three students hanging out in a residence hall room

Future First-Year Students

Information For: incoming first-year students who have accepted the Offer of Admission to Penn State University Park. 

Welcome to the Penn State family! First-year students accepted to University Park are guaranteed an on-campus housing space and required to live on campus. 

The Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract is included in the offer of admission to Penn State. The student will accept both the Offer of Admission and HFS Contract by accessing MyPennState, following the prompts, and paying the non-refundable admission fees and housing deposit. The student will agree to the HFS Contract signing statements and the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations

Residency Requirement

First-year students are required to live on campus at University Park as part of the offer of admission, based on what semester the student is offered admission: 

Residency Information
Semester Admitted Residency Requirement
Summer Session Summer session, Fall semester, Spring semester
Fall Semester Fall semester, Spring semester
Spring Semester Spring semester (optional HFS Contract offer for following academic year available)

HFS Contract Preferences

After the offer of admission and HFS Contract are accepted, the HFS Contract will then be available in the eLiving system, where the student can indicate preferences such as housing area, roommate, Special Living Option, and Campus Meal Plan level by noon May 15.

Room assignments are processed in date order of when the student accepts the offer of admission. Therefore, the earlier the offer of admission is accepted, the better chance the student has of being assigned to a room assignment based on indicated housing preferences. The University cannot guarantee that HFS Contract preferences will be honored. Regardless of the date the student accepts the offer of admission, all first-year students will have an on-campus housing space.

Penn State is currently in the midst of a renovation project to update residence halls in East and Pollock Halls; two-three buildings will be offline every academic year for refurbishment. Work will commence fall 2026. Learn more about the construction and renovation projects on campus. 

The majority of space for first-year students is located in traditional residence halls. With the limited space in renovated residence halls, not all students will be able to be accommodated in this space. Students will be assigned in date-order of when offer of admission was accepted and if student has indicated "double, renovated residence hall" as a preference of room type. It is anticipated that there will be a high demand for this limited space, so unfortunately not all students interested will have the opportunity to experience the renovated space. 

Note: if a student is attending both summer and fall-spring semesters, the student will have two separate HFS Contracts and can indicate preferences on each HFS Contract. For a limited time at the beginning of summer session, summer session students can submit fall roommate preferences. Summer students will also be notified about two-weeks before the end of summer session about summer-to-fall storage options.

Roommate Request Process

Learn more about the Roommate Request Process

Supplemental Housing

First-year students have until May 1 to accept the offer of admission to Penn State, and every first-year student is guaranteed an on-campus housing space regardless of the date that the student accepted the offer of admission. First-year students who accept the offer of admission after April 1 and closer to the May 1 deadline may not be assigned to a space that reflects the preferences indicated on the HFS Contract. First-year students may also be assigned to a supplemental housing room – a reduced rate residence hall room that houses four or more people – rather than to a double-occupancy room. 

Requesting an Exemption from First Year Housing

First-year students are required to live on campus at University Park as part of the offer of admission. There are a few valid reasons for a student to request an housing residency exemption to this policy. 

Housing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State provides a climate of equal opportunity to all programs, activities, and services, and is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Penn State is committed to providing accessible housing to students with disabilities as defined by these laws. Review the housing accommodations process and the associated deadlines for submitting paperwork.

Room Assignments

Room assignments are posted on eLiving, and notification is sent to students when assignments are available to view.

  • Summer Session: posted two weeks prior to arrival
  • Fall Semester: posted mid-to-late late July
  • Spring Semester: posted late December, before the University closes for the winter break.

Once room assignments are posted, students will have the opportunity to use the Room Exchange eBoard in eLiving to "swap" a room assignment with another eligible student. 

Room and Board Charges

Room and Board charges for each semester that a student has an accepted HFS Contract will be posted to the student's LionPATH account. If there is a change to a student's room assignment that has a different room rate, the charge/credit will be applied to the student's account based on a prorated amount. The housing deposit submitted during the acceptance process will be applied on the student's fall semester bill as a credit towards the room rate. If the student decides to not attend Penn State, the housing deposit will not be refunded.