Seek housing as soon as possible and before your arrival in the United States. Off campus housing, in particular, is in high demand and becomes harder to find as the school year approaches. Begin your search for campus housing with Housing, Food Services, & Residence Life.
Non-University Park Students
Students who are enrolled at other Penn State Commonwealth campuses can find additional housing information by asking the international student representative or campus contact for additional information. First-Year Freshmen are required to live on campus.
On University Park Campus
First-Year Undergraduate Students
All first-year undergraduate students are required to live on campus. When a first-year student accepts his or her offer of admission to Penn State, he or she is also accepting the housing contract. At that time, the student has a housing contract which obligates them to live on campus, as required by Penn State regulations. After a student pays the acceptance fee and the housing deposit, they are invited to log into eLiving Web site to indicate the level of meal plan desired, roommate requests, Special Living Options and/or dormitory preferences. Students who do not log into eLiving to select these preferences are still obligated to live on-campus.
First year students who do not want to live on campus must meet the following conditions to be excused from living on campus:
- The student is 21 years or older at the time of his or her initial registration with the University
- The student is married and their spouse is also coming to Penn State
- The student has served in the military prior to his or her admission to the University
- The student will be living with his or her parent or legal guardian in Centre County
Students with Advanced Standing at University Park (upper-class students including transfer students)
Upper-class students are not required to live on campus. Upper-class students, who are transferring to Penn State from another university, must email the Assignment Office to indicate his or her interest in securing on-campus housing. Housing is very limited to new upper class students, so each student is encouraged to contact the Assignment Office immediately upon admission to the University. If space is available, the Assignment Office will provide further instructions. Students who are offered and accept a housing contract are obligated to live on campus for the academic period indicated on the housing contract. Students are warned not to sign another lease off campus if they have already signed a housing contract. A student will not be released because he or she found less expensive housing off campus. In addition, circumstances related to a student’s race, religion or sexual orientation are not considered as valid reasons to cancel a housing contract. Only students with extenuating circumstances will be considered for release from the obligation.
Single graduate students and students with families are eligible to apply for housing in White Course Apartments. Postdoctoral students are not eligible for on-campus housing. Please refer to the family policy eligibility guidelines at White Course Apartments.
Break Access Housing (for students who wish to live on-campus during holiday breaks)
International students are often unable to travel home during the scheduled academic year break periods: Fall Break, Winter/Holiday Break, and Spring Break. During these break periods, residence hall buildings close and all residents are required to leave for the entire period. To accommodate students who need or want to stay in their residence hall room, the Break Access/Special Living Option exists. Students who select this option are not required to leave their residence hall but can remain in their own room. During the break period, staff will be available in the building to help in emergencies. Dining halls are closed, but food is available with your meal plan during posted hours at various other restaurants on campus.
Global Engagement Community
The Global Engagement Community is an on-campus dormitory space that helps international and American students to live together and learn from each other. Students in the Global Engagement Community have access to interactive and intercultural learning opportunities and activities. Additionally, students can build meaningful intercultural peer relationships with both international and domestic students on the floor. You can learn more about the Global Engagement Community and apply to join from this site: https://sites.psu.edu/globalec/.
Students and scholars who are planning to live off campus should seek housing as soon as possible prior to arrival in the United States. Off-campus housing is in high demand and becomes harder to find as the school year approaches. University Park Students can find assistance through the Student Affairs Off-Campus Support Site.
Before beginning to search for housing, students and scholars should ensure they are familiar with common terms of renting a house or apartment in the United States. Please be wary of housing scams - contacts outside of the U.S. and requests for wire transfers may or may not be legitimate.
Other Sources of Information:
- Graduate students may wish to get in touch with their adviser, a contact in their department, or Graduate & Professional Student Association for advice.
- The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) provides public bus transportation in State College and the surrounding area. Many off-campus housing options are not within walking distance of the University Park campus, so it is useful to become familiar with the local bus routes.