Frequently Asked Questions
Updated April 5, 2020
FAQs regarding COVID-19 are located on our COVID-19 information page
Who is eligible to live on campus?
Any student enrolled in eight or more units can apply for campus housing. Housing is required for first-year students. As of fall 2021, a second year on campus is required for members of the Cal Poly Scholars Program, Student-Athletes, CAED students, CAFES, and CENG.
Other continuing and transfer students can apply to live in campus apartments until all spaces are filled. Once housing is full, students can apply to an interest list.
Can I take a tour to see the inside of a residence hall?
In compliance with local and state health recommendations in response to COVID-19, we are not offering in-person tours of University Housing until further notice. Please visit our Residence Halls and Apartments webpage for pictures and floor plans. Or take our Virtual Tour in the Cal Poly Now app.
Flexible Housing Options
Are there housing contracts in addition to those that run for the duration of the
academic year (from September to June)?
Yes. Students can apply to the interest list for either of the following:
- Summer Quarter Housing
Continuing Cal Poly students can enjoy summer housing in the Cerro Vista campus apartments. Students can stay for the full summer session or select their own date range with a 21-night minimum.
For more on Summer Quarter Housing, visit the Additional Housing Options page.
- Winter and Spring Housing
Students can apply to the interest list for housing during the winter and spring or housing for spring only.
See the Winter and Spring Housing page for details.
What types of social activities occur in the campus housing communities?
In-person activities are based on public health conditions. When public health conditions allow for a return on in-person events, some examples of activities students and staff plan are:
- casino nights
- coffee socials
- beach bonfires
- recreational tournaments
What laundry facilities are available on campus?
Laundry rooms for campus residents are included and conveniently located throughout the residence halls and apartment communities.
Is there heat and air conditioning in the residence halls and apartments?
The residence halls and apartments have a heating system and some residences have an evaporative cooling (swamp cooler) system. Heat and cooling are controlled centrally by the university. Cal Poly switches the system to heat during cooler months and to cooling during warmer months. A controlling mechanism in each individual room turns on the system to deliver heat or cool air, depending on which system is active.
Can I get a housing refund if I change my mind about attending Cal Poly?
Students with on-campus housing must cancel the housing contract in writing 30 days prior to their move-in date. The initial payment is fully refundable for incoming first-years. Refer to the Housing Calendar for the cancellation dates and the Terms and Conditions for additional information regarding cancellation policies. The $500 initial payment is not refundable for continuing students and transfers that cancel to live off-campus. Additional daily charges apply if the cancellation is received after the date noted on the Housing Calendar. To cancel your housing, go to University Housing in your Cal Poly Portal, then click on Housing Cancellations.
Pests and Wildlife
What processes are in place for pest and wildlife control?
University Housing prides itself on providing clean accommodations for all campus residents and employs full-time custodial and maintenance staff to maintain our living communities.
Occasionally, pests or wildlife, such as ants, mice, bedbugs or swallows, may appear around or in living areas. If you notice any problems, please let us know by doing one of the following:
- Tell the person at the front desk of your residence hall or apartment.
- Submit a "Maintenance Request" through the Cal Poly Portal under University Housing.
- Contact Housing Services.
- Phone: 805-756-1587
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What accommodations are available for students with disabilities or other special needs?
Students who need housing accommodations, such as a specific room type, assistance animal, or specific assignment location based on a disability must contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC).
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 805-756-1395
The DRC collects medical information and any required documentation. University Housing is notified by DRC of any recommended accommodations.
Is housing available for families and married couples?
Housing is not currently available for married couples or families.
What amenities do rooms come with?
Residences are fully furnished with a bed, desk, chair, wastebasket, and wardrobe or closet for each resident.
All furniture that is original to a room must remain in the room. Personal furniture is not permitted.
In every campus residence, students also enjoy:
- Compact refrigerator in residence halls or full refrigerator in apartments
- Regular scheduled cleaning service of bathrooms and common areas
For amenities specific to a particular Learning Community, visit the Residence Halls and Apartments page.
What room types can I expect when living in campus housing?
The majority of first-year students live in campus residence halls. The room type depends on the Residential Learning Community assignment.
Our residence halls feature double, triple and quad rooms. The majority of rooms are triples. Should new, first-year student enrollment increase and/or public health conditions require reduced occupancy levels, some first-years may be housed in campus apartments.
Continuing and transfer students live in Poly Canyon Village or Cerro Vista apartments, which feature single and double bedrooms.
Are risers or lofts permitted?
For resident safety, the use of risers or lofted beds is not allowed in the residence halls or apartments.
TV and Stereo
Can I bring a TV and stereo?
All rooms come with a television service hookup. Students may provide their own coax TV cable, TV and/or stereo. Consider space constraints in residence hall rooms and apartments and discuss items to share with roommates prior to moving in. Residents can check out wall mounts/brackets at their community center.
A free streaming service, SpectrumU, is also provided for residents.
Can I have a pet?
Only fish in an aquarium are allowed. Aquariums may not exceed:
- 5 gallons per resident
- 10 gallons per residence hall room
- 20 gallons per apartment
Students may not bring or keep any animal in or around the residence halls or apartments. Specific information can be found in the Student Handbook's Pet Policy on the Housing Policies page.
How should I hang pictures on the wall?
To avoid potential damage charges, use painter's tape, utility hooks, hanging strips or suction hooks to hang items on the walls.
Can residents change Residential Learning Communities or rooms or during the year?
If public health conditions allow, students can trade within their residence hall/apartment or into another residence hall/apartment throughout the year as space is available. The room trade request can be completed through your University Housing portal. For specific guidelines, see the University Housing Resident Handbook on the Housing Policies page.
Can I request a specific person to be my roommate?
Yes, there is an opportunity to indicate a "Roommate Preference" in the online housing application. Request a roommate in the application by adding the student's Cal Poly email address. All roommate requests must be confirmed by the requested student. Students can edit their Housing Application, including roommate and Learning Community preferences, until the May deadline. See the Housing Calendar
Is there a process for matching roommates?
If the student has not requested a specific roommate in the housing application, roommates may be matched based on the Learning Community preferences they each requested and gender.
Can I request to change rooms if my roommate and I are not compatible?
Room changes are permitted when public health conditions allow. Residents can request to change to a different room, hall or apartment after move-in. To see specific dates, visit the University Housing Calendar. The room change request can be done via the University Housing Portal, under Room Change Request. University Housing's ability to accommodate a request depends on availability in the desired hall or apartment.
How does the dining plan work?
All first-years living in campus housing are required to have a dining plan for the entire academic year. This gives students the convenience of having meals easily accessible so they can focus on their academics and student life.
For more on campus dining, visit the Dining Plans webpage.
When do students get their mailing address?
Residents' mailing addresses will be sent to them by Distribution Services shortly before move-in. Distribution Services assigns mailboxes to apartment residents during the summer.
How should I write the address so that it gets to where a student lives?
To see examples of how to address mail and packages, visit the Residence Hall Mail & Package Services page.
What is the availability of parking spaces at Cal Poly?
What types of measures are taken to protect my safety?
Safety of our residents is our highest priority. Cal Poly's residence halls and apartments are locked 24/7. Here are some safety measures in place and a full list is available via the resident safety page.
- Resident Advisors (RAs)
- Coordinators of Student Development (CSDs)
- University Police
- Front Desks
- Courtesy and "Blue Light" emergency phones
- Custodial and Maintenance Staff
- Fire Alarms
- Community Alerts
- Educational Programs
- Text Messaging
Who responds in the event of a medical emergency?
University police dispatchers are certified in the use of the emergency medical dispatch protocol, first aid, CPR and automatic external defibrillators. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics also respond to campus calls for care.
Where is the closest police department?
The University Police Department is located on campus. It is a full-service police agency certified by the California Department of Justice and staffed with officers and administrative personnel who are trained to carry out sworn and civilian responsibilities.
Where do I go in the event of a campus-wide emergency?
Outdoor assembly areas, emergency blue phones, wheelchair evacuation chairs and carless pickup areas have been set up around campus. See Emergency Maps for details.
Does Cal Poly have plans in the case of a major emergency?
In the event of a major emergency - one in which the campus cannot operate normally - the campus' Emergency Management Plan will be activated and emergency activities will be coordinated from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). For COVID-19 related information please see our COVID-19 response page.
What are the resident fire safety guidelines?