Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Jan. 17, 2017

Campus Housing


Who is eligible to live on campus?

Any student enrolled in nine or more units can apply for campus housing. Housing is required for the freshman year. Continuing and transfer students can apply to live in campus apartments until housing is 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?

Absolutely! Cal Poly student Housing Ambassadors take guests on a 60-minute tour of campus residence halls and apartments.

For tour schedules, visit the Campus Housing Tours page.

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.

Social Activities

What types of social activities occur in the campus housing communities?

Some examples of activities students and staff plan are:

  • barbecues
  • casino nights
  • coffee socials
  • semi-formals
  • beach bonfires
  • recreational tournaments
Visit the Residential Life Calendar of Events page to see more.

Plus, students have a chance to plan their own activities by participating in Hall Council.


What laundry facilities are available on campus?

Laundry rooms for campus residents are conveniently located throughout the residence halls and apartment communities.

WaveVision allows residents to check for available machines and receive notifications when their laundry is done.

Climate Control

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 must cancel the housing contract in writing 30 days prior to their move-in date to receive a full refund. Refer to the Housing Calendar for the cancellation dates. The Housing and Dining Cancellation Form must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the last date to cancel. Daily charges apply if the cancelation is received after the date noted on the Housing Calendar.

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 "Housing Service Request" through the Cal Poly Portal.
  • Contact Housing Services.
    • Phone: 805-756-1587
    • Email:

Special Needs

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:
  • 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.


Room Features

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:

  • WiFi
  • Cable connection
  • HBO GO and MAX GO: unlimited access to movies, sports and episodes on HBO and Cinemax
  • Philo: watch tv live, or record from 200+ channels nationwide
  • 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.

Room Types

What room types can I expect when living in campus housing?

Freshmen live in campus residence halls and apartments. The room type depends on the Learning Community assignment.

All rooms in the residence halls are double or triple occupancy; the majority are triple occupancy. Cerro Vista Apartments offer apartment and suite-style living for freshmen with private and shared/double suite (bunked beds) bedrooms.

Continuing and transfer students live in Cerro Vista Apartments or Poly Canyon Village. Both communities feature private and shared/double suite (bunked beds) 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.


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. 

Hanging Pictures

How should I hang pictures on the wall?

Use care when hanging anything on the walls to avoid potential damage charges at move out. Blue painter tape is recommended for hanging posters.

Room Trades

Can residents trade Learning Communities or rooms or during the year?

Students can trade within their residence hall/apartment or into another residence hall/apartment throughout the year as space is available. For specific guidelines, see the University Housing Resident Handbook on the Housing Policies page. 


Roommate Requests

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. For the roommate request to be considered, all students must request each other on the application by using the selected roommate(s)' Housing Identification Number(s) (HID). The HID is assigned to each student during the housing application process. 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.

Room Change

Can I request to change rooms if my roommate and I are not compatible?

Residents can request to change to a different room, hall or apartment after move-in. To see specific dates, visit the University Housing Calendar. University Housing's ability to accommodate a request depends on availability in the desired hall or apartment.


Dining Plan

How does the dining plan work?

Freshmen Students
All freshmen living on campus are automatically enrolled in a dining plan, called the Plu$ program. Students love it because it is easy to use. With a swipe of their PolyCard, they can eat what they want anywhere on campus.

Continuing Students
Many continuing students use optional pre-paid plans which provide the convenience of dining on campus as well as making necessary purchases, like groceries or school supplies.

For more on campus dining, visit the Dining Plans webpage.


Address Assignment

When do students get their mailing address?

Residents' mailing addresses are provided to students with their housing assignment. Distribution Services assigns mailboxes to apartment residents during the summer.

Address Format

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.


Parking Availability

What is the availability of parking spaces at Cal Poly?

For specifics on parking, visit the Parking and Commuter Options page.

For alternative transportation options, visit the Commuting to Campus page.


Safety Protection

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 of the resources available to serve you.

  •  Resident Advisors (RAs)
    These trained student leaders live in the communities and are accessible to all residents. They conduct community walks frequently each night and make sure exterior doors are secured. 
  • Coordinators of Student Development
    Full-time, live-in professional staff, respond to emergencies and alert the community of suspicious activity. 
  • University Police
    Always available, UPD works cooperatively with residence hall staff to provide residents with safety information, community response, and ongoing resources for public safety awareness. 
  • Courtesy and "Blue Light" emergency phones
    Located outside residence halls, apartments and throughout campus, these phones allow students to contact University Police. To see their locations as well as outdoor assembly areas, visit Cal Poly's emergency map(pdf).
    In an emergency, dial 911. 

For a full list of resources to keep students safe, see the Resident Safety page.

Medical Emergencies

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.

University Police

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.

Assembly Areas

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.

Major Emergency

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).

Fire Safety

What are the resident fire safety guidelines?

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