Freshman Student Housing

Updated April 20, 2017

The freshman housing application is available to students who accepted their offer of admission on the Cal Poly Portal, Housing tab. The Housing tab appear within 1-2 business days of accepting the offer. 

Freshman Student Live-on Requirement

Because students who live on campus have greater success in college, Cal Poly requires all freshman students to live on campus. Residents have access to academic, social, wellness and awareness events, enjoy opportunities to build life-long friendships and typically achieve better grades than those who live off campus. 

In specific situations, students can apply for an exemption (pdf).

Learning Communities

In addition to our beautiful campus and Learn by Doing instruction, Cal Poly offers a strong sense of community. Every campus resident is part of a residential Learning Community, which is one reason first-year students get connected so quickly.

At Cal Poly, students apply to live in a Learning Community and not a specific building. So when students apply for housing, they indicate their top five five Learning Community preferences which are considered during housing assignments. To provide as many students as possible with the Learning Community of their choice, University Housing may move Learning Communities from year to year. 

Learning Communities are located in campus residence halls and apartments, depending on the program. No matter where students live, they enjoy access to community kitchens and living spaces, laundry rooms, Wi-Fi and other amenities. The locations of the Learning Communities listed here are for the 2016-17 academic year.

In 2016-17, 77% of students were assigned to their first Learning Community preference. 92% received one of their top five preferences.  

Living Learning Programs (LLP)

Live with other students who share your academic college, and connect with faculty, academic advisors and other resources. Located in South Mountain and North Mountain Residence Halls.

Connections Themes

Choose from a wide variety of academically-themed communities or live with other students who share similar interests. Located in Sierra Madre & Yosemite Halls and Cerro Vista Apartments.

Transitions Learning Community

Live independently in an apartment community. Explore your strengths through the StrengthsQuest program and connect with academic and career advising resources. Located in Cerro Vista Apartments.


Engage in Learn by Doing and collaborate with young entrepreneurs to springboard ideas into action. Explore a start-up idea or be part of a team to support a new innovation, business or concept come to life. Located in Poly Canyon Village or Cerro Vista Apartments.

Honors & Cal Poly Scholars

Students live with other members of these programs. Located in Cerro Vista Apartments.

For a complete list of housing options, visit the Residence Halls and Apartments page.

Application Steps & Payment

Steps to Secure Housing
To secure your space for freshman housing, complete the following steps on your Cal Poly Portal:

  1. Accept your offer of admission from Cal Poly.
    Only students who "accept" their offer of admission will be able to apply for campus housing.
  2. Apply online through the Housing tab & agree to the terms & conditions.
    The 2017-18 housing application opens 9 a.m., Wednesday, March 22, 2017 to students who have accepted their offer of admission. Once the housing application has opened, it is available one to two business days after a student accepts their offer of admission.

    New this year: Students agree to the terms & conditions by way of an electronic signature, rather that a paper form. Students under 18 will enter a co-signer's email address. The cosigner will receive an email prompt to indicate they agree.
  3. ​​Pay or indicate Financial Aid for the initial housing & dining payment of $2,125.
    Students can pay the initial payment, or indicate on the housing application that it will be paid by financial aid, provided they expect to receive sufficient aid to cover tuition, housing and dining fees. Payments are made on the Money Matters tab.

For complete payment information, view the Freshman Student Housing Fees webpage.

For complete application information, view the Freshman Housing Application Steps and Timeline (pdf).

The Online Application: What to Expect

The housing application allows you to select your top five Learning Community preferences. You can also indicate other preferences for your housing experience, including:

  • Winter break housing, if needed (view Additional Housing Options for fees and details)
  • Gender-inclusive roommate(s)
  • A discounted room (applies to triples in a residence hall and double suites in an apartment)
  • Living in an apartment
  • A specific roommate(s)
  • GradGuard Renters Insurance
  • Accommodations based on a documented/approved need (The campus Disability Resource Center (DRC) determines accommodations. Contact the DRC immediately to complete their steps).

Housing Assignments
Assignments are based on the gender indicated on the CSU Mentor application. If you need to change that, contact University Housing directly. Preferences are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date the student secured housing (by completing all of the steps above), demand, and availability.

Freshman housing assignments are viewable starting 9 a.m., Monday, Aug. 7. Access the housing application on the Cal Poly Portal, Housing tab. Requests to change rooms are accepted starting the third week of the quarter.

Mustang Move-in

Mustang Move-in is set for the second week of September, dates to be determined. We have prepared specific steps to ensure a safe and convenient experience for all students and families. 

Check back for complete information about packing for college and preparing for move-in day. 

Winter and Spring Housing

Need to live on campus starting with the winter or spring quarter? Visit the Winter and Spring Housing webpage.

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