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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408


Partner University Students Home Applying as an Exchange Student Finding Classes and Registration Accommodation J-1 Visa and Immigration Arrival & Orientation Student Life Employment


University Residence Halls

Most exchange students choose to live in one of CWU’s 22 residence halls. Room rates vary according to room type, regardless of the hall itself. The three categories of room type are:

  • Single Room: All single bedrooms, regardless of bathroom type
  • Suite-Style: Shared bedroom with attached bathroom shared by all room-/suitemates
  • Shared Room: Shared bedroom with community bathroom

NB: Some suites, particularly those in Stephens-Whitney Hall, may contain more than one type of bedroom. Stephens-Whitney, for example, has one single room and one suite-style shared room.

For more detailed information on room rates, look under Residence Hall Room & Board Rates section of the Housing website.

Among the halls, there is a wide range of features and amenities. Subject to available space, students of course are free to choose the residence hall that best suits them, though we do encourage students to choose Kamola Hall as it currently hosts the International House Living Learning Community.

International Housing Living Learning Community

A Living Learning Community (LLC) is envisioned as a bridge a student’s interests and goals (usually, but not exclusively, a major) with their campus living experience, creating a community and facilitating connections with other students who have a similar interest. For each LLC, a designated bloc of rooms is set aside in a specific residence hall for approved Community participants. Most, if not all, of these rooms will be shared rooms.

The Office of International Studies and Programs oversees and advises the International House LLC (I-House), which seeks to connect international students with domestic CWU students interested in international and global issues and intercultural exchange. This connection is encouraged in a number of ways, including both formal and informal programming throughout the year.

Meal Plans

While optional for students living in CWU apartments, those living in residence halls are required to have a meal plan with CWU Dining Services. Students may choose from four options, each providing a different amount of Dining Dollars for use at the various dining locations around campus. Dining Dollars function very much like a pre-loaded debit account, with a student’s Connection Card acting as their debit card.

The number of meals these options provide depend somewhat on choices students make, though Option A is considered a large plan and, probably, is designed mostly with CWU student-athletes in mind. Most students probably choose either Option B or Option C. For students studying multiple terms, unused funds roll over from one quarter to another until the end of Spring Quarter, when they are forfeited. Even for students continuing on to the following autumn, funds are not rolled over any further. For students studying for only one term, unused funds similarly will be forfeited at the end of their term. Unused funds are not refunded/reimbursed.

It is possible to change meal plans, but only during the first week of classes (the add/drop period) each quarter. Changes must be made in MyCWU or in-person in the Connection Card Office.

Selecting a Residence Hall and Meal Plan:

  • Selecting a room and a meal plan is done online through the My Housing section of the MyCWU portal. As a result, before students are able to select a residence hall and sign the housing contract, they must have been admitted to CWU and have their CWU network credentials setup.
  • Once CWU network credentials are setup, students should follow Housing’s instructions. Housing also provides a more detailed application guide that should answer common questions.  NB: While students will see the term “application” used, they should be aware that they are actually completing the housing contract and, thus, should read carefully. A PDF copy of the contract can be accessed from the Housing website, as can the Residence Hall Reference Guide, which informs residents of applicable policies and procedures. Students are recommended to read through both.
  • Students wishing to participate in the International House theme community must actively opt-in. If you would like to join in I-House, complete all parts of the application except selecting a room. Once done, email and copy Steve Cook ( to officially request placement in an I-House room. If you have a preferred room type, please indicate that, but know that Housing may not be able to accommodate it.
  • When prompted, select your desired meal plan.
  • A $200 (largely nonrefundable) application/administrative fee should be paid at the time of application.
  • For Fall Quarter housing, both returning and new CWU students will be able to select their rooms as early as the previous January. Therefore, nominated exchange students are encouraged to submit their application materials as quickly as possible in order to assure themselves the best possible opportunity to select their desired housing. Generally speaking, we are not able to set aside rooms for exchange students. However, Housing does hold space in Living Learning Communities, including International House, for a certain amount of time.
  • That advice aside, Housing’s priority deadline for Fall Quarter housing is 1 June. After this date, students may make room requests, but Housing personnel themselves will place students where there is space.
  • The contract for Winter Quarter housing typically opens on 1 November. January-arriving students should not attempt to select housing before that date and should ensure they access the appropriate contract. Given that residence halls will be nearly full and not all future vacancies will be known at this time, January-arriving students may not be able to choose a specific room. Once they’ve completed all other steps in the application and paid the $200 fee, students should email and copy Steve Cook ( with their preferred room type and residence hall. Housing will accommodate as much as is possible, but may need to make a placement where there is space.

Changing Rooms:

Should students wish to change rooms within CWU’s system of residence halls, there generally are two ways to do so. The third Thursday of each quarter is Transfer Day and, on this day, students may submit a request to change rooms through the My Housing area of MyCWU. Requests will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served and space-available basis. If their request is granted, students are required to move, so they should be certain about their decision before submitting the request.

After Transfer Day has passed, students must submit a room change request to Housing through their Residence Hall Coordinator. If approved, students are given 48 hours to move or else be charged for both rooms.

Generally, no room changes are permitted during the first three weeks of the quarter, though University Housing may make exceptions in extreme circumstances.

University Apartments

Students may also request accommodation in one of CWU’s five apartment complexes. Rates vary by complex and apartment type. Apartments, especially one-bedroom apartments, tend to be popular and have waiting lists. Housing describes its placement criteria in the answer to How do I apply? on the apartment FAQ. Students’ best chance for success may be finding someone already in an apartment and in need of a roommate. Housing may be able to connect students, but postings are also made in MyCWU (see bottom of this page).

Students seeking placement in an apartment may complete a residence hall application also, as a backup plan to ensure they have some housing. However, this does require paying both the $200 apartment deposit and the $200 residence hall application fee, which may be only partially refundable.

The Apartment Reference Guide is accessible on the Housing website; the guide informs students of applicable Housing policies and procedures.

Applying for an Apartment:

CWU apartments use a separate application from that for residence halls, though both are found in the My Housing area of MyCWU. Thus, students still must have their CWU network credentials before applying.

Off-Campus Accommodation

While students are generally discouraged from living off-campus because of the challenges of doing so, we do not prohibit them from doing so. However, we are not able to provide any support in finding and securing such accommodation and likely would only be able to provide very limited assistance should something happen during your stay. Here are a few things about off-campus housing students also should keep in mind:

  • Most leases in Ellensburg are for a full 12 months, usually starting in August. Unless students can successfully find someone to take over their lease upon departure, they are either responsible for the remainder of the contract or subject to a significant penalty for breaking it.
  • While not always impossible, the 12-month leases can also make it more difficult to find available housing for Winter or Spring Quarter arrivals. Most likely students will need to find some who already has accommodation and is in need of a roommate. NB: Americans often use “roommate” as an umbrella term that includes housemates, flatmates and someone with whom one literally shares a room.
  • In Ellensburg, demand for housing generally is greater than supply, which decreases availability and increases cost.
  • In order to comply with visa requirements, is it not permissible to live in communities other than Ellensburg.

Below are a few resources for students seeking off-campus accommodation.

  • MyCWU
    The MyCWU student portal includes classified advertisements in the section “CWU Community”. Students will post seeking roommates for both on- and off-campus housing.

  • Craigslist Yakima
    While Yakima is approximately 35 miles away, it is the closest city of any size and, so, Ellensburg housing is included in the Craigslist for that area. The above link has already been focused on Ellensburg. Those seeking roommates and those offering apartments or houses for rent post in separate sections.

  • The Daily Record Classifieds
    The Daily Record is Ellensburg’s local newspaper.


Upon arrival, we will supply a basic bedding set to students living on-campus, with the cost—roughly USD 60.00 (subject to change)—billed to their CWU account automatically. This will not be considered a rental; the bedding will be the student’s do with as they wish at the end of their program. Included in the bedding set will be:

  • 1 pillow
  • 1 pillowcase
  • 1 fitted sheet
  • 1 flat sheet
  • 1 light blanket

Students will have the opportunity to purchase any other bedding they may need or want once they arrive. Fred Meyer usually is the best place in Ellensburg for this. Should students indeed wish to buy additional bedding, they should note that beds in CWU housing are size Twin XL.

This page contains links to websites outside of The views and opinions expressed on unofficial pages of Central Washington University faculty, staff or students are strictly those of the page authors. The content of such pages has not been reviewed or approved by Central Washington University.

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