his or her JMU account
- Live off-campus in housing that requires utility connections
- Have an active JMU email account
For more information, please visit: www.jmu.edu/udap
To purchase a contract, please visit: http://mymadison.jmu.edu
You can also review this UDAP FAQ Sheet for more helpful information.