Two-Year Housing Program

Updated March 28, 2024

Cal Poly is committed to building a well-rounded, nurturing support system that positively impacts not only academics but also student life; diversity, equity and inclusion; and health and wellbeing. As part of that commitment, all first-years are required to live on campus. Depending on their College or program, some students are required to stay on campus for a second year. New students are notified during the Cal Poly Admissions process if their College has a two-year housing requirement.  

Who It Applies To

These student groups are currently required to live on campus for two years: 

  • Students enrolled in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED)
  • Students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES)
  • Students enrolled in the College of Engineering (CENG)
  • Cal Poly Scholars
  • Student-Athletes 
  • TRIO students

At this time, a second year on campus is optional for all other students — including transfer students. Automatic housing grants are provided to students with the greatest financial need.

Housing Exemptions 

We understand that living on campus might not be a good match for all students. In such cases, Cal Poly grants housing exemptions for first- and second-year required students who meet certain requirements, including:  

  • Students who are current or active military veterans 
  • Students who are married, domestically partnered and/or have legally dependent children 
  • Students with an independent status 
  • Students who are 21 years of age or older 
  • Students who are studying abroad or have an internship
  • Students with medical and disability circumstances; for more information and next steps, visit the DRC exemptions info page 
  • Students who live locally with a parent or guardian 
  • Students who demonstrate a financial hardship based on Cal Poly Financial Aid's review of 2024-25 FAFSA and CA Dream application data 
  • Students who are changing to a college without a second-year housing requirement; approved Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) required
  • Other requests are considered on a case-by-case basis

COVID-19 concerns will not be considered for exemptions. If you have a medical or disability circumstance related to COVID-19, please seek a medical exemption.

Students with a two-year residency requirement must apply for an exemption every academic year — even if they were previously approved.

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 10 continuing students will be able to request an exemption in the 2024-25 Housing Application.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the two-year housing program?

The two-year housing program provides students with campus housing for the first two years at Cal Poly, extending the existing first-year live-on requirement for an additional year.

Why was a two-year housing program added?

There are multiple benefits for first-year students who live on campus for two years. These students are more connected to the community at large, including support resources and services. In turn, this better supports their retention and academic progress.

When will students in other Colleges be required to live on campus two years?

None of the other three colleges will be adding a two-year housing requirement for 2024-25. 

Where will second-year students live?

Second-year students live in Cerro Vista and Poly Canyon Village Apartments.  The specific location depends on the students’ second-year housing preferences, demand, and availability.

Why should I live on campus?

Residents enjoy flexible lease agreements and 24/7 support not readily available elsewhere in the local college housing market. Living on campus provides students: 

  • Protection from extra costs in case a roommate misses rent or moves out
  • Nine-month leases, designed for students
  • Easy lease releases for campus-approved study abroad, internship, and co-op programs and graduation mid-year
  • Friendly, no-hassle service for facilities maintenance and computing support
  • Tutoring, academic support, and student-centered events to support retention
  • After-hours staff support, including weekends and holidays, to assist with roommate conflicts, medical attention, etc.
  • Utilities, WiFi, and laundry included

What room configurations are available for students in second-year housing?

Currently, we offer single rooms and larger double rooms in shared apartments, which house four, five or six students. 

Is there enough housing to require second-year students to live on campus?

There is currently enough housing to accommodate all first-year students on campus, some new transfer students, and the colleges and programs with a two-year housing requirement.  

Will students be able to choose their apartments/rooms?

Yes, we will offer room selection in 2024-25.

Will there be campus housing for transfer students or continuing students who are not required to live on campus?

Students with a housing requirement receive priority to sign up for Housing. Based on enrollment projections, we anticipate being able to offer some transfer housing. There will be about 400 spaces for all other continuing students. Those spaces will be offered from an interest list. 

When and how can I request an exemption my second year?

Students can request an exemption in the 2024-25 Housing Application starting  Jan. 10, 2024. The Continuing Student Housing Application opens Jan. 31, 2024.  

I was exempt from the first-year housing requirement. Do I have to file an exemption for the second year to live off-campus?

An exemption for the second year must be submitted, even if you were approved for a first-year exemption.

Are any updates planned to services and amenities to support second-year students?

Overwhelmingly, students choose to live on campus for the convenience. As budget allows, we are considering ways to enhance our spaces, services and support including:

  • Adding more tutoring, lecture, and advising spaces 
  • Integrating office spaces for advisors 
  • Creating innovative learning commons and study nooks 
  • Updating carpet, flooring, bathrooms, and cabinetry 
  • Optimizing outdoor spaces
  • Adding ceiling fans to apartment bedrooms
  • Installing additional bike lockers

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