Housing Lottery FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about the housing lottery process.

 

Request Housing

When can I request on-campus housing for the 2019-2020 academic year?

There are two housing request periods:

  • Noon October 1 - Noon October 31, 2018
  • Noon December 1, 2018 - Noon January 31, 2019

How do I Request Housing?

It's easy to Request Housing! During the request periods (Oct. 1 - 31 or Dec. 1 - Jan. 31), follow these steps:

  • log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu with your Penn State Access Account User ID (e.g., abc1234) and password 
  • Under the “HFS Contracts” icon, select ‘Request Housing’ 
  • Select the campus (University Park) and contract period (Fall 2019-Spring 2020)
  • Select the blue ‘Request Now’ button

The page will refresh with a confirmation stating: ‘Success!  Your housing request for Penn State University Park has been submitted.’

How do I cancel my housing request?

  • log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu with your Penn State Access Account User ID (e.g., abc1234) and password 
  • Under the “HFS Contracts” icon, select ‘Request Housing’ 
  • Your submitted Fall 2019-Spring 2020 housing request will appear
  • Select the red ‘Cancel Request’ button

The page will refresh with a confirmation stating: ‘Success!  Your housing request for Penn State University Park has been cancelled.’

Who is eligible to Request Housing?

Students who are eligible to participate in the housing process include students who currently live on campus at University Park, or attending another Penn State Campus and who anticipate a Change of Campus to University Park for the following academic year

Students who are NOT eligible to participate in the housing proces include incoming first-year students, students who currently live off campus at University Park, students who did not Request Housing during the request time, students transferring from another university.

I currently do not live on-campus at University Park.  When can I request on-campus housing?

You can add your name to a Waitlist that opens Noon, December 1. If space is available, you could receive an invitation as early as mid-February 2019. In late February, if the University is able to determine that space is available, the students will receive an invitation to view housing options available. Invitations will continue to be sent every Monday from March – August as space becomes available. 

Are incoming first-year students eligible to Request Housing through the housing lottery?

First-year students admitted for the 2019-2020 academic year do not need to participate in the housing lottery. First-year students are required to live on-campus, and will accept the Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract when the offer of admission is accepted.

What happens if I forget to Request Housing and I want to live on campus?

If you do not submit a request during the timeframes (October 1 at noon - October 31 at noon or December 1 at noon - January 31 at noon), you will be able to add your name to the Housing Waitlist on December 1, 2018 at noon. If space is available, invitations will be sent on Mondays throughout spring semester and summer.

    Lottery Process and Inivitations

    Is the housing lottery process first-come, first-served?

    No. The housing lottery process is a random lottery system. The date that you Request Housing will not impact when you are selected in the lottery and receive an invitation. All students who Request Housing will receive an invitation to select housing.

    What is an invitation?

    An invitation provides you the opportunity to view available on-campus housing options.  Receiving an invitation does not obligate you to on-campus housing.

    When will I receive an invitation?

    Invitations are made randomly to students Mondays and Thursdays in November 2018 and February 2019. Invitations will be sent between Noon - 5:00pm.

    How will I know I received an invitation?

    There are three methods of communication:

    1. Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu to see if an invitation has been made.
    2. An email is sent to your Penn State email account immediately after the invitation is offered.
    3. You may also opt in to receive a text message notification. Update your eLiving Account Settings to receive text message notifications.

    Where do I view my invitation?

    Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu with your Penn State Access ID and password. Your eLiving account will default to the Invitation if it is available.

    I received an invitation, but changed my mind and no longer want on-campus housing.  Can I decline the invitation?

    Yes.  Since the invitation is not an actual HFS Contract offer, you can just let the invitation expire.

    I want to receive text message notifications.  How do I sign up?

    Text message notifications can be managed in your eLiving Account Settings.

    • Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu with your Penn State Access ID and password
    • Under the “My Info” icon, select “Account Settings”
    • Select the functions for which you would like to receive a text message notification

    How do I update my cell phone number?

    Update your mobile number in LionPATH.  The cell phone number listed in eLiving is pulled from LionPATH.

    Am I guaranteed to receive an invitation?

    Yes.  Every student who Requests Housing will receive an invitation to view available housing options.  However, we are not able to guarantee when the invitation will be made or that your preferred housing option will be available.

    What happens if I don't get an invitation?

    All students who Request Housing will receive an invitation in November or February and will be able to view available housing options.

    How do I request a specific roommate?

    You do not need to list a roommate when you Request Housing. When you receive an invitation, you will select a housing option and can add an eligible roommate request (the roommate must have Requested Housing and not have already accepted a HFS Contract). If you enter an ineligible student, the system will alert you so that you can remove the student or add a different student. Housing options range in the number of roommates that can be added: most allow for one roommate; some housing options allow up to 3 roommates (Nittany Apartments and White Course Apartments), and others do not allow any roommates (Eastview Terrace, single room). You do NOT need to have a roommate to live on campus.

      I’m viewing housing options, but my preferred option is not listed.  What do I do?

      Certain housing options are very popular, and we expect them to fill quickly. If your preferred housing option is not available when you receive an invitation, and if you ultimately want to live on campus, we recommend selecting another housing option. After you accept the HFS Contract, you will have the opportunity to add your name to a Waitlist for another housing option beginning Noon, March 1.

      I received an invitation.  Now what do I do?

      Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu and select the Shopping Cart icon. Your invitation will be displayed, and you will be able to view all housing options that have space available. Not all options may be available, based on other students selecting the space. Select the housing option you desire and click ‘Continue’. If the housing option you selected has space for a roommate, you can add an eligible roommate’s Penn State Access ID, then click ‘Continue’. The roommate must have submitted a request to live on campus to be eligible. Review your selection and click ‘Create Contract’ to generate the HFS Contract offer. If a roommate was listed, this student will also receive an HFS Contract offer. The HFS Contract offer must be accepted before the invitation process expiration date.

      Do the invitation and HFS Contract offers expire?

      Yes! Both the invitation and HFS Contract offer have the same expiration date, so you must complete the process of selecting a housing option and accepting the HFS Contract before the expiration date:

      • Monday invitations expire Noon, Thursday
      • Thursday invitations expire Noon, Monday

      My invitation expired.  Can I get it back?

      No.  Expired invitations cannot be reoffered.

      My invitation expired, but I still want on-campus housing.  Can I Request Housing?

      If your invitation expires in November, you will be eligible to Request Housing between December 1 - January 31, and will receive an invitation in February. If your invitation expires in February, you will be eligible to add your name to the Housing Waitlist.

      I received an invitation, selected a housing option, then changed my mind before creating the contract. The system took me back to step 1 of the process.  Can I get back the housing option I originally selected?

      You will start the housing option selection process from the beginning, and if that housing option is still available, you can select it.  However, another student in the process may select the housing option and using all available space, so you then must select from what is available.

      Can I transfer my invitation to another student?

      No. Invitations are non-transferrable.

      Roommates

      Does my friend have to Request Housing if we want to live together?

      Yes. All students must Request Housing to be eligible to receive an invitation and HFS Contract offer.

      I already accepted a HFS Contract, but now I found someone with whom I want to live.  How can I live with my friend?

      Your friend will need to Request Housing to be considered for an invitation. Once your friend is invited, they should accept the same type of housing option that you did. If that space is not available, your friend has the option to select another option, accept the HFS Contract, and add their name to the Waitlist.

      If I include my friend when I create the HFS Contract offer, but they do not accept it, will it impact my housing?

      No. Each student’s HFS Contract is independent from each other.

      I received an HFS Contract because my friend added me as a roommate, but the offer expired before I could accept it.  What do I do?

      All HFS Contract offers must be accepted by the expiration date (Monday invites expire Noon, Thursday; and Thursday invites expire Noon, Monday). If your friend did not generate the HFS Contract offer in a timely manner and did not provide you time to accept the offer before the expiration date, we are not able to re-offer that HFS Contract. However, you may still receive an invitation at a later time.

       

      Housing Options

      Where am I eligible to live?

      The following housing options are available for upper-class students:

      • Eastview Terrace (no roommates) Single room with private bathroom.
      • Nittany Apartments (1-3 roommates) 2-bedroom/4-person apartments and 4-bedroom/4-person apartments.
      • White Course Apartments (1-3 roommates) 4-bedroom/4-person apartments.
      • North Hall suites (1-3 roommates) 2-bedroom/4-person suite with shared bathroom.  Limited 2-bedroom/2-person suites are available.
      • Nittany Hall suites (1-3 roommates) 2-bedroom/4-person suite with shared bathroom.
      • Double Room, Traditional Residence Halls (1 roommate) The majority of students live in regular doubles, with limited quads and triples. Space is located in Pollock, West, and South Housing Areas.
      • Double Room, Renovated Residence Halls (1 roommate) The majority of students live in regular doubles in Chace, Hibbs, and Stephens Halls, as well as other limited renovated spaces within South Housing Area.
      • Single Room, Traditional Residence Halls (no roommates) Single rooms located in Pollock, West, and South Housing Areas.
      • Supplemental housing (1-3 requested roommates, rooms accommodate between 4-8 students) Students who accept this type of HFS Contract will be assigned to supplemental housing and will be moved to another housing option as vacancies become available.
      • Supplemental housing by request (1-3 requested roommates, rooms accommodate between 4-8 students) Students who accept this type of HFS Contract will automatically be assigned to permanent supplemental housing and will not be moved.

      If I currently live in Nittany Apartments, White Course Apartments, or Eastview Terrace currently, am I guaranteed to return next year?

      No.  The housing lottery process is a true random lottery system, and priority is not given to current residents. Each student who submits a request has an equal chance of receiving an invitation.

      What if the only housing option available is supplemental housing?

      Certain housing options are very popular, and we expect them to fill quickly. If only supplemental housing is available when you receive an invitation and if you ultimately want to live on campus, we recommend selecting this housing option. After you accept the HFS Contract, you will have the opportunity to add your name to a Waitlist for another housing option. With the upper-class housing process, there are many changes that occur throughout the spring semester and summer, and space may become available. Students are reassigned to available space from the waitlist.

      Housing and Food Service (HFS) Contract

      How do I choose a space and accept the HFS Contract?

      If you receive an invitation, you can login to www.eLiving.psu.edu. Your invitation will be displayed, and you will be able to view all housing options that have space available. Not all options may be available, based upon other students selecting the space. Select the housing option you desire and click ‘Continue’. If the housing option you selected has space for a roommate, you can add a roommate’s Penn State Access ID, then click ‘Continue’. The roommate must have submitted a request to live on campus to be eligible. Review your selection and click ‘Create Contract’ to generate the HFS Contract offer. If a roommate was listed and has submitted a request, this student will also receive an HFS Contract offer. The HFS Contract offer must be accepted before the expiration date.

      When accepting the HFS Contract, you will agree to the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations and need to electronically sign the HFS Contract to accept it. Be sure that the HFS Contracts is in accepted status before the expiration date!

      I received an HFS Contract offer from another student, what do I need to do?

      If you receive a HFS Contract offer and wish to live on-campus, you will need to accept the offer before the expiration date. To accept the offer, login to www.eLiving.psu.edu and select the Shopping Cart icon. Your HFS Contract offer will be displayed, and you must go through the steps to accept the offer. You will agree to the Terms, Conditions, and Regulations and need to electronically sign the HFS Contract to accept it. Verify that your HFS Contract is in accepted status.

      When do I have to accept the HFS Contract?

      Both the invitation and HFS Contract offer have the same expiration date, so you must complete the process of selecting a housing option AND accepting the HFS Contract before the expiration date:

      • Monday invitations expire Noon, Thursday
      • Thursday invitations expire Noon, Monday

      Your roommate request will have the SAME expiration date so don't delay in selecting a housing option and creating the HFS Contract.  HFS Contracts cannot be reoffered so please ensure that you allow enough time for both you AND your roommate(s) to accept the offer!

      I accepted an HFS Contract, but I want to live in another housing option.  What can I do?

      You can add your name to one Waitlist beginning Noon March 1, 2019.  Adding your name to a Waitlist does not guarantee that you’ll be reassigned to that housing option; however, if space becomes available, you will be automatically reassigned.

      I accepted a HFS Contract.  Can I cancel it?

      As noted in the HFS Contract Terms, Conditions, and Regulations , the HFS Contract is a legally-binding contract. It cannot be cancelled if you are still enrolled at Penn State University Park. Should you sign a lease for an off-campus apartment after accepting the HFS Contract, the University will not cancel the HFS Contract.

      Housing Options Waitlist

      What is a Waitlist?

      A Waitlist is a way for you to indicate your interest in another housing option. These Waitlists are only available once a student has accepted an HFS Contract, and then you may only add your name to one Waitlist. As staff process cancellations and vacancies occur, we will move students from the Waitlist into that specific housing option.

      For example: I have accepted an HFS Contract for a double room, traditional residence hall, but want to live in Eastview Terrace. I can add my name to the Eastview Terrace Waitlist, understanding that I will be reassigned if a vacancy becomes available.

      How do I add my name to a Waitlist?

      Waitlists for accepted HFS Contracts will open Noon March 1, 2019. Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu and under the HFS Contracts icon, select ‘Summary’. If Waitlists are available, you will see a “Waitlist” button next the HFS Contract. Click on “Waitlist” to view the available options, and checkmark one Waitlist for the housing option in which you are interested.

      Can I remove my name from the Waitlist?

      Yes.  Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu and under the “HFS Contracts” icon, select ‘Summary’. Select the “Waitlist” button next to the HFS Contract. Click on the checkmark to un-select and remove your name from the Waitlist. You are now able to select a different Waitlist.

      Can I add my name to more than on Waitlist?

      No.  Only one Waitlist selection is permitted.

      Special Living Option (SLO) Housing

      I'm in a Special Living Option (SLO).  How can I return to the SLO?

      You must submit a housing request October 1 at noon - October 31 at noon. If you are eligible to return to the SLO, based on participation and other requirements, you will receive an invitation on Thursday, November 1 for the SLO only. You can opt to create and accept a SLO HFS Contract offer, or allow the invitation to expire and participate in the regular lottery process.

      Can I receive an invitation for my SLO and also for other housing options?

      No. SLO invitations will be offered on Thursday, November 1, and will expire at noon on Monday, November 5.  If you create and accept the SLO HFS Contract, you are no longer eligible to receive additional invitations.  If you do not accept the SLO HFS Contract, the SLO HFS Contract will not be reoffered to you; however, you are still eligible to receive an invitation to view other housing options throughout the process.

       

      Sorority Chapter Housing

      How do I request to live on my sorority chapter floor?

      If you wish to live on campus regardless of whether you are selected to live on a sorority floor, we recommend that you submit a housing request. If you receive an invitation before February, proceed with selecting a housing option and accepting the HFS Contract. If you are selected to live on the sorority floor, your HFS Contract and your room assignment will be updated to the sorority chapter.

      If you only want to live on campus if you are selected to live on the sorority floor, then you should wait to see if you are invited to live with the sorority in February. Invited members will receive an invitation on February 4 (which will expire Thursday, February 7 at noon) to select and accept a HFS Contract offer for the sorority chapter.

      If you submitted a housing request in October, but do not receive an invitation during the November process and subsequently are not selected to live with the sorority chapter, you will receive an invitation in February. You will be able to view available housing options and make the decision whether or not to live on campus.

      How do I receive a HFS Contract to live on my sorority chapter floor?

      Each sorority will submit a list of chapter members who will be invited to live either on the sorority floor or in overflow housing. These members will receive an invitation on Monday, February 4, 2019. Log in to www.eLiving.psu.edu and select the Shopping Cart icon. Your invitation will be displayed, select the sorority chapter offer, and click ‘Continue’. Click ‘Create Contract’ to generate the HFS Contract offer. The HFS Contract offer must be accepted before the offer expires at 12:00 p.m. noon on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

      I received a sorority chapter HFS Contract, but it expired.  Can it be reoffered?

      No.  Expired HFS Contracts cannot be reoffered.