Arrange for Housing

At UWM, new freshmen are required to live on campus (unless University Housing announces that the residence halls are full). Undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students may choose to live off campus. However, if it is your first time studying in the U.S., there are a number of advantages to choosing on-campus housing.

Please watch our pre-recorded webinar if you’d like more information. Recorded June 13, 2019, our housing staff answer questions from members of our international student community.

(On-campus) University Housing

University Housing consists of five residence halls.

New Freshman Students: You are required to live in University Housing during your first year. University Housing will contact you after your admission with instructions on finalizing a contract for a room.

New Transfer Students and Graduate Students: University Housing is not required for new transfer students or for graduate students; however, new transfer students and graduate students may still choose to live in University Housing. To apply for University Housing, apply here as a Continuing Student (New Resident/New Transfer Student) for any of the 5 residence halls, and apply here for Kenilworth Square Apartments. (See Kenilworth Eligibility requirements here.)

Also, if you will live in University Housing, you will need to complete an early arrival form. Because of international student orientation and placement testing, international students must arrive in the U.S. before the residence halls are generally open for move-in. To apply for early arrival, you will need to fill out an early arrival form and submit it to the UWM University Housing Office by email, fax, or mail. January 1st is the deadline.There is a charge per night for staying in the residence halls prior to the general move-in date. Early move in is January 13th for International Students (Note: While called “early move in” as an international student this is simply moving in when you’re expected to). Graduate Students with assistantships may be able to be accommodated at an earlier move-in date.

University Housing residence hall rooms do NOT come with bed linens, and many students like the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will be able to sleep with sheets, a blanket, and a pillow their first night in the U.S. Students can order OCM linen Paks so they do not have to worry about shopping for these items on their first day in Milwaukee. Paks can be shipped directly to your residence hall.

**A common question new residents often have is what type of sheets to buy for a University Housing bed. All UWM University Housing beds are extra-long twins.**

Off-Campus Housing

The UWM Neighborhood Housing Office assists students in finding safe, quality off-campus housing and roommates. If you would like to live off campus in an apartment or house, this would be a great place to start.

UWM has partnered with Rent College Pads to create an incredible resource to help you find reliable off campus housing options.


Arriving to Milwaukee before UWM housing is available? Airbnb can be a great resource for a short-term stay.

We recommend staying near the following neighborhoods: Shorewood, East Side, Lower East side, neighborhoods east of the Milwaukee River, as it is easier for you to get to the UWM campus.

Prices near UWM vary, but can be found for $35 a night plus fees (possibly including kitchen, wifi, laundry facilities, a glimpse into American lifestyles, and maybe you’ll make a new friend). Make sure you read reviews to find a safe, reliable and helpful host. If you have any doubts or questions, you can often message the owner for a swift reply. With all new places, be aware of your surroundings.

Packing List

UWM University Housing rooms are furnished but do not include basic necessities like bed linens and cookware. Most off-campus apartments will not be furnished.  You should begin thinking about what you will need to bring with you from your home country and what you will purchase when you arrive in Milwaukee.

Items you need to bring

Items you need to bring with you:

I-20 (or DS-2019)

Passport with Student Visa

Final transcripts, if you have been admitted on the condition that you provide final transcripts

Items you may consider bringing with you

Items you may consider bringing with you:

Warmer clothing for winter (winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, winter boots)

Credit card

Professional/Formal Attire

Computer, flash drive

Medical records for existing illnesses, especially allergies

Prescription medicines, as required

Extra pair of contact lenses and/or glasses

Musical instruments

Traditional national clothing


International calling card

Special spices/foods from home

Do Not Bring

What NOT to Bring:




Weapons of any kind

Space heaters

Irreplaceable valuables

Items to consider

Items you may consider buying after you arrive in Milwaukee:

Pillow, sheets, blankets, towels, and washcloths [see OCM linen Paks]

Bedspread or comforter [see OCM linen Paks]

Book bag or backpack

Umbrella and/or raincoat

School Supplies (including dictionary, thesaurus, calculator)

Cold medicines, aspirin, vitamins, antacids, ointments

Toiletries (razor, brush, comb, toothbrush, nail clippers, tweezers, deodorant, soap, etc.)


Hair care products

Small refrigerator (All residence halls have communal kitchens with a refrigerator and microwave. Cambridge Commons does not allow small refrigerators as one is provided)

Laundry basket or sack

Power strip (must be bought in the U.S.)

Study Lamp (must have metal shade if you are living in the residence halls or Kenilworth Square Apartments)

Sewing kit

Sports/recreational equipment (tennis racket, tennis shoes, etc.)

Throw rugs

Cooking/kitchen equipment