Thinking about accommodation for next year? It’s time to find out more

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — As we reach the middle of the fall semester, off-campus rental properties are starting to offer leases and the application process for on-campus housing is opening up. Students may feel pressured to choose a housing option for the upcoming school year. However, whether you plan to live on campus or off campus, Penn State has a variety of resources to help you make the decision that best suits your priorities — without feeling rushed or uninformed.

Students can live on campus – in traditional or renovated residence halls, suites and apartments, or in an off-campus apartment or house. They may also consider on-campus sorority housing in the renovated portion of the South Halls or off-campus fraternity housing. Details of housing options can be found at studentaffairs.psu.edu/housing.

Housing timeline

Students are reminded that although the housing process starts early, there is more time to make a housing decision than they think and many options are available in early spring.

On-campus accommodation can be requested on eLiving from October 1 to 31 and again from December 1 to February 15. Students who have applied for on-campus housing – including sorority housing – will receive an invitation to view housing options, select a space, invite roommates, and accept a Housing and Food Services Agreement (HFS) . Those on the waitlist for on-campus housing will receive their HFS contract offers in March.

Students should note that they can apply for on-campus accommodation and choose not to accept it once they have received their invitation. However, students do not have to sign an HFS contract and an off-campus lease. The University will not cancel a student’s HFS contract simply because they signed an off-campus lease.

Some off-campus apartments also begin offering leases in October, but many remain available through the spring semester. If you have trouble finding availability when you start your search, the Off-Campus Student Support Office can help connect you with places that still have openings at that time.

Those considering sorority or fraternity housing are encouraged not to sign an off-campus lease or HFS contract until they have accepted an offer of membership and completed the chapter housing process. Since on-campus housing remains open until mid-February, students have time to make a decision based on receiving an offer to join one of the fraternity or sorority communities. If, however, students wish to live on campus, they should act quickly after application day to ensure they apply for accommodation by February 15.

Take a decision

With a variety of housing options to choose from, students should consider cost, location, community and support, amenities, flexibility, and accountability associated with each form of housing before making a decision. All of these factors can vary greatly between on-campus and off-campus options, but they can also vary between different on- or off-campus complexes.

Students should figure out how much they want to spend, making sure to factor in other costs, such as meal plans or groceries, transportation, and utilities (if applicable). Students should also consider the type of community in which they hope to live.

Students will find vibrant communities on and off campus, but they are different. With campus life, students can participate in regular activities, such as arts and crafts nights, year-end carnivals, or even floor-wide chat teams. Campus life also has a built-in support network for students. Students living in university accommodation receive an additional level of support from Residence Life, Housing and Food Services staff. The sense of community can vary greatly depending on where students live off campus and the type of housing they choose.

Resources

Whether a student chooses to live on or off campus, Penn State offers a variety of resources to help with the housing process, as well as to support students throughout their time at Penn State.

The University holds a Housing Fair in the fall and spring of each year where students can learn more about housing options, as well as the various resources available to them. The next fair will take place in person on January 28 and virtually on February 2.

Students can also attend a webinar or housing information session to learn more about their life options. The Housing Allocation Office is available to help students ask questions or understand the process.

Students who decide to live off-campus can access resources through Support for off-campus studentsincluding off-campus research housing options Where Flatmates and learn about their rights as a tenant.

For more information on housing options, timelines, and resources, students can visit Penn State housing options website.