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Next year, 500 students will be selected for on-campus housing by entering into a lottery due to a limited availability, as announced by University Housing on Jan. 12. 

According to an email sent to students, most of the spaces available in on-campus apartments “will be filled by students who are part of the University’s required two-year housing program.” 

These students include first-year Cal Poly Scholars, student-athletes and students in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) and the College of Engineering (CENG), the newest college to join the housing requirement. These groups of students will be prioritized in applications. 

Nona L. Matthews, the Assistant Director of Outreach and Communications at University Housing, said that second-year students who don’t fall under the category of the two-year on-campus requirements “can sign up on the interest list with all other students, including third, fourth and fifth years.”

Construction management freshman Anthony Roesnch is required to live on campus for two years because his major is housed in the College of Architecture and Design. Knowing he is guaranteed housing, he said that the new housing lottery seems to give everyone an even shot, “regardless of knowledge or status of maybe disabilities or other ailments that might affect them.”

For the 2022 to 2023 on-campus housing lottery, the 500 spots will be available to other Cal Poly students outside of the housing requirement but are still interested in living on campus, according to University Housing. 

Those interested will have to fill out an interest list which opens at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27. University Housing anticipates a high demand for the “roughly” 500 spaces available, hence the initial interest list will remain open for a limited time frame of four days, according to University Housing.

Matthews said the lottery was designed with flexibility in mind for students’ schedules. 

“Many students may have class, work or other conflicting priorities when the application opens,” Matthews said. “Offering spaces by lottery ensures students who could not sign up right when the application opens or on the same day it opens can still have a chance to secure housing.” 

Once students have expressed their interest in the lottery in the first list, the initial list will be cleared, with a new interest list opening at a later date. This date is still to be determined and will be based on availability.

Matthews says that a reminder will be sent out for the students who were not successful in the first round of interest. This reminder will allow students to “sign up for this second interest list when it opens, if they still want campus housing.” 

“We want to fill those roughly 500 spaces as soon as possible, so that students can proceed with any off-campus housing options they are considering,” Matthews said. 

For students planning to live off-campus, University Housing stated in an email that they encourage students to begin searching now. 

Josh Tarica, who is currently in the application process for a Resident advisor (RA), is applying for the lottery as a backup plan in case his mentor position doesn’t work out.

“I think that if anything fell through, I would probably go off-campus because of the limited space that there is in Poly Canyon Village (PCV),” Tarica said.

University Housing provides resources for students to explore the variety of off-campus housing options available. 

Listed below is a summarized version of the current timeline for the lottery via the University Housing website:

JAN. 20: First year students who are included in the two-year on-campus housing requirement can start requesting exemptions, if desired. Details can be found on the University Housing website. 

FEB. 8: On-campus housing application opens for required students with a $500 initial payment required during sign up.

FEB. 24-27: Interest list for the 500 spots reserved for non-required students is open at 9 a.m. on Feb. 24 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 27. Since the spots will be awarded by lottery, there is no benefit to signing up early, but you must sign up during the window the application is open. No payment is required when signing up.

FEB. 28: Students on the waitlist will be contacted if their name is drawn by lottery.  If contacted, they’ll have 48 hrs to pay their $500 nonrefundable initial payment and list their housing preferences, based on select housing learning communities.

MARCH 2-18: Required students and students who have been awarded the 500 lottery spots can form roommate groups of up to four students. Requesting a roommate group of fewer than four is allowed. There will be some five-person and six-person apartments, but there is no way to form a guaranteed group of five or six students to fill those apartments.

MARCH 18: This is the final day to edit roommate preferences. All roommates in a group must list the same preferences for housing learning communities or their requests might not be processed correctly.

APRIL 5- 20 (TENTATIVE)*: Roommate groups will select their rooms and apartments. The order of selection will be by lottery. Groups will be able to choose apartments that are within their chosen learning community and the locations of those communities in PCV and Cerro Vista will likely be published before March 18.  

*According to the full schedule posted on University Housing, “additional dates may be added. Dates marked tentative are subject to change.”

This housing plan is all contingent on enrollment remaining stable for the 2022-2023 school year, and University Housing plans on housing all first-years in residence halls. By 2035, the Campus Master Plan calls for housing up 65% of students on campus by 2035

For more information and details, here is the full On-Campus Housing Lottery Timeline.

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