Incoming Freshman FAQs

I received my residence halls housing contract but the offer is not one of my five housing preferences on my application. Why?

Every effort is made to honor your housing preferences; however, room and hall assignments are made according to a randomly assigned lottery number system.

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 mark "any room size, any location" as one of your preferences, you may not receive a housing assignment. This may happen if you have a high lottery number and we are unable to offer you one of your housing preferences due to a lack of space in your preferred locations.

If your preferences are not available when your lottery number is reached, we will not make you an offer at that time. Your name will remain on the waiting list for future contract offerings, but, you will no longer have priority housing.

What can I do if I do not want my housing assignment?

If you do not accept your housing contract by the deadline stated on the contract, the offer will be rescinded and given to the next student on the waiting list.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.

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

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. 

I forgot to return my housing contract by the deadline. What should I do?

Unfortunately, if you did not return your housing contract by the deadline or called and received an extension, we have rescinded your offer. We apologize but we have students to place in a small window of time and have to ask you to adhere to deadlines. If you do not return the contract, we offer the space to the next person on the waiting list, under the assumption that you have made other plans.

I'm a newly admitted freshman. Can I live off campus?

You may find housing on your own; however, especially for new students, we recommend you work with our off-campus housing services: Cal Rentals

Keep in mind: In the past few years, 95 percent or more of entering freshmen live in university housing.

Which housing option is the cheapest?

Budge-minded students should be aware that triple rooms are the least expensive housing option in the high-rise buildings. When making housing selections, you may wish to take these costs into consideration.