- What are the COVID-19 policies in campus housing?For details on COVID policies in campus housing, please see the COVID-19 page.
- Can I live off-campus for my first year?
You may find housing on your own; however, especially for new students, we recommend you work with our off-campus housing service: Cal Rentals
Keep in mind: In the past few years, 95 percent or more of entering first-year students live in on-campus housing because it's the best way to build community, connect with campus resources, and get the best start to the Berkeley experience.
- Am I guaranteed housing in the Residence Hall?
All incoming first-year students are guaranteed a housing offer for one year, provided they meet all deadlines and select “any room size, any location” as one of their housing preferences.
- Which Residence Hall is the best fit for me?
All of our Residence Halls have exceptional professional staff and offer extensive academic support services. The main factors that affect students' choices are social, financial, and location. Living in Theme housing or substance-free housing are other factors to consider.
Social: Every year new residents move in the halls, making each hall different than the one before. Our suite-style and mini-suite-style housing options tend to provide the opportunity for more small group interactions, which the standard-style residence halls have shared commons spaces that often lead to larger group interactions. We encourage students to walk around, introduce themselves, participate in programs, and get involved. Saying hello to those you share space with goes a long way in creating a welcoming social environment for all.
Financial: We offer housing options for a variety of budgets. Generally, the more space that a student shares, the more affordable their rate will be. As a result, students seeking to save money are encouraged to consult the rates page and to consider more affordable options like standard-style triple or quad rooms.
Location: Clark Kerr Campus, Foothill, and Stern provide a scenic location, nestled against the Berkeley Hills. Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, and Blackwell Hall are located centrally to campus and are nearby the urban-heart of Berkeley the closest to the main campus. To compare commute times and locations, we recommend you review the options here: https://housing.berkeley.edu/resources/compare-housing-options/
- Why did I receive a housing offer but it’s not one of my five housing preferences?
Every effort is made to honor your housing preferences; however, room and hall assignments are made according to a randomly assigned lottery number system, and not all students will receive housing in their preferences. When your housing application is reached in the lottery if there is not availability in the room types and room locations you preferenced, our office uses the “any room, any location” preference to ensure we provide you a housing offer in a room type we do have available.
- Which housing option fits my budget?
Budget-minded students should be aware that the standard Quad and Triple rooms are the least expensive housing option in the Residence alls.To determine housing options within your budget, we recommend you consult the housing rates page. If you are a Financial Aid recipient, you may also wish to consult the Cost of Attendance Estimate that FinAid has used to determine the amount of gift aid and loans that are available to you.
To learn more about Financial Aid please follow this link: Financial Aid & Scholarships
- What is the difference between a small, standard, and large room? What is a premium room? Why is the large room or premium room more costly?
Premium rooms are located in Blackwell Hall. Premium rooms are typically in newer buildings with newer amenities and therefore are priced differently than standard rooms in other locations. Blackwell is a premium building with new construction with a large gym, well-appointed common spaces and floor lounges, and cutting-edge amenities in student rooms.
Premium apartments are available in Clark Kerr. Clark Kerr premium apartments are recently renovated and come with new finishes and a spacious floor plan.
Clark Kerr campus has triple large rooms available. Standard triple rooms include bunk beds. Clark Kerr triple large rooms are larger bedrooms that allow all three students to have a bed on the ground, with no bunk beds.
Unit 1 minisuite and Unit 2 minisuite buildings have triple minisuite small rooms. These rooms are smaller in size than other triples in these locations and have only two closets. Therefore, they are priced more affordably.
- What is the difference between a triple large room and a standard triple room in Clark Kerr?
Clark Kerr Campus standard triple rooms have a smaller floor plan and contain bunk beds. Students in Clark Kerr triple large rooms pay a higher rate for a room that is larger with sufficient space for all beds to be on the ground.
- What is the difference between a typical triple mini-suite room and a small triple mini-suite room?
Triple mini-suite rooms are larger rooms with three closets provided. Small triple mini-suites are slightly more affordable than triple mini-suite rooms. They are smaller rooms that have only two closets, to be shared by three residents. Both rooms include three beds, desks, dressers, and chairs, and share a semi-private bathroom with another room in the mini-suite.
- Do I have to put "Any room size - Any Location" as my fifth preference?
We recommend that you include "Any room size - Any Location" as your fifth housing preference for the best chance of receiving a housing offer.
If you do not provide “Any room size - Any Location” as a preference and your other preferences are not available when your lottery number is reached, we will not be able to make you an offer at that time. Your name will remain on the wait list for future contract offerings, but, you will no longer have priority housing.
- If I do not accept my housing assignment, what can I do?
If you do not accept your housing contract by the deadline stated on the contract, the offer will be rescinded and given to the next student on the waiting list. You will need to find alternate housing; you may want to contact Cal Rentals at 510-642-3644.
If you decide you do not wish to live on campus and have not yet accepted a housing assignment, you may opt to cancel your housing contract by contacting our office or may decline the offer that is provided to you. Declining your offer is the equivalent of telling Cal Housing you are no longer interested in on-campus housing. If you are interested in living in the residence halls, but would ideally like to live in a different location or room type, we encourage you to accept your housing offer and follow the instructions provided to you to request a room transfer. Room transfers are not guaranteed and there is typically a waitlist for consideration for a different housing assignment.
- I accepted my housing contract, but I want a transfer to a different hall or room occupancy, what should I do?
Students who have received and accepted a housing offer may request a transfer before moving into their housing assignment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who have just received an offer and hope for a change of assignment should be sure to accept their housing offer before requesting a housing transfer.
After submitting the housing transfer request, students will be placed on the housing transfer waitlist. Housing transfers are not guaranteed and will be processed based upon our housing availability and the order in which we receive requests. Students who are concerned with the financial commitment of their housing and students with an accommodation request related to a medical condition or disability will receive priority consideration for housing if they provide proper documentation supporting their request.
- The deadline to accept my housing contract passed and my offer has expired. What do I do?
It is vital that you check your email address regularly during the application period. We try to provide several extensions and contact students who have not yet accepted their housing assignment, but unfortunately every year we have students who miss their deadline.
If your deadline has passed and your offer has expired, even after these attempts by our office to contact you, we cancel your booking and rescind your offer. If you do not reply to the offer by the deadline, we offer the space to the next person on the waiting list, under the assumption that you have made other plans. If you did not mean to miss the deadline, you may contact our office to request that we re-submit your housing application for consideration for a different offer, space permitting. We are not able to reinstate an offer in the same room type or room location, as the space was likely offered to another student.
- How are residence hall housing offers determined?
After each housing deadline, each application is processed and assigned a random lottery number. Applications are then reviewed by our office based upon their lottery position. There is no benefit to applying early- as long as you apply by the deadline and you have broad preferences, your housing application will have the same odds in the lottery as any other student.
- If I complete my housing application early do I have a better chance of getting the room I want?
No. Assignment preferences are not given based on when the applications are turned in. They are reviewed based upon a lottery system.
There is no benefit to applying early- as long as you apply by the deadline and you have broad preferences, your housing application will have the same odds in the lottery as any other student.
- If I apply for a theme program, will that affect my chance of getting my first housing choice?
If you apply for a theme program and are not admitted to that theme program, your housing application will be reviewed based upon the standard housing lottery process and your chances of receiving housing in your preferences will not be affected.
Based upon your essay, the theme program selection committee admits you to the theme program you applied for, Cal Housing will assign you to a space within that theme program. We consider theme program placements ahead of housing preferences. Theme programs are located in specific room types and room locations across campus. You may learn more at Theme Programs. If you accept your housing contract and are subsequently offered a space in the theme programs that you wish to accept, your assignment will be changed, no problem, no fee.
- When will I receive my residence hall housing offer?
First-Year Admits & Fall Program for First Semester students: If you applied by the application deadline (May 2), you will receive an offer via email in mid to late May. We use the main email account you list in CalCentral (usually your Berkeley account).
Global Edge and January Start students: If you applied by the application deadline (Oct. 1), housing offers will be sent out via email in late October or early November.
The contract must be accepted by the deadline specified on the contract. Late housing applicants or late admits will be considered for a residence hall space in future rounds of housing assignments as space permits. Any spaces not accepted in the first round are returned to the space inventory and offered out in subsequent rounds.
- What are my chances of getting the housing assignment I want?
We try our best to honor housing preferences. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate everyone’s first choice, as there are a finite number of spaces, so make sure to rank your choices based on your highest priorities and include "any room size, any location" as your fifth preference.
- I heard that UC Berkeley has gender neutral or all gender bathrooms, and I have concerns. Can you share more about these bathrooms with me?
“Why does Berkeley have all gender bathrooms?”
There are a wide variety of residence halls, and we have both gender specific and all gender bathrooms. Students are able to provide their preferences about the type of living environment they would like- single gender or all gender- on their housing application. We understand that for some students, cultural or religious values often prohibit them from sharing an all gender bathroom. We also recognize that for other students who are transgender or nonbinary, having an all gender bathroom is vital for their sense of safety. Students who need a particular bathroom configuration for cultural, religious, or gender identity-based reasons may submit an identity-based request on their housing application.
More than 150 major universities have created student housing with gender neutral bathrooms. At Berkeley, this is part of our commitment to create an inclusive and safe environment for all students.
“Are all gender bathrooms safe?”
Yes. All gender bathrooms have a common sink area with multiple separate rooms for the toilets and showers. The shower and toilet areas are fully enclosed for privacy. Additionally, at the beginning of the year residence hall staff hold community meetings to discuss residential policies as well as work together as floor community to create shared community living agreements.
“What do students think about them?”
Our students advocated for the residence halls to have all gender bathrooms. While it may feel like a new experience for students when they arrive, residents tend to adjust quickly as the floor/suite communities begin to feel like a shared home and living space. Our students report that the bathrooms help make the living spaces feel more inclusive. We invite you see our residence halls for yourself!
"I saw a news story about an invasion of privacy incident. Is Berkeley going to be changing all of the bathrooms to single gender as result?
Fortunately, troubling incidents like this are very rare. We have no plans at this time to alter the bathrooms. Our staff, including RAs, custodians, maintenance workers and more, are trained to look for suspicious activity. We also ask that residents be aware of their surroundings and report any harassment, misconduct or suspicious activity.
"What happens to this student or any student when they invade another person’s privacy or engage in other forms of sexual misconduct? What does the university do?"
Sexual misconduct (including invasion of privacy) has no place on our campus. UC Berkeley has policies in place to prohibit sexual misconduct and to hold violators accountable, which can include expulsion. There are a variety of ways to report misconduct. The Center for Student Conduct and the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) review and investigate these incidents and if a student is found responsible, they can face campus punishment based on the severity of the misconduct. Options and resources for survivors of sexual violence or harassment are all outlined at survivorsupport.berkeley.edu
- If I am admitted of the UC Berkeley admissions waitlist, do I still receive a housing priority? When is my housing deadline?
The housing deadline for students admitted off of the UCB admissions waitlist is the same day as their deadline to accept admission. Waitlisted admitted students will receive a housing offer, IF they complete the housing application by their admissions deadline and indicate “any room, any location” as one of your housing preferences. Housing priority can be jeopardized if you do not accept your offer of admissions by your deadline.
- May I apply online and send my money in later?
No. All payments for housing (application fee and advance payment) must be made online. You should apply for housing and pay your application fee online, the day after accepting your offer of Admissions. Some students will have an Application Fee waiver.
- What is the process for cancelling my housing contract? Can I cancel after the fall semester?
Most Cal Housing contracts are for the entire academic year. Students who wish to cancel their housing contracts must complete a Housing Contract Cancellation Request form. Requests to cancel housing are based on whether or not a replacement can be found to assume responsibility for the contract, or if the student withdraws from the University. (A “replacement” is defined by the housing office as a currently enrolled student of the same gender who does not have a contract with the housing office and would be able to assume financial responsibility for the contract.) Students are still financially responsible for their contracts until a replacement can be found and/or cancellation is approved. For the best chances of getting a replacement for spring semester, students who want to cancel at the end of fall semester should submit their Cancellation Requests by early October.
Students who are canceling their admission to UC Berkeley must submit a cancellation request form along with verification of their admissions cancellation to have their cancellation request considered. Please note, cancellations are never guaranteed, regardless of when a cancellation request is received by the Cal Housing office.
- Is there a cancellation fee?
Yes, $150 for cancellation prior to occupancy and $300 after occupancy. Please note that cancellation is only approved in cases where there is an eligible replacement for your space.
- When can I sign up for a move-in time slot?
Students will be notified in early to mid June with information about how to sign up for a move-in timeslot.
- When is Greek rush and if I get accepted into a fraternity or sorority that offers housing, can I move out of the residence halls?
Greek rush generally happens in the fall. Students who are accepted into a fraternity or sorority can request to move out of the residence halls but are not guaranteed to be able to cancel. If a student has been accepted into a fraternity or sorority and plans on living in the “House” for the spring semester, the student must first complete a Housing Contract Cancellation Request. (Filling out a Cancellation Request is NOT an automatic guarantee to cancel the housing contract.) The earlier students turn them in, the better. Requests to cancel housing contracts are granted if there is a replacement to assume financial responsibility. Requests to cancel housing are subject to the cancellation fee.
How are roommates assigned?
Within the Housing application, you’ll be asked to answer questions that will help match you with a suitable roommate. You also may request roommates by creating a roommate group. The group leader will need to look up and invite each student using the Student Identification (SID) number. Each person will need to confirm their membership in the roommate group for our office to review their request. We try our best to honor roommate requests, but are sometimes unable to do so.
Will I be roomed with my requested roommate?
We try very hard to match requested roommates; we want you to reside with the student of your choice. If you complete the application and follow all of the roommate instructions, we are able to match most requested roommates. The housing office will not match roommates who do not confirm their requests on their applications.
What if I do not like my roommate?
Roommates do not need to be best friends. However, we do expect you to be fair, honest, and considerate with one another. Everyone needs to take responsibility for his or her own behavior and share the responsibility for a positive roommate relationship. Living in a shared space with someone can be challenging so it is important to realize that understanding of different values and compromise are often key to this relationship. It is really important to complete the roommate agreement (with detail and true honesty) at the beginning and you can always re-visit it when things change.
First, talk to your roommate about any problems that you might be having. If that doesn’t help, then talk to your Resident Assistant (RA) about any roommate conflicts. The RA is there to help you make a smooth transition to your new home and will work with you to better communicate and set boundaries with your roommate. Your RA will encourage you to re-visit your roommate agreement or serve as a mediator with roommates to get students talking and working through issues of misunderstanding and/or expectations. If after talking to your RA your roommate conflict isn’t resolved, you may go to the Resident Director (RD) about possible solutions for roommate conflicts. If after talking to your RA and RD a solution can’t be reached, you may come into the Housing Office and request a room transfer.
There are no transfers made for the first two weeks after move-in to allow for a period of roommate adjustment. This time also allows the Housing Office to determine who is here and if there are any vacancies.
What if I met someone and we want to be roommates?
If you and your new planned roommate have contracts for the same housing type and location, this increases the chances of you being placed together IF you both notify the Housing Office immediately. Each student must fill out a transfer request form (available by emailing email@example.com), indicating the name and SID# of the new requested roommate on the form. If you have different contracts for different room occupancy or units, it is unlikely that we will be able to accommodate your request. The later your request is received, the smaller the chances are that we will be able to accommodate your request. Please note: we only honor reciprocal requests for roommates.
I can’t find my intended roommate in the housing portal. What should I do?
This happens when the students’ listed gender does not match. The self-gender field on the housing portal has no effect on your roommate search; rather, we use the information from your student record. Typically one or both students have an “unknown” gender designation in the housing portal. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us to make a temporary or permanent update to the gender designation in your student record.
I’m nonbinary or declined to disclose my gender. Will this affect my roommate choices?
Roommates must have matching gender designations in order to create a group in the housing portal. We are able to temporarily update your gender designation in order for you to join a group; please email email@example.com to request a temporary or permanent update.
If you would like to live in Gender-Inclusive Housing designed to support trans and nonbinary students, please select yes in response to “Are you requesting an accommodation based on identity?” in the Accommodations section of the housing application. You may also find the identity-based accommodation form on our website.
Does having a roommate group affect my chances of getting housing?
We recommend limiting your roommate group to two or three people total. Students whose lottery numbers are reached early in the selection process may receive a room assignment that can accommodate a larger group. However, most of our rooms are doubles and triples, so your location options will be more limited if you have a larger roommate group. Students are able to edit their roommate groupings in the housing application after the application is submitted, and up to one week after the application deadline.
- I’m having an issue with my housing. Can I move out and be released from my contract?
Your first step is to reach out to your Resident Assistant or your front desk regarding the issue you are experiencing. If your issue cannot be resolved, please apply for a room transfer. You may email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the link to the room transfer request form. The Appeals Board oversees requests for cancellation that were not approved for contract cancellation through the normal process of finding a replacement for your contract. The Appeals Board will only consider cases of extreme hardship. For all financial appeals, students must show that they have exhausted all possible options provided by the Financial Aid Office, including loans. For medical and mental health appeals, the student must have engaged in the ADA accommodations process. Appeals related to roommate conflicts will not be granted, as the student must engage in the room transfer process. Appeals for students who have found alternate housing will not be granted. Filing an appeal does not guarantee cancellation.
- What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that applies to all educational institutions (primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools) receiving funds under any applicable program of the DOEd. FERPA was put in place to protect the privacy of student education records, which are records that are:
- Directly related to the student, and
- Maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
For minors, FERPA gives parents rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights are automatically transferred to the student once the student:
- Turns 18, or
- Attends a postsecondary educational institution (i.e. beyond high school). The student assumes responsibility for the record once a Statement of Intent to Register is submitted to the postsecondary educational institution.
Non-minor students and those who attend postsecondary educational institutions are considered “eligible students” who have full rights under FERPA with respect to their education records.